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Feminspire | April 23, 2014

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Stop Telling Queer People to be Grateful for Macklemore

Stop Telling Queer People to be Grateful for Macklemore

| On 03, Sep 2013

Let me start by saying this: Calling someone out on their position of privilege is not an act of hate. It is not discrimination. It is not an attack on that person as a human being. Pointing out that the media’s obsession with a straight, cisgender male as the herald of LGBT issues is problematic is not a dismissal of all allies or even of Macklemore personally. His support does not mean nothing. That’s kind of the problem.

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When queer people talk about our rights, we’re talking about our daily lives. Every time some careless teenager declares a thing that makes him angry is “gay,” he’s reminding another queer youth that their existence is a synonym for something disliked, defective, looked down on. Every time I go to a wedding I’m reminded that my home state has a constitutional amendment defining marriage as “one man and one woman only” and banning the “rights or incidences” of marriage in other kinds of relationships. In 29 states, including the one where I live, I can be fired for my sexual orientation.

Macklemore doesn’t live with any of this. Yes, I’m sure he’s capable of empathy, but the fact remains that our reality is not his. Despite this, he is mainstream media’s darling of equality. His song “Same Love” is hailed as a gay rights anthem, and The Daily Athenaeum just published an article comparing him to Martin Luther King, Jr. To essentially paint a straight, cisgender person as the leader of the LGBT rights movement is incredibly problematic, and it ignores the queer voices that have been speaking to issues of equality for decades. The ideals expressed in “Same Love” are not new, and while they are controversial, they guarantee accolades from from the left. And Macklemore, as a straight man, does not have to face in the same way the torrent of hatred and disdain that also comes with it.

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Speaking about the problematic nature of the applause given to Macklemore for “Same Love” garners hatred of its own. On Tumblr, the simple note that Macklemore’s equality speech at the VMAs would have been more meaningful coming from Mary Lambert was answered with a vicious rant telling queer people concerned about the representation to “shut the fuck up” and:

“Stop being so stupid. I’ve heard Macklemore get so much shit today for FUCKING SUPPORTING equal rights! He is a straight white man using his privilege in a correct and respectful way and people seem to have a problem with that?! You’re fucking kidding me. So if he just decided to suck someone’s dick the day before, would his support finally mean something?! Man, shut the hell up people. This is support right here, and in the mainstream media.”

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This is exactly why we have an issue with the pedestal Macklemore has been given. The very same people who applaud him for risking nothing with a song about marriage equality are telling queer people shut up and take what they can get. When we speak about the inequality evidenced by the silencing of our concerns while straight, cisgender people can talk about the same things and be called heroes for it; we get called morons and told not to discriminate.

Yes, you can be an ally — though if you’re telling queer people shut up and take what they’re given, you aren’t one. If you’re demanding we allow you to support equality in a way that isn’t actually good for the people who need that equality, you aren’t one. Real allies are great, but their voices should not be heard above the voices of the people they are purporting to help. We should not have to feel as though we aren’t allowed to speak about our own issues. If Macklemore really wants to support the LGBTQA+ community, “Same Love” is not enough. Shouting “And Mary Lambert” over his shoulder as he walks offstage at the VMAs is not enough. He needs to promote queer artists and make space for them to speak. Because as long as he takes, without recognition of his privilege, the place he’s been given as the voice of equality, he is harming us. As long as the voices of straight, cisgender supporters get more attention than the voices of queer people, we are not equal.

*I intentionally used only the letters LGBT when referencing Macklemore’s support, because this is what the media has hailed him for supporting, although he has, in fact, said nothing about trans* people, and there are many issues far more important for LGB people (and the wider community) than marriage equality.

**I know there are severe issues of racial representation in the creation of Macklemore as, essentially, the white savior of hip hip, but I don’t feel qualified to properly discuss them from my position.

Written by Madison Carlson

  • Kara

    Queers should not be “grateful” that Macklemore even graced their fight with his voice, but Macklemore shouldn’t be put down either. You seem to have an issue with the media recognizing him saying anything about human rights at all, then you have a problem that he hasn’t talked about trans people. I don’t know what purpose this article is trying to achieve other than making cisgender people even more confused about what they can do to help support human rights.

    • Madison

      I don’t have an issue with him being recognized at all. The issue I have is with the media painting him as the voice of LGBT rights issues, when queer artists have been speaking to these problems for years. When straight, cis voices are seen as more important than the voices of queer people, it’s simply more proof that we aren’t yet equal, and the reactions to queer people pointing this out have been quite nasty in some cases.

