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Why Would Lady Gaga And Glee Censor Born This Way’s Pro-Queer Lyrics?

When Malaysia’s top radio broadcaster blurred out the pro-queer lyrics of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”—y’know, the part that goes, “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track, baby. I was born to survive.’— they did it so not to offend government censors. But it looks like the same lyrics also got removed from Glee and Lady Gaga’s recent performance on Good Morning America. Only this time, the Lady herself might have done the censoring.

Shows like Good Morning America sometimes ask musicians to shorten their songs to fit within an allotted time slot, so it’s possible that they asked Gaga to do the same thing. But even so, Gaga had the mic and ultimately made the decision on what to cut. Considering the amount of attention that one part of her song has gotten, its exclusion seems rather suspicious.

But GMA is also the same show that made sure the Britney Spears’ performance had no drag queens in it, the same show that cancelled Adam Lambert’s appearance after his same-sex kiss at the American Music Awards, and the same show whose host expressed “worry” when two Oscar-winning actors hugged.

The show also airs on ABC, the network that pulled away from Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin’s Oscar Night kiss. So did they ask Lady Gage to pull that line. We’re guessing probably.

But the case of the missing lyric seems even stranger in Glee.

Glee’s most notorious queer lyrical re-write so far was when they dropped the word “transsexual” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show episode—instead their lyric went, “I’m just a sweet transvestite from sensational Transylvania.”

Alex Blaze with Bilerico wrote an excellent piece about the myriad ways that Glee neutered the Rocky Horror episode, dropping transsexual while at the same time allowing a character in the same episode to say, “[My parents] are just not cool with me dressing up like a tranny.” So… transsexual is not OK but a slur against transgender people is? Right.

How in the world could Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” lyric even hope to out-gay the gayest show in Gayville? Glee has gay and lesbian characters and tons of gay-positive messaging, so what sense would it make to exclude her lyric just to prevent parental ire? Probably about as much sense as dropping the word “transsexual” in favor of transvestite and tranny, which is to say none.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           May 31, 2011
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

  • 44 Comments
    • Eric
      Eric

      This is what Fox News does: They make up news about people(s) and things they have decided not to like in an effort to make up controversial news that draws viewers. Some of what Queerty posts borders on libelous.

      May 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adonis-of-Fire
      Adonis-of-Fire

      All the censoring was done in post production, not by Gaga but by the channels! Duh!

      May 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michelle
      Michelle

      I agree with the first comment by Eric. Are you trying to imply at Gaga and GLEE are anti-gay or fair-weather friends? Neither of those are remotely true… Gaga is an advocate for our rights but the idea that Daniel seems to have that she needs to be screaming out cause out 100% of the time is silly. I don’t need her to get up and scream “I love gays” every time she is on stage. If she did, the message would risk getting old and certainly loose some of its currency.

      She is by far one of our best advocates out there. She is gracious and well spoken and has frequently addressed her support for the LGBT community in her recent interviews (including those on ABC). She also has a song, Americano, on her new album devoted entirely to the struggle for gay marriage. Her lyrics on born this way which has sold over a million copies in the last week are now in the hands of teens and adults alike. I wish I had heard messages that supportive from any source when I was young. Find someone worthy of your scorn, Gaga is not that person. GLEE is not the problem either. I am happy to have one of the most influential people in the world right now on our side.

      I think another commenter said it well when this was brought up DAYS ago on another blog: “As a community, we have such trouble supporting those who support us, just as we have great troubles supporting one another. For some reason, so many in our community find sarcasm and snark preferable to actually advancing our quest for Equality.”

      Also note that Daniel Villareal is the same writer who posted the snarky article about Miley when she made statements in FAVOR of gay rights. What good does an article like this do for our community? Absolutely none. You are just looking for the worst in our allies and trying to find something to complain about. It is sad and no helpful.

