Red Green and Purple – The commerce of LGBT
Sitting at a restaurant across from my office and trying to decide why on earth my coffee tastes like sorrow and shame, I’m struck by the 11 millionth Caitlyn Jenner interview where she effortlessly switches the words ‘strong’ ‘brave’ ‘movement’ and ‘persevere’ as if prompted from behind the cameras. My usual reaction is a mixture of mild disinterest and instant irritation, but today something else strikes me. It’s a eureka-type moment and I immediately begin to build on my opinion.
Caitlyn is no Sylvia Rae Rivera, for starters…she’s set to be worth over $500 million within the next decade. Most earnings are predicted to come from television rights and massive commercial deals. The photo-ops are phenomenal with research showing that Caitlyn enjoys over 300% more photo time than Bruce did. The stories are quite touching. From sexual acceptance to sexual variation, it is the same script that ignites the LGBT argument. One, which I will not be discussing today…thankfully.
With a growing LGBT community, the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in June 2015 and massive acceptance/advocacy globally, being gay or transsexual is almost being described as the new cool. Having passed through the 6 stages in the process of public opinion i.e. the shocker, the outrage, the discussion, tolerance, acceptance and veneration, more and more people are being celebrated for “stepping out of the closet”. The more far-reaching or bizarre the exposure, the more media coverage and public opinion bickering, what people are not following…is the money and subsequently, the fame. NFL draft, Michael Sam shocked the sporting world, and if this took you by surprise, then good morning. He raked in more, commanded a larger contract and appeared on more US networks than quarterbacks before him. Amanda Simpson had to step aside from the spotlight, as President of the US, Barack Obama, appointed Raffi Freedman-Gurspan. The appointment sparked wide celebrations and she has appeared in the media more times than Monica Lewinsky did during her time.
Trends drive the general direction of the world and money. From paid interviews, to paid speeches, from documentaries to grants of asylum, being anyone under the LGBT classification now holds more control and more access than your average Joe. An interview with a key member of Lagos’ growing LGBT community (who wished not to be identified) stated “…these days, we have scammers everywhere. People pretend to be gay for the attention and the allure…mostly the money”. If this is true on a scale as small and unmentionable as Lagos, then what would be the situation when same is magnified on a scale as large and welcoming as the United States.
Many people predict that Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is temporarily transgender for the millions of dollars, most of which are reeling in by the second and after his spell is done, he will blame this on a bad decision. Is this good for the image of true transsexuals? Has the trend taken over what some have defined as a sexual anomaly or inherent sexual preference? Regardless of what drives the conversation, the painful truth is that the rewards for being transsexual have become more of a financial type than one of conscience liberation. The sexual preference discrimination argument would only hit more blows if it is discovered that the motivation is monetary. Again, this does not rule out actual LGBTs, it only makes an already complicated classification issue, even more complicated.