      • ungrateful_madison

        I’ve heard this argument before. I don’t think he’s being painted as the voice of the LGBT community. I live in Seattle and we don’t tote him as the ruler of all gays up on capital hill. IMO I think it’s amazing that a Rapper of all people would even consider making a song like that. Do you know who wrote the song? Do you know that Mary Lambert probably wouldn’t have had that song reach the people of the LGBT community and beyond without the help of Macklimore! Also Mary Lambert is lesbian. I think this is creating more awareness, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should put him down for coming forth with a positive message for the people and the youth. You can’t please everyone all the time and IMO Madison you’re one of those people. Go sit in the corner pouting about a straight guy who’s fighting your fight better than you keep blogging about it. I wouldn’t call the guy “privileged” either. he wasn’t born into money. He worked his ass off to get where he is and it didn’t happen over night.

        • mackerel

          “Do you know that Mary Lambert probably wouldn’t have had that song reach the people of the LGBT community and beyond without the help of Macklimore!”

          Yes. That’s exactly the problem this article is talking about – that an amazing song and message needed a straight white dude’s involvement to be taken seriously.

          • AbaseenAbaseen

            This is silly. Macklemore is using his influence in a positive way. Instead of preaching drug use, gang violence or homophobia he’s attempting to spread a message of equality. He talks about all people in “same love” that the world needs to understand that it is time for freedom for all people. to fret over the race, gender or sexual orientation of any person vocalizing this idea is counterproductive. To say he shouldn’t because “he’s not like me” is how this all started in the first place. He’s no more a spokesperson for the LGBT community than he is for blacks or even whites for that matter. The only person he speaks for is himself. He is only a man trying to make a difference the only way he can.

      • Mathieu Segaud

        plus, insisting on the fact that “wait, I am straight, dont misunderstand me, I like them, but I’m not like’em” for a full verse, is no defense of LGBT at all. this is fraud.

  • Heather J.

    You know, last week I battled with this. I’m the president of my campus’s Gay-Straight Alliance whether I wanted to be or not– me, a straight asexual, white, cis-gender female. I’ve been working for weeks to try and get this club off the ground because last year we were literally dead and I want to do more for the group, the campus, and the community. Tomorrow is our first meeting and I’m beginning to wonder whether or not we should hold elections for new officers because I feel like I am betraying a community I really want to help.

    After hearing what a lot of the community had to say about Macklemore (and I realize that what he did on stage did no favors for the LGBT community, but still), I feel as if I honestly have no right to be president of the GSA. While I want this group to succeed and I am willing to do just about anything it takes to make it work, I think that it would be in the groups best interest to have their president be someone of the LGBT community, not an ally. I am not going to risk upsetting the group or letting it fall apart again because my privileged status proves to be a problem.

    Thank you for this piece. It helped me make a decision that I still find to be particularly difficult because I was ready to lead. Now I realize what the problem is and I need to back off– I can help, but I cannot and should not be leading a group that has issues that I have never had to face.

    • Madison

      My freshman year, our gay-straight alliance was quite dead, so I absolutely understand the frustration and the work involved.
      I think in the case of a GSA there’s a different balance, because the point of a group like that is to better relations between two different communities. I wouldn’t personally say that you should give up your position if you were elected to it, but if it’s something you sort of just fell into, it might be a good idea to hold elections anyway, for fairness sake. Electing a co-president who is LGBT could also be a good idea.
      I wouldn’t say, also, that asexual people don’t face issues because of their sexuality. They’re not the same issues, but they definitely exist.

      • Mgregs

        That is nuts. That is like saying America shouldn’t have gotten into World War II because it didn’t want to take away from what a Jewish power could have accomplished on its own. There is a difference between being in a position of power that you have worked for and being entitled to a position of power because you were born a certain way. If you did all of the work to get that club moving then it is obviously you who cares the most about building a strong relationship with your communities LGBT members. If one of them cared enough, then they would have done so themselves. If you were to give up your position to someone just because they were born a certain way, you would be no better then those who are promoting inequality in society. If we really want everyone to be equal, then we should start treating people as such. Empowerment isn’t given by someone stepping down, its taken by someone who needed to step up.

  • Fraser

    I totally understand the frustration regarding privileged people being lauded for doing what unprivileged people get attacked for. However:

    As a straight, cis white guy I have found that the best thing I can do to be an ally is use my privilege to effectively deliver a message that wouldn’t be listened to coming from someone else. Sexists/people who are against feminism tend not to listen when women try to convince them, but they are a little more receptive to a fellow man. This fact is frustrating and unfair, but in my (privileged, I know) opinion the most important thing is effecting change. If I can use my privilege to change people’s minds then I feel I have to.