      May 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michelle
      Michelle

      *not helpful

      May 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChiGuy76
      ChiGuy76

      Well, I’m sure that to fit in the time slot allotted by Glee they would have had to shorten the song no matter what. The same thing happened with Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” The entire French portion was deleted on the show but Nya Rivera sings it on the CD. I don’t know why the editors (censors?) chose that part. It could be that choosing any other portion of the song would have left a noticeable gap or incongruity. Truth is, I didn’t even notice it was missing until I read this article.

      May 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Toby
      Toby

      Also for the glee “cut”, they had to shorten it for the show. If they were really going to CUT those lines, then when they made the itunes release they would not have covered the full song, But they did cover it. I think they are over reacting, they just needed to shorten the performance, both hers and glee, it is that simple.

      May 31, 2011 at 3:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • manfred
      manfred

      Maybe because it is the most awkward and unsingable line ever writen?

      May 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zeus
      Zeus

      @Adonis-of-Fire: Gaga’s performance was live, they can’t edit something out, even if it had a 5 second delay.

      May 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adonis-of-Fire
      Adonis-of-Fire

      @Zeus:
      It was not “live” as in direct, the performance had been done earlier in the week

      May 31, 2011 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Lady Gaga plays a clever marketing game. She triangulates. When she’s appealing to the mainstream, she’ll either censor or – perhaps more accurately – fail to kick up a stink when words like “gay” are censored from her songs. When she’s appealing to us, she’ll repeat the word “gay” over and over again as if it’s a mantra. She’s a hypocrite and a phony.

      I love how all her fans are the first to attack right wing homophobia but fail to address the passive homophobia of people like Lady Gaga and the music business in general.

      May 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michelle
      Michelle

      I am sorry, Jason, but you are exactly the type of person that is hurting the fight for LGBT equality. Rather than support those that are trying to help, you choose to senselessly tear them down with little reason. (Just like Daniel, the hurtful author of this post.) If you actually spent the time to listen to her interviews or message you would see she has put a great deal of time into supporting gay causes as well as money. You may not like her music or persona but calling her “homophobic” is so far off base that it negates any possibly valuable insight you might have.

      Could it be that this savvy 25 year old really does understand how to play the media? Perhaps, just perhaps, she is choosing her battles carefully. If this was intentional (and I don’t believe it was), in many ways it could be a testament to her intelligence and her ability to stick around for years to come. On record and on radio airwaves she is exceedingly pro-gay rights, not to mention at her concerts where she is absolutely over the top in crying out for Equality. While it is hard to hear our community dropped from the lyrics, just how much music bearing her call for Equality will be purchased? How many more people will she reach with her message by taking on these appearances, and how many generations will she impact by getting her music out there, with every single lyric included?

      Please take your base-less claims, faulty logic and destructive diatribe somewhere else. I think the Fox News forums would appreciate you conspiracy theories.

      May 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Michelle,

      I don’t care what you say. I simply call it as I see it.

      You see, girl, I’m not selective in how I approach criticism of homophobia. I don’t go easy on those who transgress simply because they’ve issued pro-gay statements in the past. Fighting homophobia is a full-time activity, honey.

      I’m not PC, basically. If you want to be PC, go right ahead. Just don’t call yourself consistent.

      May 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Flipper
      Flipper

      “But GMA is also the same show…whose host expressed “worry” when two Oscar-winning actors hugged.”

      Meredith Vieira is not a host on GMA. I know this isn’t a “news” site, but is accuracy too much to ask nonetheless?

      May 31, 2011 at 6:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • William
      William

      I’m with Michelle 100% on this one. Well said. You can’t blame Jason or the author either for their opinions; they were born this way. Waka waka waka!

      May 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric
      Eric

      @jason:

      Sometimes you have to yell for what you want.
      Sometimes you have to buy what you want.
      Sometimes you have to convince using logic for what you want.
      And sometimes you have to trick your kids into eating their veggies.

      May 31, 2011 at 6:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michelle
      Michelle

      @jason: Could you be any more condescending with your “girl” and “honey” comments?

