Stefano Gabbana Not Wanting To Be Labelled As Gay Is Offensive
What’s wrong with being labeled gay if you call yourself homosexual?
My Personal Bias
Let me premise this rant by saying that Stefano Gabbana can do whatever he wants. He’s a full grown man in charge of his life and identity.
When I read the article, Designer Stefano Gabbana says he is tired of being labelled as gay, in the Guardian yesterday, I was angry and offended.
I grew up in the time of gay liberation, but I was too young to take part. As a young adult in my very early 20s at the University of Ottawa, I helped to found the radical political organization, Queer Nation, the angry offshoot of ACT Up.
At that time in the late 80s it felt like we were fighting for our lives, both literally and figuratively. If AIDS wasn’t going to kill us, governments and much of society didn’t want to give us rights that would protect us from the plague and oppression.
This was a radically charged time of calling out people who were acting hypocritical, and publicly outing individuals who were in the closet, but we’re harming the community.
This was a time of clearly proclaiming and shouting your identity to the masses.
We needed to be heard.
We needed to be seen.
We needed to be queer, loud, and proud.
I’m Just a Man…
Fuck that, and, with all due respect, fuck you Stefano Gabbana!
The reason this makes me so angry is because Gabbana, even though he has the freedom to make this choice, is denying a world of gay men a leader and a role model.
“I don’t want to be called gay, because I’m simply a man … full stop,”
“The word ‘gay’ was invented by those who need to label people, and I don’t want to be identified by my sexual choices,”
While I’m no fashion queen (please, I’m writing this at noon, I haven’t showered, I’m wearing dirty sweat pants and a shirt with a horizontal pattern on a short guy! Please someone help me!), the world of fashion has been a world of freedom and liberation for many a gay man.
And now, one of the icons of the fashion world, and a gay icon (also of the fashion world) doesn’t want to be labeled as gay!
Being gay is much more than who you have sex with. If you only like to fuck tall, skinny, smooth guys, that’s ALSO a sexual choice. Calling yourself gay is proclaiming self-acceptance, of declaring you exist, and in many cases, an act of defiance.
Are You Gay, Homosexual, or Both?
Gay is a label, an identity. Homosexual is a clinical term. Okay, but now what?
In the Guardian article, Gabbana shares that he knew he was homosexual when he was 18. But I wonder if he feels some form of shame about being gay, let alone being labelled as such.
“I thought that I could help spread a new culture as a famous person, a culture no longer based on gay rights but on human rights. We are human beings before being gay, heterosexual or bisexual,”
On the one hand I applaud his statement that we are human beings before being whatever label we, or others, apply to us. I suggest he might be saying we need more rights for humanity as a whole, which is something I wrote about in, LGBTQ People Need This One Thing More than Allies.
One day we win a right. But sometime later we risk losing them.medium.com
Gabbana says that gay associations,
“often serve as a defence, but I don’t want to be protected by anyone, because I’ve done nothing wrong”
No, he hasn’t done anything wrong. Being gay is not wrong. Being a homosexual is not wrong. And no, he might not need protection…
BUT, many gay men, and other people who identify within the LGBTQ spectrum DO NEED PROTECTION!
There are still places in the world where it is illegal and punishable by death for two men to have sex with each other.
There are still places in the world where our rights are constitutionally protected, but we still get bashed, called names, or murdered, simply because we are gay (or homosexual, or queer, or trans, or or or…)
Can You Be Out, Proud, And Gay…
Until it’s no longer necessary?
This is gist of my argument. This is an issue of solidarity. This is also about self love.
It’s about having the courage to stand up, to speak out, to not take offence to the label gay. From the outside looking in, it would seem Gabbana has been living the life of a gay man!
Until we have an egalitarian society,
until we have a world where sexuality and gender are unapologetically fluid…
as much a part of life and society as the air we breath,
then, and only then, will we NOT need these labels.
Not because we need protection.
Not because we might be dealing with the affects of gay shame in adulthood.
Until we are in enough people’s faces all the time — gay, bi, lesbian, trans, queer, two spirited — to the point that no one cares or can do anything about it, only then will these labels begin to dissolve and carry less meaning, if any at all.
Until then, being an Out Gay Man is a label of defiance, pride, self-awareness, self-love, and personal growth.