When Does Gay Acceptance Cross Over to Gay Baiting?

Nick Jonas Flaunt

This picture of Nick Jonas is hott enough to deserve its own post, but I actually do have another reason for posting it. If you choose to ignore the rest of this piece just to stare at the picture, though, I completely understand. It’s from the newest issue of Flaunt, which comes out soon.

PrideSource recently published an interview conducted with Nick, and quite a few gay blogs are focusing on one particular aspect of it: whether he has been using his body to bait the gay community. Lately, Nick has been making the rounds in the rounds in the gay press, as he promotes his new album, and his upcoming show, Kingdom. I’ve been wondering for a while now when people would start accusing him of simply gay-baiting to garner publicity and sales. This is a valid enough accusation, when you consider the fact that this attempt to reach out to his gay fan base seems to come miraculously suddenly after years of never really giving much attention to this audience (at least not publicly). Of course, that may have had to do with the fact that the Jonas Brothers were marketed by Disney to appeal to parents (liberal and conservative) and there have always been rumours that their dad/manager is quite homophobic, despite Nick now stating in this interview that his parents always taught them to be accepting of everyone… so, who knows? Despite the validity of the gay-baiting accusation, I still have to wonder if it is fair. Here’s what Nick had to say about it:

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I think it’s unfortunate that some people have to find a negative in every situation. Clearly my heart is in the right place, and more than anything, if they just looked at my life and my gay friends and the authentic nature of where my heart is, they’d just see that they’re kind of ignorant.

The nature of where we are today is, we’re in a time where we need to make strides and step forward as a society and embrace all people from all different walks of life. When you’re trying to make a bold statement like that, some people aren’t gonna fall in line with that. And that’s OK. You gotta stay on your own path.

A more appropriate and logical response could not have been requested. Perhaps he is pandering a bit to gay men, but is that necessarily a bad thing? If he’s only doing it for sales and publicity, then I cannot be on his side, but if he is being honest and his heart really is in the right place, why give him hell for it?

I’ve already spoken about my feelings on celebrities who bait the gay community for sales, but back then, I was referring to those who pretended to be part of the LGBT community during an initial selling period, only to suddenly become heterosexualised when the fame was achieved. In the case of admittedly heterosexual individuals who show love and support to the LGBT community, are we doing them (or ourselves, for that matter) any favours throwing their acceptance right back in their faces? It seems to me to be something of a no-win situation if we shun those who outwardly hate us but then turn around and criticise those who are actually showing that they are on our side.

I think this goes back to what I often say about picking our battles. We don’t have to approve of everything that others do, but it doesn’t mean that we have to make huge deals about it either, provided that they aren’t hurting anyone. This world is already too full of hate to bring down anyone who is only trying to show love.

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10 thoughts on “When Does Gay Acceptance Cross Over to Gay Baiting?”

  1. Hmm. I have mixed thoughts.

    I guess I look at it like this: I don’t think baiting the gay community is any different than any other marketing ploy out there. And at least it’s not as bad as McDonalds or processed food manufacturer’s (IE breakfast cereals) using toys to reel in children. I mean, most of the gay community is old enough to make an intelligent/adult decision as a consumer. Children, on the other hand, are not.

    Not that it makes it right – faking who you are to drive sales. But I think all celebs do it to some extent.

    And at least the positive of it is, there are more and more high profile people out there showing support. So, even if they’re doing it to profit, the gay community is reaping the benefit – the general populas is being exposed to positive perceptions, and hopefully it is changing their attitudes as well.

    Interesting side note, and totally off topic, did you know that cereal manufacturers generally make their cartoon characters eyes look downward? That’s because they want children to feel like the character is engaging them, it helps drive them to ask their parents to purchase.

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    1. Oh, and forgot to throw a conspiracy theory out there… do you think he might be doing it to get under his dad’s skin? I mean, I wonder if he feels like he can finally rebel against his parent’s now that he’s no longer in the brother’s group / being viewed as a child…?

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      1. I have no idea. In the article, he says that his parents have always been “open-minded”, but that goes against everything we’ve ever heard about the dad, doesn’t it?

        But, I don’t know him personally, so I won’t presume to know what he’s really like. Until I’ve got a telepathic body reader who shot Nick Jonas with a potent dose of truth serum after plugging him up to a lie detector, I’m just gonna take his word for it.

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    2. That’s what I thought too, especially initially. The fact that the whole Jonas Brothers’ image was always very “pure, Christian wholesome kiddies”, there was never any indication at all that they were even aware that they had a gay fan base, let alone to acknowledge them. The fact, therefore, that Nick Jonas is now going out of his way to become the new poster boy for gay acceptance does make the gay baiting accusations valid.

      That said, though, if he – and others like him – are genuinely just trying to reach out to their LGBT fans, then they’re going to get enough flack from homophobes out there. The LGBT community shouldn’t make it any more difficult to them… otherwise, why would any straight celeb even bother promoting LGBT acceptance?

      It’s a ticklish issue, and not black and white at all. But I’d much rather have someone cheering the LGBT community on, rather than knocking us down. Whether or not I choose to patronize this person and their career is up to me.

      As for that cereal tidbit, I just fell in love with you a little bit more… I’m an absolute sucker for random trivia, and I am being absolutely 100% sincere about that.

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  2. I don’t like it when people say the “gay (LGBT) community”. There is no such thing as a community full of people who are homosexual and/or LGBT in general unless someone has a map where the location of that supposed community can be found on the planet…

    The “gay community” concept is misleading and leads people to think of homosexual people as a homogeneous type of people who lack complexity, diversity and individuality.

    lgbt PEOPLE is a better way to refer to non-heterosexual people. They’re people; not a community and/or a collective but individuals, each one unique.

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    1. I saw someone leave a similar argument in another site only yesterday. Honestly, I completely understand your point, and I respect it. But I think that it’s a pretty skewed idea of what community means.

      If you look at the term “community” from a socio-geographical standpoint, in terms of people who actually live in a “community”, you’ll find that they’re all different. You have the drug dealers, the professionals, the religious, the atheist, the rich, the poor. But that doesn’t stop it from being a community… because they all share something in common: a living space.

      If you loom at it from a bio-ecological standpoint, a “community” refers to all the living creatures in a particular area (plants and animals alike). Obviously they’d all be different as well, but they still share the same environment, living conditions and location.

      I think that’s what the term “LGBT community” seeks to serve. Sure, we’re al different, no doubt about that, but we all share the same challenges, and discrimination, sometimes fear and hurt. Especially when morons try saying “there are no gays where I’m from” and we know that it isn’t true, those LGBT individuals who live in such areas can take comfort from the fact that although there aren’t many out and proud gay people where they are, there’s still a huge “community” out there.

      I get your point, I really do; but that’s just my take on it.

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  3. Ask him to be a good musician who gives good music, nice riffs, inspired music then ask him to take his clothes off. That’s one of the best ways for him to show that he really cares about his fans in general: making good music, different from the rest. Then he can take his clothes off, but music comes first because that’s what he is, a musician.

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