Amongst the gay community (us gays) we like to have icons. Over the years we have called out quite a few. Ranging from Madonna & Kylie back in the day to more modern icons like Barack Obama, Lady Gaga or Stephen Fry.
But are they true icons or just people that dabble in ‘camp’ and know that the pink pound will get them far? Where does the need for an icon come from? Someone high profile to lead our cause or even someone that’s ‘come out’ and made a success of themselves as an example to us all?
The people above, on the whole, I would say are true icons. Lady Gaga as we all know has always campaigned for equality in her unique way and seems committed to the cause. The same with Stephen Fry and indeed Barack Obama (US Same Sex Marriage anyone?).
But what about some of the other so-called ‘gay-icons’ that exist today? And for this article I’m going to focus on one person in particular; Katie Hopkins.
So last year she declared that she has an “ambition to be a gay icon” and it was met with mixed reception. What should a gay icon be? A loud mouth that claims to speak common sense when actually most of her spouting don’t seem based in fact or logic at all. Just misconceptions and prejudgments based on what her over inflated ego decides is “common sense”. And what has she done for our equal rights cause exactly? Well let’s take a look shall we.
Migrants (some of whom will be LGBT & escaping persecution for being so):
Most famously at the British LGBT Awards last year Katie appeared as a guest on the same day she was ‘denounced’ by the UN for labelling migrants as “cockroaches”. The UN even went so far as to compare her comments to that of the rhetoric from Nazi Germany and pre-genocide Rwanda. Apparently other guests refused to sit next to her and she was publically criticised from the likes of Ben Summerskill and others.
Lucky for us so far she has not targeted her mouth at the LGBT community, or has she? Katie may not as yet have come out directly against the LGBT community but she has attacked many of the types of people that make up the LGBT community. For example;
Those with Tattoos:
On national television, when discussing celebrities and tattoos (so a valuable conversation then?) Katie stated
“I really think if you have a tattoo you have to wonder about what kind of future you have ahead of you”.
Katie then went on to say,
“I think as an employer I certainly wouldn’t employ someone with tattoos, I’d worry what my customers would think of them. And socially I think we still look at tattoos as graffiti.”
I know of a fair few members of the LGBT community (and outside it) with tattoos that are visible or hidden. And a fair few of them have very successful jobs (myself included) so that statement isn’t based on any real facts or evidence. Just her ill-informed prejudice about people with tattoos. But I wonder how many people with tattoos of the gay community that affects? If that means you, did you know she thinks you’re unemployable and undesirable in the working world? Do you still want her as your icon and someone to look up to?
Anorexia (& various):
In a discussion on Justin Bieber (and that’s another discussion for another time) Katie stated that,
“Justin Bieber is the next Amy Winehouse and his fans have weight issues”.
Specifically when she talked about his fan base the ‘beliebers’ (again bear with me here) she stated,
“I suspect they’re sort of sad, lonely girls called Rebecca – haven’t got many friends, probably got issues with their weight, height, hair colour, skin, I don’t know what – and kinda hold onto him and say that they ‘belieb’.”
Now while I’m not a ‘belieber’ to call all of his followers young (essentially stupid) girls with weight issues is a bit much isn’t it? Anorexia, or indeed any sort of weight issue, is a serious problem and people at that age and indeed any age need support not criticism for putting their energies into a teenage heartthrob. So if you’ve ever liked Mr Bieber or even had a weight issue (or any sort of body issue for that matter) are you sure you want this woman as your icon?
Overweight people (and at the same time Ginger people & those educated in state schools):
To a shocked room full of Cambridge University students in May Katie told them she didn’t “really like fat people”, “wouldn’t like to meet a ginger in the dark”. But rather than stop there she went on to scorn the state school system implying that those that had been through that system were somehow inferior. As a state school ‘victim’ yes it could be better but to say that somehow I’m now inferior to you or anyone because of it is utter nonsense.
Katie even said on national television,
“Would I employ you if you were obese? No I would not.”
In a discussion around a person’s struggle to find work. Case and point really, how is an overweight person any less of a productive worker (in the appropriate role) than anyone else?
So if you’re ginger, have ever been or are now overweight, or have been educated in state school are you sure you want this woman as your icon? Does she inspire you to be proud of who you are or even who you can be?
To Peaches Geldoff (Rest in Peace) in a discussion on ‘attachment parenting’ Katie stated that
“She [Peaches] likes ‘Attachment Parenting’ until her baby is on the floor on the pavement”.
A statement made on national television after a picture was published showing Peaches struggling with her baby after her pram tipped over. Having got young nieces myself, I can confirm that buggy accidents do happen. Especially with some of these modern prams that are about as reliable as a chocolate teapot (and more complicated than Ikea flat packed goods). Who is she to attack a parenting style when she knows nothing about how that child is cared for?
So if you’ve got a child, or been a parent that has struggled with anything including buggies, are you sure you have confidence in this woman? Does she make you proud to be a parent and of your accomplishments to date as parent?
Women & Women’s rights:
So, to our lesbian (or just female) readership did you know that Katie thinks that you are “are emotional, [and that you] cry in toilets” and that apparently “the sisterhood only extends as far as the kitchen door” and that “men talk in logic and rational terms, they don’t squark and make a noise”.
Well not that I treat Katie as a fine specimen of womanhood but we know she doesn’t speak logic or rational so she may have been attacking herself there. But to say all women behave in such a way? Again, women of the world, does this woman inspire you to be proud of your womanhood and achievements as a woman?
I could go on for hours but I think you get the point. Gay icons, or any icons for equality for that matter, should apply the principle of equality and diversity in all their behaviour. Not just attack everyone else but leave the gays alone because she happens to make bitchy comments. Gay icons should be there to help us get the message across that prejudice and intolerance need to be stamped out, in all their forms.
We all laugh at the bitchy comments of drag queens, gay comedians and even more so at those made on RuPaul’s drag race but to expect them of a ‘gay icon’ that claims to be the leading authority on everything? I think not.
So to gay people everywhere I call on you to reject your false icons like Katie Hopkins and instead place your faith in those that are actually on your side, and not just think they look pretty in a dress with a bitchy attitude.
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