    After years of struggle during apartheid, the first multi-racial elections were held when the white president/government brought them about. White people held all the power and privilege, so the single best thing they could do as allies was to use that power to further the cause in a way black and coloured people could not, due to their lack of power. Was de Klerk co-opting the black struggle against apartheid? Is it unfair that he be praised for what he did? Regardless of the answers to these questions, what he did was still right, because it improved the lives of black and coloured people.

    So then we have Macklemore. Does it suck that queer artists would be (or rather, have been) abused for sending a similar message? Definitely. Is it unfair that he get all this credit while queer activists get none? Absolutely. But the fact is that people listen to Macklemore who might not listen to queer people, and that means he’s making a positive difference. I would never presume to tell a queer person to be grateful for him, but I honestly think he’s helping.

    • Madison

      I do think his song has touched people that might otherwise care very little about the rights of LGBT people. That being said, I wish he would use his influence to at least try to promote more queer artists who have been saying the same thing for years.

      • Fraser

        Agreed. And I think that, provided that one takes the care always necessary when delivering constructive criticism, that message can be sent without discouraging other allies from speaking up. We can always do better!

      • Lloyd

        “That being said, I wish he would use his influence to at least try to promote more queer artists who have been saying the same thing for years.”

        What about Mary Lambert??? He could have bought the rights to that song and replaced her with a straight, skinny, well-known artist to perform it with him at all his television performances. He didn’t shy away from putting her front and center.

        On the one hand, “Macklemore isn’t the LGBT rights leader” but on the other “why isn’t he doing more for LGBT rights”???

        Silliness and pettiness.

        • ñ-

          he still hella corny

        • Misty

          True, but there are queer hip hop artists out there like Melange Lovonne, Mykki Blanco, Angel Haze, Azelia Banks, etc.

    • Mgregs

      Do you really think that the market cares about sexual-orientation anymore? The mass media is a living breathing entity that feeds off of the money that you are willing to put in. You only put in money for talent that can reach a broad spectrum of people. Lets look at shows like The Big Bang Theory or HIMYM, both of which have fan-favorite characters that are homosexual in real life, one whom is a-sexual on the show (talk about a small market). Do these family friendly shows hurt in the ratings because of it? No, because people want to see talent. They don’t care that Ellen DeGeneres is gay because she makes people on a wide spectrum laugh. They don’t care that Jim Parsons is a gay man, playing an a-sexual man, because he makes a lot of people laugh and he has a good deal of talent.
      The same would be the case for Macklemore. I don’t know him, but I will presume that he is an alright guy. If he was gay that wouldn’t take away from his ratings on the radio, its still a good song that a lot of people are interested in hearing. Now take the opposite, Mr. Marshal Mathers, whom is probably apart from Jay-Z, Tupac and Biggie, one of the most talented MC’s I have ever witnessed. The man has no mass media appeal apart from his sheer skill because back in the day he was attacking everything from homosexuality to the President (both Clinton and Bush). Now once he stopped doing that he was applauded for his skills. It wasn’t the fact that he wasn’t a great MC, it was that all of those whom are offended easily are the same ones who prevent what others want to listen to. (I mean honestly, Marshal Mathers LP is one of the greatest LP’s of all time and just because you don’t like the lyrics doesn’t mean I cant enjoy it).
      Back to the point, if you have talent, no one cares what your sexual orientation is. If you can reach out to a wide group of marketable people then you will get recognition. Maybe its just that some of the gay artists out there aren’t good enough, and don’t reach out to these sets of people unlike NPH, Jim Parsons, Ellen, etc. If you want to hear the message of equality from gay artists, find better gay artists. Its 2013, no one outside of bumpville, Kansas cares if you’re gay. What we do care about is if you can make us entertained and make the advertisers money.

  • Nate

    Go fuck yourself. The song is good, it makes me feel good that there are people out there who are straight who care about people like us. You are just jealous that you aren’t an artist

    • Madison

      I’m not in the least jealous of Macklemore. And, as a matter of fact, I enjoyed the song. What I don’t enjoy is the fact that Macklemore, who is not part of the LGBTQA community (A standing for Asexual, not ally, in this case), is receiving more credit for his song than any queer artist has received for theirs.

    • Kaitlyn

      “You’re just jealous” is such an immature argument. I really like the song too, but that’s not how you get people to see your side.

