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LGBT issues

Gee, Thanks Logan Paul and Kevin Hart For That Exhausting Week of Gay Stupid

The Daily Beast

January 12, 2019

Logan Paul is “going gay” for March, while Kevin Hart has gone quickly from apologizing for his homophobia to being “over it.” The complex realities of LGBT life elude them both.

Are you a man who likes to have sex with men? Do you find Logan Paul sexy?

Well, make a note that March, but only March, is the month for you.

On his most recent Impaulsive podcast, filmed for all our brain-numbing posterity, the heterosexual YouTube star with 18 million subscribers revealed that he will be “going gay” in March.

The idiocy of the statement is plain and obvious, and almost too exhausting to parse. But hey, our minds have been thoroughly rinsed in all of Kevin Hart’s LGBT-themed idiocy these last few days. Why not go for complete saturation?

Most gay people would contend you don’t go gay, you are gay. You don’t choose to be gay, you are gay. Being gay is as being innate as say, being a dumbass who’s made a lot of money out of his wide-eyed “woah dude” punking persona; as innate as being the kind of narcissistic, fame-obsessed tool who thinks it’s wise to show a dead body in a Japanese forest and prompt global outrage.

Causing outrage is likely a key driving factor in announcing his “going gay” March, of course. Judging by the frat-house atmosphere of Paul’s show, being gay will be a joke, a jape, part of a calendar of dares and challenges.

In January, we learned he and his co-host Mike Majlak are going vegan and being sober.

The next month is slated to be “Fatal February,” where from day one “big steaks” and “a big bottle of Tito’s” will be the order of the day. A month of excess.

And so we reached what Paul called “Male-Only March.”

Suddenly, Majlak seemed nervous. You could see it in his hey-bro face suddenly. This was not so much fun as Tito’s and big steaks.

“Why don’t you say this part?” he said to Paul. He could have added, “This is a just a joke bro, this isn’t really me, bro.”

“We’re going to go attempt to go gay for just one month,” Paul announced.

Then Majlak suddenly discovered his bravado. “And then swing, and then go back.” Geddit? To being straight! Just like you do!

The studio was then filled with a lot of laughter—I dunno, like they were celebrating the lighting of 50 farts. (Paul did not return a Daily Beast request for comment.)

Social media, predictably, filled with many criticisms of this supposed jape or joke; that being gay isn’t a choice; that Paul and his friend were insulting and demeaning a swathe of the human population.

But this dumb-jockery could still be of some use. Instead of playing along with them, if Paul and Majlak want a “man-only March” that’s what we’ll give them. Every gay man who encounters them that month, do not indulge whatever sex games they want to play. Refuse all kisses, or proffered hands and appendages.

Instead, regale Paul and Majlak with stories of LGBT history. Tell them of the Mattachine Society, the Stonewall Riots and Bar, the brave Act-Up activists who fought for access to drugs and for even government to give a damn when gay men were dying in their thousands in the 1980s. The Lesbian Avengers. Vita and Virginia. Oscar Wilde and The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Press copies of The Well of Loneliness and Maurice and Tales of the City, and something super-sex-sodden and gossipy by Edmund White into their straight, gay-March-only hands. Get them reading George Chauncey.

Tell them about queerbashing, and the attacks and murders not just of gay men, but all members of the LGBT community, particularly trans women of color.

Tell them that on the same day that their vapid, stupid video came out, word was received again of gay men being tortured and detained in Chechnya. Tell them about the places in the world where being LGBT is illegal, where you can be killed by your own family, or relentlessly hounded by your government or terrorists like ISIS.

Wherever they go, instead of indulging their dumb, shallow heterosexual baiting, tell these two men about the reality of being LGBT. And yes, tell them about the amazing sex, intimacy, fun, and friendships you’ve enjoyed, and about going out, dancing, about coming out, of figuring out who you are when society has sought to dismiss and demean it… like two straight guys joking that being gay is just a temporary hobby that you can take on and take off.

Say, at whatever volume you care to straight in these ignoramuses’ faces that people do not choose to be gay, just like they do not choose to be discriminated against, persecuted, beaten up, and murdered for being gay.

Tell Paul and Majlak about the long and winding road towards equality and equal treatment in this country. Tell them about the Trump administration’s attacks on LGBT people, particularly transgender people.

I wonder if their eyes will be full of wonder and revelation (we can but hope), or glazed over by this point. After all, they just came over to see if they could play with you and your sexual identity. Oh well, if Paul has co-opted Man-Only March, maybe LGBT people should enshrine Straight-Free September.

Their gameplan was announced at the perfect time, because everything Paul and pal need to hear in the month of March, Kevin Hart may benefit from hearing now, not that he seems in the mood to really listen.

