by Gareth Roberts
Wednesday, 10
November 2021
Reaction
12:28

Being ‘LGBT’ has become cosplay for millennials

Sexual identity has become a jamboree of naff posing
by Gareth Roberts
Is this a costume? (Photo via EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images).

Nearly a third of American millennials identify as ‘LGBT’, according to a recent study by the Arizona Christian University. While it’s worth taking these findings with a pillar full of salt, they don’t seem enormously surprising, with an astonishing 39% of the younger cohort of 18 to 24s signing up to the increasingly bizarre rainbow flag. But what does this actually mean?

I’m reminded of my first experience of a Rocky Horror night at a student union in the late 80s, with a variety of very ordinary middle-class youngsters adorning themselves in fishnets and cosmetics applied paint-roller style; a dismal, sanctioned attempt at transgression, like a medieval carnival with everybody safely back tilling the fields the day after. ‘Queer’ is merely an extension of such tourism. 

It’s no surprise that the United States is the great leader in all things LGBTQ. This was after all the nation that codified pop music that was only very slightly different to the mainstream as ‘Alternative Rock’ and turned it into a billion dollar industry. The genius of corporate capitalism, expert at selling the slightly outrageous, has merely applied glittery varnish to the nails of its invisible hand. 

It’s all so deeply, tragically pathetic. You can’t identify out of your whiteness — even to consider adopting the customs, or the appearance, of other racial groups is haram. But roll up, roll up, come one come all for LGBT, for queer, and for instant high status as a cool victim. This is the culture (such as it is) that anyone can appropriate, no questions asked — a permanent celebration, with colourful flags and regular feast days. 

It is, of course, highly ironic that at the same time as these jamborees and fallals, actual, morally neutral, day-in day-out, boring homosexuality is very much on the cultural back burner.

In the western world it’s now heavily frowned upon for lesbians even to associate on the basis of same-sex attraction, either socially or politically, without including kinky straight men, who it has transpired, perhaps surprisingly, are the most oppressed lesbians of all. Objecting to this is apparently not just party-pooping but (according to Stonewall’s Nancy Kelley among others) next door to Nazism. When the dull, basic rights of homosexual people are concerned, ‘allies’ and ‘queers’ are either nowhere to be seen or tutting like the horrified maiden aunts of yore. 

So the findings of this survey maybe don’t seem so outlandish. The culture that was generated back in the day by lesbians and gay men living with the unfeigned, not-fun threat of exposure, plus the risk blackmail and social opprobrium, is now a fun youth cosplay craze, as conventional if not more conventional than were mods, rockers and Goths. 

I say, they’re welcome to it. Fill your LGBT boots, millennials. With your naff posing you’re making the actual homosexuality you can never understand authentically, transgressively cool again.

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Mark Knight
Mark Knight
10 months ago

“….kinky straight men, who it has transpired, perhaps surprisingly, are the most oppressed lesbians of all.”
Great article and very very funny.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Knight

Agreed. Sadly hilarious and as Swift said: ‘satire is a form of glass wherein beholders discover everybody’s face but their own’.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
10 months ago
Reply to  Mark Knight

Except it is not funny for the lesbians who are bullied and harrassed for their same sex attraction because they don’t “do d**k”. We are allowed to choose our sexual attraction even though so many men think it is only them who are allowed the choice. We are not bigots or transphobes for making these choices.
The situation is not funny;it is not done for laughs; and lesbians are not invalidated because some men think they are better lesbians than women. These men are sad, pathetic and need psychiatric care.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
10 months ago

Nearly a third of American millennials identify as ‘LGBT’

The actual incidence in 2019 of people in the UK population (which presumably is not so different from the US) identifying as L or G, B, or Other was 3.7%. This was across 25-34 and 35-49-year-olds, i.e. much the same demographic as that in the linked survey.
In 2014 the corresponding figure was 2.3%. So it’s up by half, and within that Other – which I guess includes trans – it has doubled.
That 8 times more than actually are LGBT identify as such suggests a significant mental health problem is building among this cohort.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jon Redman
Lizzie J
Lizzie J
10 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I always tick the ‘other’ box. I don’t know what it is but it must be a lot of fun.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
10 months ago

It’s the ‘cheap’ way into the Cool Kids Club. ‘Come out’ as genderfluid (which sounds unhygienic) or gender-nonbinary (my husband calls it gender-nonsensical) and you can call yourself trans without ever having to do or change anything.