  • DJ

    I always seem to get beat up when I comment on Disqus forums… And I’m sure this is gonna be another one. SO, here goes……

    While I agree that we shouldn’t be told we *should* be grateful for Macklemore’s support… I AM grateful for his support. Just because he hasn’t experienced, first hand, the struggles we have, doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel compassion and sadness and the ill feeling we feel. Any empathetic person with a compassionate human bone in their bodies would feel pain watching the suffering of someone who is treated as “less than”. I AM grateful that he, as a straight male, uses his voice to show his support for our community. I AM grateful that he, uses his talent and skill to show his support for our community. There are MANY queer artists who haven’t stood up to fight our fight the way Macklemore did with is song, “Same Love” .Now, I also was and am disappointed that he left Mary Lambert in the shadows of his acceptance speech. He left in the shadows, the one person in that trio on stage that night who could have spoken with OUR voice her appreciation for his support. There are MANY queer artists who haven’t stood up to fight our fight the way Macklemore did with is song, “Same Love”.

    Queers should not be told to be “grateful” that Macklemore stood up for us and our fight with his voice. But We SHOULD be very happy he did so, even if he DID make a very human mistake when he accepted that Moon Man.

    • Madison

      I absolutely think he’s capable of empathy, and I do appreciate allies. Overall, my issue is much more with the culture than with him, which is what I hope I conveyed here.
      There are many queer artists, too, though, that have stepped forward to make statements, and have not received the kind of support and applause that Macklemore has. Many don’t get any recognition at all, and so people think they don’t exist. Not every queer artist should have to make everything a statement either, if that’s not what they want to do with their music. But the ones that do shouldn’t be ignored.

      • Kaitlyn

        Upon reading your piece a second time, I do get that your problem is with the culture, not Macklemore himself. But do be aware that you appear just to be shitting on Macklemore.

  • Kai

    I actually really appreciated this article- thanks for writing it. As a queer person, I go back and forth on Macklemore’s song. I’m glad it exists, and I think it’s awesome that he’s stood up to speak. But there are lyrics in that song that don’t speak to my experience- it comes from a very essentialist perspective of sexual orientation, and I’m more of a social constructionist, myself. I feel the same way about some songs from queer-identified artists as well. I think there’s something to be said for the fact that Macklemore presents ONE perspective: in his case, the perspective of a straight, white, cismale ally. And that is fantastic, and I’m glad that exists. However, that is not the ONLY perspective, and I think the problem arises when a song like “Same Love” is construed as THE queer experience instead of A queer experience.
    We’ve all had different experiences: cis and trans, queer and ally, etc. And I love when a lot of people are able to share and articulate their perspectives… I think that gives hope to a lot of different people, instead of just reaching one demographic. I agree… the issue isn’t that Macklemore shouldn’t have produced that song- it’s awesome that he did. However, the issue is that Macklemore is seen as the spokesperson for the queer movement, rather than one of many people sharing different experiences and standing up, and it would be great if he would allow space for people to share the stage, so to speak.
    Thanks for this article.

  • Craig

    This article does not sit well with me. Articles like this are what deter people from trying to speak out or help in the first place. He needs to promote queer artists? I’m sorry, has he not done this by featuring Mary Lambert in his song? Had anyone ever heard of her before this song? Did he not get Tegan and Sara to sing this song with him at Osheaga? I guess you’re expecting him to start a record label purely devoted to queer artists? Should he be promoting artists not on their talent, but because of their sexual orientation?

    To criticize him for not making reference to “trans” population is so far off base. Did he talk about lesbians? No. Does that make this song less credible? No. ‘Same Love’ was inspired by his two uncles, not by an overwhelming desire to educate the world on all things LGBTQA+. I highly doubt that he was expecting this “privilege” of being the voice of equality, and with articles like this, why would he?
    LGBTQA+ community wants more public recognition and equal human rights. Along comes an artist, who happens to be white and straight, who writes a beautiful song with a beautiful message during our generations’ civil rights movement, and he is somehow being criticized!? You’ve got to be kidding me! You say that there have been hundreds of people for decades fighting from within the LGBTQA+ community – awesome. Have any of them had the celebrity to use as such a powerful platform? No. Would this song have more credibility if Elton John or George Michael wrote/sang it, simply because they’re gay? No.

    I am a gay male, and I am happy to have an artist like Macklemore on our mainstream radio. He is an incredible artist that is setting the stage for hip-hop music with positive messages about human rights, sobriety, working hard, love, etc. This song will help SOOO many queer youth come into themselves and have a sense acceptance and love.