Here again, like Paul and Majlak, is someone who is willfully tone-deaf when it comes to LGBT people, and understanding the proximity and power of words to hurt and do damage.

People say that they are exhausted of Hart, and the controversy over his homophobia, and his non-apologies. He’s banking on that exhaustion to reboot his career from this odd period. All week, his interviews to publicize The Upside, his new movie co-starring Bryan Cranston, have been punctuated with a new PR strategy of “I’m over it,” when it comes to answering any questions about his horrible “jokes” and tweets about gay people, most infamously about attacking his son if his son ever came out.

art said he had apologized when he hadn’t, and when he finally did apologize (a few times, beginning with the Ellen show) he kept it to a brief “I’m sorry,” shorn of any further explanation about his words, his homophobia, and how he had suddenly evolved away from it.

Quickly bored of this non-apologizing, he tried on the “I’m over it” when talking to Michael Strahan on Good Morning America, in an interview—like so many of his others—that was marked by an extreme narcissism and egomania, rather than any contrition or self-examination.

The message from Kevin Hart as of now seems to be: He doesn’t care if we think he is homophobic, he will now stop performing the apologies he felt forced into making, he doesn’t want to learn anything or be an LGBT ally, and can we all just forget about this please. He has films and lots of money to make, thank you.

He tried the same “me, me, me” shoe on for his appearance with Stephen Colbert, who crumbled and said he’d been in the same boat as Hart. Hart has survived his mess by being interviewed by other celebrities, and what a protective, self-affirming club they can be.

In a self-congratulatory segment on GMA Day, a few hours after Strahan’s interview aired, Strahan (yes, a friend of Hart’s) and co-host Sara Haines did not criticize Hart. Indeed, Haines said she didn’t hold Hart’s “different” beliefs against him.

Would the same argument extend to someone in the public eye who had expressed racist or misogynistic beliefs? Would we be fine if they just held them, and let them be, and let that be an example we set. Haines talked mistily about “educating” and “informing” people, but you’re not educating or informing anyone about homophobia unless you challenge it head-on, and state that it is wrong.

Haines said the criticism of Hart now amounted to a “mob mentality,” a by-now familiar rejoinder against critics who protest too much, rather than the thornier and correct challenge of confronting homophobia.

On Friday, Hart faced NPR Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, and this—to Gross and Hart’s credit—was a much more nuanced interview than any of the others.

“The bad part about being a comedian is that sometimes you just aren’t funny,” he said. “Sometimes to grow as a comedian, you got to go through the stupid part… Ultimately, I have 10 years of separation in between the time that was brought back up and now, and I think those 10 years acted as a great example of change. And in order for people to evolve, you have to accept their change.”

“My apology was sincere when it was given,” Hart said, “and I made it sincere when I gave it again, and my effort after that, when I gave another one, was just as sincere. But it just seemed as if it was a never-ending cycle. So I chose to just shut it down and say that I’m done with it, and move on from it.”

That doesn’t explain how empty the apologies felt, and his general defensiveness, but Hart is clearly done explaining.

Being gay wasn’t talked about or seen when he was growing up in North Philadelphia, he said. Traveling the world increases one’s “level of understanding and knowledge grows, to where now, you are aware of things that you may not have been aware of before. Because of that, you’re able to adapt and you’re able to change and take bad habits away.”

But this interview, like the others, didn’t ask Hart the key questions. Why, as a supposedly well-traveled, open-minded comic, did he tell homophobic jokes and send homophobic tweets? Is he still homophobic now? What would he say to a child of his who is LGBT? Why, in this whole controversy, did every answer he give lead back to him-as-victim, and not the homophobia that he was being asked about?

It is, yes, exhaustingly incumbent on every decent person to assert how unacceptable homophobia is, until we don’t have so many anti-LGBT politicians, laws, presidents, beatings, harassment, and job discrimination. Believe me, LGBT people wish they could be “over it” too.

In the same week of Logan Paul and Kevin Hart’s LGBT-related idiocies, a right-wing pressure group campaigned to have gender identity and sexual orientation removed as distinct categories under the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018, which is currently heading to the House.

Later in the week, as reported by LGBTQ Nation, Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, said that no minority groups needed to be named in the bill because it applied to everyone, although including specific groups universalizes the application of the bill.

What do Paul and Hart think of that, I wonder? That someone would seek to take away a protections of an already victimized, improperly legally protected minority, around lynching of all things.

What do Paul and Hart, as they craft their masterful jokes, think of all this discrimination and prejudice, the legal attacks, the street attacks, the challenge of coming out, the lessons of history, the constant struggle, the desire to build a better future for the living LGBT generations and the ones coming after us?

Silly me. They’re joking. They’re over it.