Friday, 2 March 2012

Sexual Identity in Contemporary USA

The video that I found is a personal vlog (video blog) by Onision and shares his opinion about gay people. Onision is known for his strong opinions which not a lot of people agree with. Him being a young person, it could be argued that some of his views on issues such as homosexuality are mirrored in other young people. As well as this, being born and growing up in a more liberal time to that of our parents or grandparents, and where being gay will not have you lobotomised or imprisoned (in the western world), shows that younger people are more open and welcoming of others who may be different to them. However, the fact that he had to create this vlog in the first place also implies that America is not as liberal a place as it appears and that even in contemporary USA being gay is still a hot topic. Also this video was posted in 2009 after the Miss USA Beauty Pageant, where Miss California, Carrie Prejean, said she was opposed to same-sex marriage, so this video could also be seen as a response to that as well.

The basic message of his video is that being gay is not a choice. The setup of the video is asking a series of questions, at the beginning, which most of the viewers will respond with a certain answer, which then allows for Onision to make his point that being gay is not a choice, but that that’s okay. He compares this to liking ice cream, music and the dislike of burning. Here he is trying to show that you cannot help what you like and what you dislike, however, some choices are not necessarily as instantaneous as he suggests. He uses the example of music; “should I bob my head to this?” but I some cases it takes a while to decide whether or not you like something, and in terms of being gay, this could also mean that it takes a while for people to know for definite if they are attracted to others of the same sex. Although, in most cases, and from some of the other videos that I watched, such as interviews with directors: John Waters and Augusten Burroughs, many people knew they were always gay from a young age.

Onision says that if we can accept liking ice cream then we should just accept gay people for who they are. Against this point, there has been a stigma surrounding gay people, with videos from the 1950’s like the one we watched in Wednesday’s workshop, saying that gay people were ill and had a sickness “of the mind”. Due to this long standing prejudice, it is harder for gay people to become accepted by the majority of heterosexual people who still believe being gay is an illness or is wrong. However, Onision makes the point that we are not all the same, interestingly pointing out that if we were, then we would all be gay. He also makes the point that heterosexual people are not a perfect example of the human race, further exemplifying that there is nothing wrong with gay people. This links to Precious when Miss Rain explains to Precious that it’s the straight people that cause the problems in the world and that it was the straight people that hurt her [Precious]. It also links to the film Milk where during a live debate; Harvey Milk makes the point that gay people are being born to heterosexual people, thus implying that there is something wrong with straight people and not gay people. Onision supports this when he says that people can either become accepting or continue to be “the person that makes this world miserable to wake up to”.

Overall the video’s message to gay people is that they should not be ashamed of being who they are and should be proud of themselves. This message is paramount throughout the video and encourages gay people to not hide because they may not enjoy their lives. However, this video is an example of his strong opinions and to some extent it could be argued that it is the same as anti-gay videos, in terms of his way of speaking and imposing his beliefs on the watcher, although he says he does not do that; showing how being gay in contemporary USA is still a big issue.

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