To say we didn't see this coming is an understatement. But at The American Prospect, Gabriel Arana dives into what makes a gay icon--and why, against all odds, right-wing commentator Ann Coulter might have what it takes.
Lady Gaga is a gay icon partly because "she's outrageous," explains Arana to a straight friend. But there's also an element of overcoming adversity:
Escapism and aspiration are central to the diva phenomenon, and most gay icons overcame some degree of adversity. Movie producers put Garland on diet pills and made her bind her breasts; both she and Monroe struggled with drug addiction. When an old boyfriend told Lady Gaga that she would never succeed--and that he hoped she wouldn't--she reportedly snapped back, "Someday when we're not together, you won't be able to order a cup of coffee at the fucking deli without hearing or seeing me!" For an ostracized group that's been handed a long list of you cannots from the get-go, these biographies offer a ray of hope: If Gaga or Whitney or Marilyn can fly over the rainbow, why, oh why can't I?
So where does Coulter come in? Conservative gays have been looking for their own "symbol of ... empowerment," explains Arana. The annual Homocon fundraiser therefore billed Coulter as "the right wing Judy Garland." Arana admits that, "as a glamorous blonde with a reputation for rabble-rousing, Coulter fits the bill in certain ways." Her "aphoristic outbursts ... [don't] sound all that different from A-list divas like Madonna ... and Cher," Arana writes, while her stilettos-and-LBD is a plus as well. At the same time, her height has exposed her to "the meme that she is really a man," like Lady Gaga.
Among prominent Republican women--and let's be honest, there aren't too many--Coulter is no doubt the best candidate to represent a group that's despised on both the left and the right. Gay Republicans can find their own version of swaggering machismo in Coulter's polemical brand. To them Coulter says, It's OK; I piss everyone off, too.
Of course, Arana points out that "a key qualification ... is missing from Coulter's gay-diva application: She doesn't support gay rights." The bigger problem, though, he says, is that at the Homocon fundraiser, "Coulter ... committed a capital crime of gay divadom: She was a buzz kill."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.