It’s like the actresses who haven’t had a gig for a while. They ‘come out’ as bisexual, the ‘progressive’ and mainstream media get briefly excited and call them “stunning and brave”, their agents are able to get them a couple of auditions off the back of the publicity, and they continue to, very publicly, date fellas. They’re confident that nobody will ever say, “How come there’s never a girlfriend?”

It’s so shallow and meaningless.

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
10 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

I remember laughing when Billy Dee Williams announced he was genderfluid and I thought “of course you are Darling! You’re an actor, you can play anything!’

Last edited 10 months ago by Lindsay Snoman
Malvin Marombedza
Malvin Marombedza
10 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay Snoman

You don’t have to blow our lungs out you know….

Kirsten Walstedt
Kirsten Walstedt
10 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay Snoman

He didn’t! Are you joking?

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
10 months ago

The headline said he had, clearly his retraction never passed my feed. The joke was my thought on it.

Last edited 10 months ago by Lindsay Snoman
Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
10 months ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Ah yes, genderfluid- much more sinister as a noun than an adjective, surely?

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
10 months ago

So very true this. To have a bunch of entitled tourists gatecrash on the equality and acceptance lesbians and gay men struggled over decades to carve out … literally fought and suffered to achieve … just to plumb the shallows of identitarianism and victim politics until they get bored, grow up and move on is so insulting. There’s a backlash coming and I’m concerned that a distinction won’t be made between genuine lesbian and gay people who wanted none of this and the clownshow that’s attached itself to us.

Last edited 10 months ago by Derek Bryce
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
10 months ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

I think it’ll be OK Derek. The reason why equality was attained was because people fundamentally saw the logic and the reasonableness of it. Why should someone suffer discrimination because of something about themselves that they haven’t chosen, can’t change and doesn’t harm anyone?
This is a far higher quality and consistency of argument than anything that has ever emanated from the trans nutters. First of all they dismiss biology. Second they have invented gender to replace it, and make the ludicrous argument that you can become a woman by saying so. Third, they insist that if a gay woman won’t sleep with a man who says he’s a woman, that’s a choice, which she could change. This latter of course is a constructive abandonment of the best argument for gay equality, which is that it’s not a choice. And finally, they do cause harm, because they seek to ruin the lives of anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their loony fringe opinion, and they seek to reorganise even the language we speak around their minuscule minority psychosis.
So there’s really no comparison. The attack on gay equality isn’t coming from the people who originally conceded it to you on its unassailable logic. It’s coming from people who are even nuttier than Julie Bindel. The latter’s in shock because, having been the craziest person in the room for the last 30 years, she’s now encountering people who are as loony to her as she appears to everyone else.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
10 months ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Cogent summary of the absurdity.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

The culture that was generated back in the day by lesbians and gay men living with the unfeigned, not-fun threat of exposure, plus the risk blackmail and social opprobrium, is now a fun youth cosplay craze

Well, not exactly. The earlier gay and lesbian movement had its own hangers on. Political lesbians, LUGs (Lesbian Until Graduation), a whole host of women who adopted “lesbian” styles of dress, disparagement of “heteronormativity” even if you were heterosexual yourself, and a general view that being straight (average, normal, boring) was the worst thing you could be. If nothing else you could invent some hang ups or take drugs.
It’s really just nothing new. What is new is that the adults in the room, having grown up like this themselves, and thinking youth must be right, are taking this silliness seriously.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
10 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

There was much more real risk back in the day. Someone like Peter Tatchell was extremely brave (and notably did not just address gay rights issues). Quentin Crisp famously before him was also regularly attacked, although he wasn’t political of course.
Of course people also had a lot of fun and others did and said silly things. Actually the ‘movement’ became very conservative indeed as politicians latterly decided to offer us ‘marriage’, which the gay community, especially lesbians, I think with pretty good reason, had always been suspicious of.
I recall that ‘gay’ became kind of fashionable for a while; people like David Bowie toyed with bisexuality and stage flirting with Mick Ronson, but this lasted only to the point when AIDS arrived. That made the climate much more hostile and sent the fair weather supporters scuttling.

