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.