      Fighting homophobia is also clearly NOT your full time activity as you are spending so much time trolling this message board. Maybe part-time at best? Let’s not lie to ourselves about how little or how much you do (or don’t do). “Fighting homophobia” also does not involve attacking those that support the cause.

      Finally, the “I’m just being honest” excuse is what juvenile people (eg. Kanye West and ill-experiences 12 year olds) say when in fact, they are really just being douche bags. :(

      May 31, 2011 at 7:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mikeandrewsdantescove
      mikeandrewsdantescove

      If both Glee and Lady Gaga changed the lyrics, that’s unfortunate across the board.

      Mike Andrews
      Alist –
      http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/alist-single/id439889457

      May 31, 2011 at 7:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • christopher di spirito
      christopher di spirito

      @jason: You hit the nail on the head. Queers think Lady Gaga is our patron Saint — Cher for a new generation when in fact, Stephanie Germanotti, AKA, Lady Gaga, is playing both sides (straight and gay) against each other to sell records.

      May 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michelle
      Michelle

      @christopher di spirito: How is she playing them “against” each other? Last I checked she brought them together at her tour and at her concerts? Did I miss the part where they had to sit on separate sides of the isle? I don’t think she is a saint, but I think she is certainly helping the cause. I would love some justifications. It sounds like you are just hating her in a lame attempt to feel counter culture or unique. (Lady Gaga supports being unique.)

      May 31, 2011 at 7:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ashton cruz
      ashton cruz

      Oy vey, you are damned if you do and damned if you dont. You know whatplaying both sides of the fence or not that little 24 year old girl has done more for the visibility of gay, lesbian, bi and transgender people than most of the actual gay “celebrities” out now there, so screw this nit picky article.

      Dont forget for one second that when the girl is performing to sell out houses she’s letting them all know that being gay is ok.

      Not even Madonna pushed our cause in the face of her audience as this young woman has. Not Cher, Not Liza, Not Whitney, Not Christina, Not Britney, not Tina, not Mariah, not even Elton! So give the child a break already.

      May 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      I think this Zack Rosen says it best.
      http://www.advocate.com/Arts_and_Entertainment/Media/The_Lady_in_The_Slaughter/

      “”Lady Gaga is a brilliant self-marketer who writes stellar hooks and looks good wearing items that appear to have been fished out of Karen O’s dumpster. I find her songs to be as emotionally evocative as lichen but they make me dance. And that’s pretty awesome. I do not, however, understand how she transitioned into the shortcut for all things gay. She doesn’t represent my life, no matter how many times she might be played at a gay bar or how many men take pride in knowing the entire “Bad Romance” dance by heart. Contemporary gay culture has become so entwined with this one woman that I can barely breath.

      I am forced to keep abreast of her every single move by the endless, breathless accounts of gay blogs, gay clubs, and overly enthusiastic gay friends. So I might crank “Paparazzi” when I’m at home alone, but the rest of the time I just want her to be de-canonized as a homosexual omnipresence so I can go on with my life. I do believe in culture as politics. But Lady Gaga is not culture.””

      May 31, 2011 at 10:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • christopher di spirito
      christopher di spirito

      @Michelle: OK, whatevah. Lady Gaga walks on water and her shit don’t stink. Feel better now, princess? LOL!

      May 31, 2011 at 10:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ashton cruz
      ashton cruz

      @ Christopher. Bro, she doesn’t walk on water, she walks on the same dog shit covered sidewalks we do, but at least commercially or not she’s bringing awareness to our existence in ways nobody else has done in a long time, so how about bringing it down a notch? Bro it’s cool that you dont like her, but whats up with being such a bully against her? Look at all the time you waste posting hate against her and balance it out with the non existing letters you spend time writing your congressmen asking them to fight our fight. Very One sided no? I think you are wasting your angst on the wrong target. If only you were this adamant fighting the real enemy bro.

      Dont be a douche, be a nozzle at least the nozzle goes in deep!

