The gossip blogger told his podcast audience that he wouldn't let his son take dance classes, because he didn't want his son to be gay.
Marilyn Drew Necci | April 4, 2018
Perez Hilton recently commented on his podcast that he wouldn’t enroll his son in dance classes, because he doesn’t want his son to be gay. “50 per cent or more of little boys who take dance class end up being gay,” Hilton said.
Now, this is the same Perez Hilton who told The Advocate way back in 2009 that he had always been gay. ”There was no confusion, no dating girls,” he told Advocate writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis. “I know I was born gay.” He still feels that way now, as he stated in a video he posted on his website Sunday, in which he attempted to “clarify and elaborate” on his comments in the podcast.
This makes his beliefs about how dance class will affect his son’s sexuality not only incoherent but homophobic as well — the idea that environments in which men do things not traditionally considered masculine will lead those men to be gay is pretty much the textbook definition of homophobia. However, Hilton didn’t see it that way.
“I don’t think that’s a homophobic thing to say!” he said in the video he posted Sunday. “Just like I don’t think it’s a homophobic thing to say that a disproportionate amount of male singers, actors, dancers on Broadway are gay. There are more gay men drawn to that profession. That’s not homophobic, that’s just a fact.”
However, even if that is a fact and not just a cultural stereotype (“Citation needed,” as Wikipedia would say), it still doesn’t explain his issues with enrolling his son in dance class. If he believes that people are born gay, that being gay is not a choice, it therefore follows that his son either is or isn’t gay, and being in dance class isn’t going to make a difference one way or the other.
If his son is gay, and everything else Hilton said about dance classes is true, the worst that will happen is that his son might meet other people he can understand and relate to — which would certainly be a good and helpful thing. If his son isn’t gay, and again, everything else Hilton said about dance classes is true (the jury’s definitely still out on that one), the worst that will happen is that his son will have a lot of gay friends as a child, which will therefore make him less likely to grow up hating and fearing gay people. Again, a good and helpful thing.
The problem, at the root of everything Hilton has said about this issue, is his statement, as can be seen in the video, that “if I had my preference, I would prefer my son to be a heterosexual.” Hilton justifies this point by stating, “Being a gay man, or a gay woman, or a trans man or a trans woman, in America and around the world, is still a harder road to travel on. We are still discriminated against.”
He’s not wrong, and reading GayRVA on any given day will prove that. The problem in Hilton’s logic here is that he just accepts this as an eternal, unchanging fact. He figures that if his son is gay, his son will have a harder path in life. Therefore, he hopes his son isn’t gay.
In feeling this way and stating it publicly, he buys into and perpetuates the homophobia of our surrounding culture. Despite being a gay man, he engages in homophobic thought processes, seemingly because in our homophobic culture, doing so is the path of least resistance.
But this is not a good way to make a better life for his children, whether they’re gay or not. Instead, we as LGBTQ people need to be working to make the world a better place for our children to grow up in. From political activities like those of the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Virginia, and street-level activist groups everywhere, to helping create positive representation of LGBTQ people in politics, the media, and in daily life, there are quite a few things we can all do to help ensure that our children grow up in a less homophobic world than the one we grew up in.
In fact, by being an openly gay gossip columnist, Perez Hilton is helping create that positive representation, even despite the fact that his public career in media has been, suffice to say, problematic at times. But when he turns around and tells everyone that he doesn’t want his children to be gay, he’s undermining a lot of that helpful work.
What Perez Hilton needs to do is ask himself: do you want to be part of the problem, or part of the solution? The answer, from our perspective, should be obvious. Hopefully the backlash he’s received in the wake of these statements will help him figure it out.