From YouTuber and makeup artist Jeffree Star’s racist comments to last year’s Suicide Forest scandal, it seems that YouTubers never fail to seep into the headlines for their problematic behavior. This time, Logan Paul becomes repeat offender as he claims to “go gay just for one month” in the spirit of “male-only March,” and of course, the controversial comment has received backlash. GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) responded to Paul, tweeting, “That’s not how it works,” but the YouTuber’s response is far from atoning and is more along the lines of a tone-deaf publicity stunt.
His fans, eye-rollingly called the “Logangsters,” were quick to come to his defense, telling those who criticize Paul to simply ignore the vlogger’s crude and insensitive humor instead of tearing him to shreds. But ignorance is not a solution; real-world problems are not satisfied by the childhood fantasies of “if I don’t see it, it’s not true.” Climate change doesn’t stop just because representatives lie to their constituents about its existence, and homophobia doesn’t zap out of existence because we turn the other cheek in the face of such bigotry.
And although Paul’s remarks might lack the usual signs of LGBTQ discrimination, those derogatory remarks of being a “faggot” or the “moral righteousness” religion apparently champions, it still condones the mentality that the LGBTQ community is lesser than, regarded facetiously and diminished to a joke rather than being treated with respect — all in the name of podcast viewership. We can try to deflect the blame onto the offended and the “hypersensitivities” of contemporary society, but is asking to be treated as a human being really too much to ask?
America tries to be some beacon for progress, yet the biting irony is that the nation in and of itself is our most daunting obstacle. Each step forward in technology, whether it be artificial intelligence or 3-D printing, seems to be two steps back in social reform: the rise of the alt-right, Trump’s controversial family separation policy, and now the tired ideology that homosexuality is a choice. As if thousands of Americans chose to be some walking punching bag for homophobic jeers and kicks.
The hardest pill to swallow, however, comes from the fact that we do, in fact, choose to live in a morally-bankrupt political climate such as the current. Americans voted and selected a president, a so-called role model, who wants to deny protections for transgender people and is completely devoid of consideration for others, along with their daily struggles like gender dysmorphia and other mental illnesses. Thus, Paul probably saw no fault in creating a flippant holiday where being “gay” had an expiry date and not the lifetime consequences of family disownment, workplace discrimination, and traumatic childhood abuse; after all, if the president supports such anti-LGBTQ sentiment, there’s an implicit precedent established that justifies the same actions from everyday people like Paul.
We all have those decisions we regret, those times when we say the wrong thing in the heat of the moment before begging for some shred of forgiveness. For Logan Paul though, those moments seem to be incessant and without apology, and it’s trend that must be stopped in its tracks before it takes its toll on the minds of the next generation.