imagesWhile it was exciting to see Iggy Azalea cancel her performance at Pittsburgh Pride, my feelings are that a Nick Jonas performance is not a step towards greater inclusivity.

Before I explain why, I have a few things that need to be put out there as foundation for this blog post:

  • The selection of Iggy Azalea was problematic because it was Iggy Azalea, but it was also emblematic of deeper systemic problems with the Delta Foundation. Both of these aspects- why Iggy was problematic and what are the systemic problems with the Delta Foundation deserve more discussion as individual issues. For my part, here is my post dealing with Iggy and here is a post dealing with Delta, and each begin to articulate these points.
  • Delta is the sole creator of the problems it is facing in all ways. By casting “Pride in the Street” as the single most important part of its Pride activities, it has boxed itself into a corner, where there is no easy way to make that one event inclusive enough for everyone to feel welcome. If Delta had made the whole of Pride week activities the focus, they would have a direction to create a more fully inclusive Pride.
  • Delta doesn’t believe it caters to a white gay male constituency. It doesn’t see it, and therefore, Delta displays a defensiveness and comes across as ‘why doesn’t Pittsburgh’s LGBT community see how hard we work’? The LGBTQIA community is saying you are working in the wrong direction/doing the wrong things.
  • While the Delta Foundation has trademarked the title “Pittsburgh Pride,” the community is fighting back claiming that no one organization can own Pride. Pride belongs to the whole of the community, and any organization who wants to be a steward for Pride, must be accountable to the whole of the community.
  • Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA community has evolved and Delta has not. Delta doesn’t even recognize the whole of the community as it refuses to speak about anything other than LGBT. We have a creatively rich and diverse community that identifies as queer, and many others such that LGBT just doesn’t cut it to refer to Pittsburgh’s (or any) community.

Okay, my bullet points became a blog post in and of themselves…

Nick Jonas, is a sexy, hot guy with smoldering good looks and perfect abs and is the epitome of what’s wrong with a gay male culture which idolizes mainstream market-driven ideals of masculinity, youth, and the male body as a commodity. Gays (gay men) of all ages will ogle and awe over this hot guy. Hell, I fall into that category of a guy who finds Jonas hot, and there is nothing wrong with that, in and of itself. But is this what inclusivity looks like? The answer is “No.”

I don’t mean to criticize Jonas per se. His agent and marketing machine have been molding him to be desirable for a gay audience, and I get that. A guy does what he has to do to make a buck. And some will believe we owe Jonas a thank you for stepping in at the 11th hour and offering up his services to “save Pride.” But let’s be real, this is a win/win for Jonas from a publicity perspective, and little more.

I also do not mean to imply that Jonas doesn’t care about Equality and the LGBTQ community. He may. I have no reason to think he doesn’t, so please do not misunderstand me. But the Delta Foundation didn’t get Jonas– they didn’t make this happen. Jonas made this happen by offering up his services. I’ve read on Facebook that he is giving money to the GLCC, but can not confirm that. I can’t find anything to support that claim.

So to recap, Delta has another Pride in the Street with a performer who is mostly marketed towards the gay male constituency that Delta refuses to recognize that they cater to. This is not progress, it is the status quo.

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