Responding To Adam Rippon's Oscar Backlash
Last week I was laying awake in bed with a brutal case of insomnia, so I decided to browse social media to try and tire my mind. The Oscars had recently aired and as always I love to see what everyone was wearing. I noted with a bit surprise that one subject kept recurring in my feed and it bothered me more with every post that I came across. Why was there so much backlash on Adam Rippon’s Oscars outfit? I could not believe the negativity and judgement on Instagram stories and in Facebook feeds about his Moschino Harness suit. Many comments didn't even pertain to what he was wearing but calling him a “SLUT, TRASH, A TERRIBLE EXAMPLE FOR THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY TO BE REPERSENTED BY.” Umm, excuse me? This man stood up to the Vice President countless times for being homophobic and because he is wearing this outfit he is a bad representation? What I find the most shocking is that the people with the most opinions in my feed of this subject are members of the LGBTQ community.
I asked myself why are they so offended? I needed to reach out to one of my favorite queer activists @HEYROONEY and get his opinion on what was happening.
You have obviously seen the Oscars and the outfit that Adam Rippon wore. What was your reaction when you saw it for the first time?
“I was gagged! (Pun intended?) I hadn't seen that Moschino design before, but am fascinated with fetish-wear - in this case, harnesses - as it is incorporated into fashion. It was so clearly queer and political. And, of course, I just thought he looked gorgeous. I think queer people in particular have really embraced fetish, and so it immediately read as "queer" to me. And I don't think it was intended to be specifically sexual, but because the general public is so sexually repressed they quickly sexualize something that's just meant to be, well, fashion.”
How did it make you feel to see the huge backlash from the LGBTQ community on his outfit? And their choice of words in critiquing it?
“It very quickly escalated from things like, "I would change this hem," to outlandish character judgments and personal statements. To me, that indicates that what these critics really had a problem with was the fact that Adam wore his queerness on his sleeve. Adam Rippon is a fucking icon. He's an icon. He is doing real work, aside from his amazing skating, to represent unapologetic queerness and I am here for it.“
I think it’s sad as a member of the LGBTQ community that we could not look at this moment as a win for us! I believe in the ripple effect, the more exposure we have in the world the more minds we can make a bit less narrow. I believe that individuality needs to be celebrated and that authenticity is so important in one's self growth! So why are we bashing Adam for being a fighter for a cause we are not done fighting? Yes the world is changing but it’s not going to continue to change if we just stop now or basically do the polar opposite and join forces with minds that want to oppose our freedoms?
I am very curious what your thoughts are on where the deep-rooted internalized Homo/Fem/Queer phobia stems from in the LGBTQ Community? What have you done to protest it?
"I blame straight people, or rather just straight-dominated society. (lol) So many of us spent our childhood and adolescence with this very present hatred for our queerness, for our femininity, for our sexuality. That's a really difficult thing to unpack and an even more difficult thing to catch yourself expressing! I think it's crucial that we allow ourselves to admit we contribute to homo/fem/queer phobia so that we can unlearn that hate. I do speak out quite relentlessly in regards to femme shaming. I'm not often the direct recipient of it, but it really strikes a nerve. I make work and content that attempts to undermine traditional masculinity, and also causes people (myself included) to question what it means to be desirable as a flamboyant or feminine person. And to be desirable not in spite of that femme nature, but because of it."
At the end of the day we need to celebrate positivity and stop giving life to negativity! Sure maybe his pants didn’t fit the best but this moment was more than just an outfit on the red carpet, it was member of the LGBTQ community breaking the mold of what someone who identifies as male or queer wears to a red carpet! Honestly menswear at these types of events is so repetitive and I find it inspiring to see something fresh and different! I wanted to take all the frustration I was feeling inside and try and turn it into something positive by writing this blog post. I also want to celebrate Adam & Rooney for all they have done for the LGBTQ community.