    Personally, I LOVE this song and everything it stands for. I couldn’t care less whether it was written by a man or a woman, gay/straight/bi or trans. Doesn’t matter what their religion, socio-economic status, color or creed. This song is the first of it’s kind and the artist should be recognized for his bravery (especially writing this song within such a tough genre).

    Maybe a lot more would be done within the LGBTQA+ community if the members within it spent their time helping fight for the causes, rather than sitting behind their computers criticizing those that are already out there trying to spark change.

    • Madison

      No, I don’t expect him to start a record label for queer artists. What I expect him to do is leave room for them to speak. My major issue with Macklemore is not that he wrote a song about marriage equality. That’s fine. My issue is that “Same Love” is a song by a straight man for straight people, and it’s being hailed as a gay anthem and Macklemore, by extension, has been painted as the savior of the LGBT community, and he is not.
      By saying that it doesn’t matter whether he’s not gay or black or trans* you are erasing the experiences and feelings of gay and black and trans* people whose voices are being ignored by the mainstream media while artists like Macklemore get to talk about the struggles they’re facing.
      As I said in the article, allies are great. But they shouldn’t be the focus of a civil rights movement.
      And this song is not the first of its kind. The very fact that so many people believe that only proves my point about the silencing of queer voices in their own struggle. There are plenty of very talented people who never make it to the kind of platform Macklemore has achieved. Talent does not guarantee success in a culture where other factors, including sexual orientation, are used to decide who will be granted fame.

      • andrew

        He doesn’t talk about HIS STRUGGLES. In the song he TALKS ABOUT THE LGBT communities struggles…. You’re just trying to take support into something to fucking rant about.

  • Shelly

    As a bisexual woman, I would be lying if I said I don’t love Macklemore, that song, and what it represents. But that being said, I completely agree that the voices of the queer artists of the world should not go unnoticed because some straight guy raps about us. I think what Macklemore did with that song was really get the issue heard by those who normally wouldn’t hear it, but that really isn’t enough at the end of the day. Mary Lambert really should have gotten to say something more since she is much more of a voice for the queer community than he is, and it makes me sad that the success of the song goes entirely to him, overshadowing her. So yeah. I really agree with points made in this article, but it still doesn’t really diminish how much I enjoy Macklemore, his music, and that he’s a straight guy standing up for gay rights. I just wish more people could understand that one straight guy rapping about how we should have equality doesn’t mean we ACTUALLY have equality.

  • asdfqwer

    You say Macklemore shouldn’t be in the spotlight for his supporting LGBT but then you say if he really supported the cause then he should do more?!

    And he “risked nothing”? Any time someone speaks their mind honestly and openly about things they believe in they are risking something and they should be appreciated for it.

  • Gandalf

    So the LGBT wants him to have less of a voice than them?
    Well.. that’s… kind of like saying they don’t want him to be equal to them.
    So, let me get this straight… the LGBT doesn’t want him to be equal to them, but the LGBT wants to be equal to everyone else.
    Sounds a bit hypocritical on the LGBT’s behalf…

    • Croconaw

      No what they mean is that priviledged people should not demand a louder voice than the people they are trying to help!!!! They should let the underprivileged to voice their opinions before offering some of their own, so that the people that need help can properly get help .

      • Lloyd

        And where did Macklemore “demand a louder voice than the people they are trying to help?” Sorry, I don’t understand how you think this would work in the world of music. Guy writes song from heart. Guy performs song and makes a video. Video goes viral on YouTube and song gets picked up by mainstream radio/television. Guy gets a lot of attention.

        Did you mean, “Macklemore should not kept this shit to himself because he’s straight and doesn’t deserve to write songs about the world he lives in?” or “Macklemore should have written the song and asked a gay person to perform it so that it would be more equal”?

        Please, explain how Macklemore has silenced the voices of the millions of LGBT rappers out there through this song.

  • Rico Stifler

    I can understand you not wanting Macklemore being a spokesman for your community. However, to say that he risked nothing by releasing that song is asinine. He risked his career and potentially being ostracized by other rappers. How many rap songs are there that actually show support for your community? Macklemore did the song in support of his uncles. I doubt he was trying to become the voice for your community. That is on the media for putting him there, front and center.

    Also, I think maybe openly gay musicians might not get a lot of recognition is cuz they are almost expected to write songs about being gay. So when a gay person writes that song they are viewed as just another gay person with a song about being gay. Whereas with Macklemore, it was unexpected.