      May 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Godiva
      Godiva

      If censoring a live performance means getting more coverage, and being able to release more material, than fine. Because, when it comes down to it, the album copy has her true sentiments, and I know what she supports. Isn’t that what matters?

      May 31, 2011 at 11:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      She’s grateful for attention on older-generation-run traditional broadcast cable.Push media platforms that have been around since the eighties. She won’t say to them ‘You have to accept this or you don’t get me’ She’s willing to drop the gay lyrics to get access. Getting the attention comes first. That’s the ONLY reason those gay lyrics are there in the first place.

      Pre-emptive note to ‘little monsters’ : She only supports you as long as she gets to be your Queen. She uses images of gay guys bowing at her feet in her videos as an example. It’s flattering to her and to straight girls to see a girl get treated like that by gay guys. It gives her a metropolitan edge to sell to girls who are worth more to advertisers and TV programmers than gay guys. That’s where the rating come from. It’s not about you. It will not translate in to respect for gays.

      May 31, 2011 at 11:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Red Meat
      Red Meat

      Look at all these bitter gays all up in the comment section who have contributed -1% to the LGBT community -OH teh irony!

      May 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SKOC211
      SKOC211

      Stop it. Stop it right now.

      She has performed “Born This Way” countless times, to MUCH larger audiences (Grammys anyone?), in its entirety. It was number one for six weeks. It broke iTunes records. And the album is the biggest seller in a decade. Everyone has heard it. Everyone knows what her message is. She’s not faking it, pandering, or using us.

      Glee not using the lyric? Questionable.

      But to attempt to generate false outrage over a complete non-issue when it comes to the LGBT community’s biggest and loudest ally is stupid, cynical, and wrong.

      May 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Drew H.
      Drew H.

      Oh Queerty. You’re back from the grave & still as senselessly vicious & catty as you were before. Still attacking the people that are on our side for no reason other than sensationalism. For some reason I expected more.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 12:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Lady gaga is an attention whore who will say and do anything for a buck. If she were truly gay-friendly, she would not have agreed to censorship.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 12:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      @jason: Exactly, I think it’s hard for fan-boys to admit it was a cop-out. She could have said ‘take it or leave it’ and leveraged her popularity to force them to accept it but she didn’t. I guess if your really de-moralized and feel really isolated by your gayness and have incredibly low self esteem it makes you so desperate for some main-stream media validation that your willing to support someone who would cop out like that.

      But if you don’t feel isolated, and are completely secure in your own skin regardless of what goes on in the main stream then you don’t need that validation, then you can see when someone’s really standing by you….or selling you out. When you don’t have blinders on.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 1:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tommyixi
      Tommyixi

      I honestly believe a few things are worth pointing out here. Lady Gaga is most definitely not a homophobic person. She has done a considerable amount of good for the LGBT community and is continuing to serve day in and day out for us. Actually, it’s not just the LGBT community; I firmly believe Gaga does an excellent job at expressing self love and acceptance on all levels.

      I also agree with what was previously said about the censored line in the ABC video; it is awkward and would sound weird to sing and dance too. If they were going to censor the video based on it’s content then wouldn’t they just censor the whole thing? I mean the whole song is about loving yourself and others for who they are, not what they are.

      I would say Lady Gaga is quite the pioneer for gay equality in this time era. I don’t think we try and destroy what she has built for us- hope.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 1:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      But she’s an ALLY!
      STOP THINKING… and get your money out…

      Jun 1, 2011 at 3:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason [Different person #1 using similar name]

      If gay guys need a nearly naked female pop singer to lead them, it’s truly a sign of the decline of the gay rights movement. You’ve become dysfunctional bordering on bizarre. If Hitler were to return as a gay rights champion, most of you would be saying what a nice person he is and that we shouldn’t criticize him.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 4:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gaysagainstgaga
      gaysagainstgaga

      gays against gaga is on the case.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 4:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adonis-of-Fire
      Adonis-of-Fire

      @christopher di spirito:

      Exactly what has Cher done for the gay community? I don’t see her protesting H8, and I don’t see her speaking publicly against “Don’t ask don’t tell”, plus it’s been openly reported how she freaked out when Chaz had a sex change. So bitch, take a fucking seat.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 5:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChrisC
      ChrisC

      I believe that Gaga’s support is without a doubt genuine. However, it doesn’t matter whether it’s genuine or not! The fact is, she is getting out a very pro-LGBT message to millions of people. Did you see the countless video responses she got on her DADT video on YouTube where countless straight people were calling their senators because Gaga told them to? Gaga without a doubt played a big role in the repeal of DADT by using her influence to get people to take action. She is the most famous pro-LGBT Rights ally that we have had in a long time. Britney, Madonna, Cher – even Kylie, haven’t spoken out like Gaga, and yet they still have massive LGBT followings, so Gaga doesn’t have to do this just to get some LGBT fans. Obviously, I adore Gaga, so maybe I’m just being blindly devoted, however, I don’t think I am.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 7:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Lady Gaga may have spoken out in support of GLBT rights but she has failed to show courage in defending this support in the face of those who are against us. Case in point: agreeing to the censorship of the word “gay” in her lyrics.

      She comes across as a politician – like someone who will do and say anything in the moment to obtain an advantage from the moment.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 8:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlyloo
      Carlyloo

      Lady Gaga is bisexual therefore she is a member of the LGBT community and not an Ally. Unless you want to call her repeated acknowledgement of the fact that she is attracted to and has had sex with both men and women a lie.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J.
      J.

      I’m a huge fan of Lady Gaga – but as a super fan I DID notice that both times – on Glee AND on GMA – the LGBT part’s of the song were cut.

      Now are we rushing to damn Gaga every time she doesn’t include marginalized queers? Probably. But it does point out a pretty interesting critique.

      Gaga should not be exempt from criticism just because she’s carried the rainbow flag a few times. The woman IS involved in a business – hell she made more money this year than Oprah. And when money is involved, it can make people do bizarre things. Even out-of-character items.

      So yes, perhaps Gaga is playing both sides of the fence. Smart business move NOW – because the gay community has historically ‘picked up’ and brushed off the female pop sensations that society typically trashes after a few years.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J.
      J.

      ALSO

      No one person should go without scrutiny – even those we label as ‘brave’ or ‘heroic’. To let Gaga go without calling out a potential fear – that she could be ‘playing’ us does not warrant one gay calling another gay in my opinion.

      Finally – I agree – if the LGBT community needs someone like Gaga to rally them, we’ve really lost our sense of a successful historical struggle.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Carlyloo,

      Like many females, Lady Gaga is a fake bisexual. She used female bisexuality as a marketing ploy to titillate sleazy straight guys and not to help the GLBT cause.

      She’s a phony.

      Jun 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank
      Frank

      @Adonis-of-Fire:

      No, Adonis. For some reason, the line was REPLACED, not CUT OFF.

      She just said, “I was Born This Way” several times, instead of the pro-gay verse. =/

      Jun 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joey
      Joey

      Why folks are attacking Queerty I have no idea. It’s a very valid question to ask why these lyrics were removed out of all the ones available. I mean, the remaining verse refers to Asians as “Orient made.” To me that’s far more eyebrow-raising than vocally referring to the GLBT folks who are on screen wearing shirts that say “Likes Boys” and “Lebanese.”

      Yes, the iTunes version of Glee’s cover includes “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track, baby. I was born to survive.”

      What’s stranger is this: I just saw the “Glee Live!” concert last week. When they perform “Born This Way,” they cut out the GLBT-referencing lyrics AGAIN. They have all the time in the world — no need to shorten. iTunes proves they’ve sung the lyrics before.

      It is a frustrating mystery.

      Jun 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joe
      Joe

      Glee also censored John Lennon’s Imagine
      Leaving out the entire first verse “imagine there’s no heaven…”

      The idea that the show stands for left of center values is quite laughable to me

      Jul 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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