It is generally never a good thing when I wake up to a storm of emails from AfterEllen.com readers on a Sunday morning. Usually it means a beloved lesbian character has been murdered, maimed or manhandled on the telly. But yesterday morning’s email and Twitter hurricane didn’t bring bad news at all. It brought curious news that blossomed into beautiful news: At the live Glee show in Toronto on Saturday, Dianna Agron wore a “Likes Girls” T-shirt during the “Born This Way” performance.
The internet went bananas overnight. Dozens of blogs and entertainment websites threw up titillating, traffic-whoring headlines asking if Agron had come out as a lesbian. Fan sites exploded with speculation about Agron’s sexuality, Quinn’s sexuality and the probability that Quinn would be a love interest for Santana in Glee’s third season.
On Sunday afternoon, Agron took to her Tumblr to explain the reason behind the “Likes Girls” T-shirt.
Yesterday … we were tackling our newest location, Toronto! We had finished our first concert of the day, and I was about to take a moment to relax before the second. On the way to our dressing rooms, I passed a stack of shirts lined up on the merchandise tables. The white T’s were modeled after shirts we wore in a performance set to Lady Gaga’s, “Born This Way.” […] Last night, I wanted to do something to show my respect and love for the GLBT community. Support that people could actually see. Which is why I decided to change my shirt for the show.
But Agron’s blog offers more than an explanation for her wardrobe change; it’s actually a 3,300 word essay offering support, encouragement and empowerment to the gay community. It’s also an admonishment to homophobic folks to use their brains and hearts to get on the right side of history.
Our show celebrates the GLBT community. We are proud to be a part of something that embraces an often avoided topic. Hate is terrible, especially when we pass it down to a new generation of innocents. […] Sadly, we’ve gotten letters from people who explain that they love the show but hate the gay story-lines. That we shouldn’t be polluting their children’s heads. To this I’d sometimes like to sarcastically reply, would you also like us to tell them that a stork is dropping off our offspring? That the sky is purple? That it is not practical to be true to yourself, because there are mean people in this world that will make them feel wrong for being honest? That instead of embracing themselves, they should lie to the world? THEY should be the ones being untrue and unhappy? […] I speak, because I am passionate. I write with this passion because I know how it feels to be hurt, to be depressed, to not value yourself, or your feelings. [...] No, I am not a lesbian, yet if I were, I hope that the people in my life could embrace it whole-heartedly.
Much of the mainstream media and a disappointing number of lesbian fans all seem to be clinging to the “I’m not a lesbian” part.
I’m not going to give the haters any of my time, because their response — “I can’t believe she said she’s not a lesbian! I’ll never think of her the same way again! Appropriating a subculture that’s not her own! When she takes off the t-shirt she’ll still be straight! How dare she stand up for me when she doesn’t even like boobs!” — is so myopic and nonsensical that it hurts my brain just thinking about it.
But I am going to contextualize Agron’s declaration. Let’s call it “The Tale of Two Weekends.”
On the first weekend, a well-known celebrity from a much-lauded network TV show stood up on stage and said if his son ever came out as gay, he would “pull out a knife and stab” him. He said gay people need to “quit being pussies” and “whining about something as insignificant as bullying.” He said kids aren’t born gay; it’s something they learn from “media and programming.”
On the second weekend, a well-known celebrity from a much-lauded network TV show stood up on stage wearing a “Likes Girls” t-shirt and sang, “There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are ‘cause he made you perfect, babe. So hold your head up, girl, and you’ll go far … baby, you were born this way.” She took to her blog to say, “Kindness moves mountains. Acceptance opens doors … spread the love.”
Tracy Morgan used his celebrity platform to spread a message of hate and violence. Dianna Agron used her celebrity platform to spread a message of hope and acceptance.
Dianna Agron likes girls. And you know what? I like Dianna Agron. She doesn’t care that I’m gay, and I don’t care that she’s straight. In the wise words of Scout Finch: There’s only one kind of folks. Folks. And Dianna Agron is one of the good ones.