The Incredible Shrinking Phallus


Meditations on privilege

BREAKING NEWS: Lady Gaga’s genitals are not our business!!!

The blog Queers United reports:

Pop star sensation Lady Gaga surprised her millions of fans by parading on stage without an underwear showing that she is intersex and has male and female genitalia. This has not yet been confirmed, but the video is certainly interesting.

There’s then an unsourced quote attributed to Lady Gaga where she says that she has both female and male genitalia and IDs as female, and below that a YouTube video of the performance in question, which I will NOT be embedding. I watched the video because I thought that she took off all her clothes and said something like “I am proud to be an intersex woman.” That is not what happened. Rather, she was sitting on a motorcycle and her dress started riding up. She tried pulling it down, then climbed off it (with the motorcycle between her and the audience) and gave her dress a quick tug, all while continuing her stage patter.

Everything about the post I linked to above is hugely problematic. First, Lady Gaga was not coming out as intersex. She was going through her day-to-day life as a performer, doing her job and looking the way people expect her to look. She wasn’t “parading” around without underwear. She was wearing a very tight dress that might have shown panty lines. And if it had, that’s what people would be talking about right now because, really, how tacky, doesn’t she know better, no one wants to see that, get a clue.

What did happen is that Lady Gaga opted not to wear underwear and when getting off of a motorcycle resulted in a quick flash, it suddenly became okay for footage of her genitals to be circulated, presumably without her consent under titles like “Lady Gaga has a penis? Lady Gaga is a man?”, “Proof!! LADY GAGA is a MAN!”, or “Breaking news: Lady GaGa is actually a MAN!” and marked with pop-ups encouraging us to view “some of the funniest drunken shamings” on the internet. That’s not coming out. That’s exploitation, predicated on the belief that women’s and genitals that are “abnormal” or unexpected in any way are public property.

If she is intersex and chooses to come out as such, that would be great. If was assigned female at birth and chooses to come out as a woman with a large labia, awesome. If she was assigned male at birth and wants to share that with us, more power to her. But it was never the public’s business and it is shameful that footage of her crotch is the way she’s going to come out.

Psst: if you read the LJ group Intersexed and saw a very similar comment there, that was me, I promise.
EDIT: Thanks to Lisa at Questioning Transphobia for cross-posting for me!


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