    I say your community cuz I am a straight male, but I do have several gay family members and I saw what it was like for them on a daily basis. I know it isn’t the same as living it, but it at least gives me an idea.

    I am just saying to appreciate the song and the artist for what it is, support, nothing more.

    • Loncé

      “He risked his career and potentially being ostracized by other rappers.”

      You mean rappers that he doesn’t even associate with in his bubble of faax superiority? Oh, woe is Macklemore.

      • Kaitlyn

        Lol okay, I’m glad you’re an expert on Macklemore’s friend group.

  • Andy

    I agree with Tyler Coates analysis: “‘Same Love’ is Acceptance for Dummies, essentially, a song for those who need to be told by one of their own that those who are different from them are human beings, too”.

    I think it’s great straight people have a pro-LGBT anthem to blast, two or three actually. Their importance should not be understated. But they’re not my LGBT anthems, or any LGBT person I know. We’ve never really had one.

    Aside from the naive “Where is the Love?” platitudes, the song bothers me intellectually for the same reason as Gaga & Kesha’s… hinging the argument on gay people being “born this way”, “who they are”, “can’t change”. In all likelihood true, but this nature-nurture crap is the biggest red herring of the debate, and it ultimately favors the anti-gay side. It shifts the argument away from ethics/liberty, where we win, and into a never-ending science debate. I’m still waiting for my LGBT anthem, one that says “We don’t harm you, you harm us. You make us want to kill ourselves every single day, but we keep getting out of bed”. A song that establishes us as moral superiors, not just equals, in this debate. No hand holding. I realize this message wouldn’t sell as well, but if you want to change minds and connect to actual gay people, that’s what needs to be said. That’s why I think it’s important “songs with a message” have the appropriate messenger…something’s bound to get lost in translation otherwise, no matter how empathetic and well-intended. Still, a very important song.

  • Mel

    This is ridiculous. You’re not upset about his message. You’re not upset that he’s straight. You’re upset that he has gotten more people to listen than other, actually gay artists have. Who said it isn’t important, it’s the message that is important. Who cares who gets credit for the LGBT movement meeting it’s goal, the fact of the matter is it meets it’s goal. I feel like this article is just as discriminatory as the idiot bible thumpers are. Macklemore should not be responsible for getting other artists famous, just because they are gay and feel the same way he does about our rights. It’s like saying a gay man should be given a job over a straight man simply because he is gay, that is discrimination. Be on the side of equality, not the side of ignorance, cause you’re making yourself look like a fool.

  • Josh

    The LGBTQ community represents about 10% of the population. Now for those who are math illiterate that means 90% of people aren’t. If you wanna take this fight all by yourself go right ahead because as you said we don’t have any right in this fight. But I’ll also remind you that MLK Jr. didn’t take on his fight with only African Americans he welcomed all with open arms.

  • Annie

    Jesus h! as a gay person, I DO appreciate him using his voice and fame to support the fight for gay rights… this article is a whine fest. Most gay people I know also love this song and appreciate any straight Allies. if it weren’t for the straight people tapping the bridge, we would be nowhere. No one is telling Queer people to be grateful for Macklemore, but most I know got quite emotional when they first heard this song… thank you Macklemore, Lewis and Lambert.

  • S Vo

    While I do see your point, and while I’m not totally sure I agree with you all the way around, I do appreciate this contribution, and I’m glad so many people are engaging in an intelligent conversation with you. (That is, those who aren’t being rude.) And more than anything, I appreciate your thoughtful responses back to everyone!!!

  • Lindsey White

    This whole piece makes a lot of sense, especially: “As long as the voices of straight, cisgender supporters get more attention than the voices of queer people, we are not equal.” I just thought it couldn’t hurt to mention that, as someone who works musically with hundreds of youth, my experience with this “Same Love” song has been that kids love playing and singing it. They love it because they love the melody and groove and because they love equality and I enjoy watching them sing, wholeheartedly… although most of them know little or nothing about the artist.

  • RobCK770

    Hmm. This article kind of reeks of tribe mentality. It’s hard to think of many civil rights movements that succeeded without at least some aid from people from the majority allying themselves with the minority seeking equal treatment. Civil rights movements tend to follow this pattern where a minority group gains acceptance, not just tolerance, in part because of the influence of allies in the majority. There were white lawyers in the civil rights movements of the 1960s, allying themselves with black ones like Thurgood Marshall. Today, the fight against Prop 8 was led by two straight, white guys (one of whom is a Republican), Olson and Boies. Being completely realistic, no REAL progress is made without acceptance and advocacy from people within the majority.