Last edited 10 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Ed Cameron
Ed Cameron
10 months ago

Jarvis Cocker has got this covered. From Further Complications:
In no great rush to join the rest of mankind
Where there were further complications
Further complications in store, yeah
I was not born in wartime
I was not born in pain or poverty
I need an addiction, I need an affliction
To cultivate a personality
I need some further complications, oh
Further complications in store, yeah…

…The enemy without has moved in somewhere else
If your parents didn’t screw you up why not do it yourself?…

Check out the whole tune on youtube, Unherd groovers.

Last edited 10 months ago by Ed Cameron
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
10 months ago

Strange how Little Britain accurately depicted the direction the LGBQT movement would go:
Dafydd from Little Britain

Rach Smith
Rach Smith
10 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

And their “we’re ladies, wearing lady things” characters dressed like Pollyanna. Whenever I feel enraged at the tantrettes and demands of cross-dressing men claiming they ARE women, I think of this…

Peter LR
Peter LR
10 months ago

Gareth, that was funny; and interesting to note that you listened well during your RE lessons! Mind you, we all had a mad fad in our youth: I had flowers in my hair – which is even more ironic as I now have no hair!

Stephen Spurdon
Stephen Spurdon
10 months ago

Well at least we are assured that paedophilia can never become ‘cool’…. oh! hang on: https://4w.pub/old-dominion-university-assistant-professor-comes-out-in-support-of-destigmatizing-pedophilia/

Kirsten Walstedt
Kirsten Walstedt
10 months ago

Not gonna happen

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
10 months ago

You think so. There was a period in the 70s when it was arguably more public acceptable than homosexuality. In fact a number of public figures on the left, including labour politicians, later got in to trouble fore there support of an organization called PIE (the paedophile information exchange to save you looking it up)

Lindsay Snoman
Lindsay Snoman
10 months ago

They’ve rebranded to MAPs (Minor Attracted People) and they want to be added to the LGBQTetc, they have been kicked off Tumblr and have moved camp to Twitter. There are those who believe that the Trans lobby is being funded by the MAPs, although I don’t know if there is any truth to it.

Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
10 months ago

Fourth paragraph: “You can’t identify out” of whatever you are, seems to only make commonsense. I’m sick of calling them the “LGBTQ” and another letter. As a year ago I began to refer to them as the alphabet group.

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
10 months ago

Never heard of cosplay. Is it a word?

Martin Akiyama
Martin Akiyama
10 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

It means fancy dress. It’s Japanese English, from “costume play”. It’s associated with people dressing up as fantasy characters at comic book conventions.

Jill Mans
Jill Mans
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Akiyama

Thank you for that! I thought perhaps it was a pop group..

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
10 months ago

Not only ‘cosplay’ but also ‘larping’ perhaps?

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
10 months ago

Why not just come completely out of the closet? Admit one likes to play dress-up a lot? Join only the biggest tent — World Cosplay — so correctly identified here! No need to identify with any other actual practices, to self-limit by self-labeling, and certainly no need to cut off one’s bits on a whim. After all, just because people choose the same costume it does not follow that that they have the same reason for choosing that image. What they do have in common is the spirit of play. Keep it playful. Guising, mummery etc have ancient human traditions — a safety valve for dedicated occasions, not a way of life. There’s too much frowsting at home in front of a glowing screen — people want to get out, come together, play with their images in the company of others. Media’s creepy concern shouldn’t influence them to believing off-the-rack alt-images have much to do with their real individual selves. A holiday is fun exactly because it is a holiday — not self-sentencing of unlimited duration.

Last edited 10 months ago by Liz Walsh
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
10 months ago

“Being LGBT has become cosplay for millennials”
What did you think would happen?

Penny Mcwilliams
Penny Mcwilliams
10 months ago

Since when has being naff been a crime? This gets perilously close to the kind of exclusion that the author purports to be opposing – can’t just be LGBT, one has to be exactly the right kind of LGBT or you won’t be allowed in. Late adopters and converts not allowed.
Pointless bitching. to my mind