    So now we have people in entertainment like Macklemore and Nate Ruess. Macklemore’s activism is particularly useful because he’s not only a straight guy, but part of a hetero-centric genre. This article gets it wrong because it doesn’t acknowledge that Macklemore isn’t even trying to make gay issues his own issues.

    In contrast, we saw that the “I am Trayvon Martin” movement made some people uncomfortable, because some activists tended to internalize it a little too much, to the point where it diluted the problem of racial profiling. Specifically, some thought it weird when some upper-middle class white guy from the suburbs put on a hoodie and yells “I am Trayvon.” No. He’s not Trayvon, and he will never know what it’s like to be Trayvon. Being profiled and physically accosted by police was incident to race, which many of these protesters, though well-intentioned, couldn’t ever experience because of socio-economic status and racial identity. By definition, this hypothetical protestor can’t be, nor could he ever anticipate being, racially profiled as we understand the term today in the United States. To some people, that form of protest became patronizing. (Not saying I personally agree with this, but I understand that concern.) On the other hand, some people chose to protest the Trayvon verdict, not by trying to personify Trayvon, but by saying basically… “Hey, I’m just some caucasian girl from the suburbs. But I acknowledge racial profiling is a problem, and I care deeply enough about it to speak up about it.”

    Likewise, Macklemore **acknowledges** his privilege as a straight, white male, and I’m completely confused as to why the author of this article thinks that straight privilege is mutually exclusive with genuine activism. He’s allowed to observe the problems people like us face, empathize, and advocate for change through the medium he knows best (music). And he succeeds in doing that without pretending like he was systematically oppressed like we were.

    In the end, the article is only promoting tribalism: “Me gay. You straight. My problem. Not your problem.” It just breeds segregation and isolation of the gay community against everyone else. If people like Macklemore can’t ally themselves, why let anyone? Would we have made Ted Olson and David Boies drop the Prop 8 case because they, as straight men, couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to be us? There’s nothing wrong with empathy, especially when you’re using your fame to promote something socially meaningful.

  • ugh seriously

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. Pick your battles. We need all the allies we can get, attacking them accomplishes nothing and only sets us back.

  • Christopher Aaron Slade

    Hey, I think we should give the guy a break. He is in fact risking a lot to speak on behalf of us, and we should remember… A lot of us live in a queer bubble, but most of us don’t. There are a lot of people Mackelmore will reach just through his genre fanbase who still think of Queers as perverts and deviants.. its a starting step…Not relevant to most of us and might even come across as condescending…but its a start.

  • Christopher Aaron Slade

    However I will say this.. I LOVE the fact that we are all rising up out of the victim mode! We’re done with the whole “Born this way” please ” tolerate” me bullshit and now demand more respect! FUCK we’ve EARNED it throughout history!!! I think we should be thankful to our Allies but we need to start creating our own heroes!

  • Kaitlyn

    I have zero problem with Macklemore using his privilege to help us. Yes, in a perfect world, queer people would be front and center and heard, but it’s not like that yet. We don’t live in the future. We aren’t going to get anywhere without allies. Nobody is saying we should worship him for it, but if we start shitting on straight people who try to help us, NO ONE is going to help us.

    • Lloyd

      Exactly! “Macklemore is a privileged straight dude!” doesn’t have as much negative connotation when you realize it’s actually… “Macklemore is a privileged straight dude, who recognizes his own privilege and uses his 15 minutes of fame to promote the human rights of those with less privilege!”

  • Kaitlyn

    He was inspired to write “Same Love” after he heard a song Mary Lambert wrote called “She Keeps Me Warm,” the chorus of which is what she sings in “Same Love.” So yes, she does deserve as much credit.

  • Mike

    You should be grateful for Macklemore and stop with your tone of disapproval towards him. What we need to remember is as gay people, we make up about 2% of the population (based on current studies, not 10% as reported by Alfred Kinsey), which makes us one of the smallest minorities in every country we live in.

    Without the approval of straight people we would literally be no where. When a straight person stands up for us they protect us in a way that we never could protect ourselves, by numbers.

    How dare you turn on someone that has brought so much positive focus to the gay community and has significantly contributed to our cause for equal rights! Be grateful he did anything for us, he certainly did not have to.

    We need straight people’s support and we should be grateful that we are given it, look at whats happening in Russia for example when straight people do not give gays support.

    So plain and simple: Sit down
    Be quiet
    Be grateful that straight people are even taking their time to support us
    Stopping being a winy little (you know what) by complaining every time our allies don’t do a perfect job. They are doing their best and significantly improving our lives because of it.

  • Mike

    I completely agree with you. Sure Macklemore took the chorus from Mary Lambert. However Macklemore wrote the song, planned the music video, published it(risking his reputation and record label), projected the song to a large audience, ect.
    Macklemore deserves the credit he got, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • LetsBeRealpeople

    Hold up

  • LetsBeRealpeople

    Really, really People?
    This is a top selling artist. Period. the content of the songs are not mainstream. The LGBTQQIA needs no introduction and need not to spend energy on the topic. The face of the LGBTQQIA is what ever is convenient to the mainstream media. If you are tired of him being the LGBTQQIA poster child, then write to the head of mainstream media and threaten a boycott. I’m sure Mary Lambert is not having an awkward moment with Ben and Ryan right now, and I am sure that are not suppressing her. She was there on that stage with them two nights ago. Twice… Twice the mainstream tried to replace Mary Lambert in her place on the stage. They can’t switch her out with a slim Jennifer Hudson, and that cannot overpower her with a Gay Icon such as Madonna. Mary holds her ground and is doing very well in all this. That is of course if she does a news conference tomorrow and says otherwise.

  • Ian Wilson

    and this gal sums it up nicely:
    http://youtu.be/YkZEjRrHvKA

  • Damindra

    Hi, I was wondering if I could reprint this article for my school’s paper?

  • https://www.dlisted.com/ AGuest

    Thank you for this article.

  • Seriously?

    “Mackelmore is a straight white man using his privilege in a correct and respectful way”~I agree with that staement. I don’t get why there’s an issue with him being our ally. The lesbian and gays in the media are closed-lipped about their stories, so who else do we have but Mackelmore? I love him for this. You have Ellen Degenerous who only talks about cats and friggin dogs all day; Mc Lyte who won’t come out in public; Tracy Chapman who chooses to remain mute; Queen Latifah who won’t come out; Robin Roberts who chooses to still close the door to her relationship; Don Lemon who is Don Lemon; the myriad of out comics who no one takes seriously; Rosie McDonald with that chip on her shoulder. So, really…who do we have? I am grateful for Tanya Stephens (a Jamaican reggae artist), Madonna, Gaga, and Mackelmore for even trying.

  • Sean Carpenter

    This is a tricky thing to discuss. I have to say that I agree with Madison’s perspective on many points. I think it’s fantastic that someone is critically looking at what Macklemore is saying with considerations for who he is and his experience. These things DO matter, after all. Here we have a cis, straight, white male calling out the injustices experienced by those who dwell outside his lived experience. I can’t say he’s a bad person for doing this. What I can say (and in fact wish for) is that people like Macklemore would seriously and critically consider first what they are saying before disseminating it into the world. I would consider this social responsibility. His message impacts us in that it frames the argument, and therefore the movement in the wrong context. It supports the main-stream fight for the spearhead issue of same-sex marriage while continuing to ignore more pressing issues like queer homelessness, substance abuse, etc. This only adds momentum to a movement that does not include or recognize the varied and complex needs of a varied and complex community. So in this sense, Macklemore is not a bad guy for saying something we already know, but instead is a person of privilege saying uninformed things from a socially irresponsible perspective. And of course, it seems those of us who are actually experiencing the daily, lived experience of being queer are not allowed to have an opinion on what directly impacts us. Macklemore is not a shitty guy, I’m sure. He’s just another silly white person saying things they know nothing about.

  • fearthechange

    this article is straight garbage. Whoever wrote this needs to check their mental standing. There is a way to reach the general public about civil and pressing matters. Sorry you couldn’t do it and now your mad someone straight stood up and helped you fight. Someone who had their own struggles. Grow the fuck up Madison Carlson.

  • Loves YOU

    I completely agree with you argument. It is eloquently written. You personify Macklemore as the beacon of gay rights in mainstream media and rightly because the queer voice is quelled. But you are failing to understand the extremities of the situation. The fact being that the mainstream media is adverse to providing the queer community with a voice, but your article doesn’t address how that can be fixed. That is the crux of your argument. Instead of writing a (very articulate) article about someone who is given a disproportionate amount of support for an seemingly obvious act, why not provide solutions to why he is receiving support in the first place? This isn’t about Macklemore, it’s about a bias against queer community in the mainstream media. And you’ve touched upon that superbly, just without creating the solution and community ready to address that.

    It’s easy to criticism, but in the ‘real’ world, few people understand the severity of the situation until you provide them with solutions.