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weathered fair

Hey, anybody ever feel like the LGBT movement is more like the GGGG movement?

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weathered fair

Your experiences may be different from mine, and feel free to share them if they are, but I noticed that when it comes to serious media representation of gay right's issues, things almost always seem to be framed in reference to white, middle-class gay dudes.

Even activists seem to fall into this pattern. If an activist wants to give an example of why not being straight is okay, they'll almost always start of their examples with, "If a man wants to marry a man...If two guys want to get it on, then that's alright with me..."

As if that were the only possible scenario that could play out...

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InfiniteConciousness

Yes I do feel that the L ,B and T parts are not given as much visibility. I have no problem with gay men at all but I get the feeling that it does seem quite heavily focussed on what is a part of the whole. Its like having four children and mainly focusing on the development and progression of one more then the other 3.

I understand that there might not be as much visibility on the transgender side of things since there are not as many transgender people about. I am one myself and can see that its going to be obvious that TG visibility will usually be not as hagh as the other 3 parts.

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Harkins

Now that you bring this up it reminds me a discussion that I had with one of my friends.

First, he does fit the label of young, white, middle-class, gay male down to a T. I'm not sure if there's just a coincidence with that, and I don't assume every gay guy espouses these same beliefs, but he did make stuff sound like all that mattered in the LGTB(etc,etc,etc.) was the G.

I usually try and avoid discussions about orientation, because it would involve a lot of me shuffling my feet and pretending to understand the issues he goes through, but it still came up all the same. He was dead set in his mind that bisexuals were either gay people who still wanted to make mommy and daddy proud, or that they were straight people who liked looking "open-minded" to their actual queer friends. He then said the lesbians didn't have to deal with the same issues that he did as a gay male, because he defended that the average conservative, Republican politician secretly loved the idea of two women getting it on. He then concluded the discussion by calling trans people "homosexuals who go to extreme lengths to justify their feelings."

I know once again he doesn't make up the majority by any means, but the fact that there is at least one person out there who believes this makes me feel concerned that more people could believe something similar.

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shikixoxo

I understand completely what you mean. Sometimes it seems as if the gay part of it is all that matters. Perhaps that's because it's called "gay marriage" and not "lesbian marriage." Of course the 'gay' part in gay marriage encompasses anyone who wishes to marry someone of the same sex, gay is more commonly associated with the male than the female. And some people do think that women are not looked down upon as much as guys are. Plenty of porn for guys to watch thats girl on girl almost like a pastime, but as soon as you throw two guys in there, it's the most disgusting and "unamerican" thing you've ever witnessed.

Double standards out there really blow, but there isn't much you can do about how other people see and perceive something. Futility can truly be annoying.

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Anon10

I couldn't agree more and thought I was alone in this. I can't really articulate my thoughts well enough, but I definately feel that this is the case. It irritates me I must say -_-

I believe gay women have a harder time than gay men but that's another issue.

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CameronWM

I completely agree. Everyone except gay men are completely invisible. This is especially true for the T part. It sickens me. It doesn't helps that when people refer to queer rights, they say 'gay rights', or the fact that people still say 'gay marriage' when it should be 'same-sex' (I argue 'same-gender') marriage.

As a side-effect, the queer (LGBT) community has also become very sexualized. When I identified as gay I was expected to love sex and lots of it and I was uncomfortable. Now that I identify as asexual, it's like I am completely invisible and feel I have no place in the queer community although I do still call myself queer.

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Olivier

Yes, that's true, and not new either. I actually think the LGBT movement should take advantage of the fact that homophobes are more likely to "Ewww" about the G than the L or B by presenting a more balanced image, rather than letting their focus be dictated by the obsession with manlove that opponents have. A more realistic image of queer diversity would also be good for transpeople.

One small quibble, Sean (I agree with the rest of your post)

It doesn't helps that when people refer to queer rights, they say 'gay rights', or the fact that people still say 'gay marriage' when it should be 'same-sex' (I argue 'same-gender') marriage.

It's definitely same-sex marriage that's the issue. Two people of the same gender can get married right now, as long as one is a pre-transition transperson (but not both - that would be wrong :o [/sarcasm]). Marriage bans aren't about gender, they're about making sure that a married couple has exactly one penis and one vagina. Those bans in fact are used right now to ban marriage for binary pre-transition transpeople with opposite-but-cis-gendered partners. Go get surgery to fix the genital counting problem, and you're good to go. It's ridiculous. And for people outside the binary it's the same deal: who cares about gender, just count the genitals. :evil:

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CameronWM
It's definitely same-sex marriage that's the issue. Two people of the same gender can get married right now, as long as one is a pre-transition transperson (but not both - that would be wrong :o [/sarcasm]). Marriage bans aren't about gender, they're about making sure that a married couple has exactly one penis and one vagina. Those bans in fact are used right now to ban marriage for binary pre-transition transpeople with opposite-but-cis-gendered partners. Go get surgery to fix the genital counting problem, and you're good to go. It's ridiculous. And for people outside the binary it's the same deal: who cares about gender, just count the genitals. :evil:

Point taken. How silly of me!

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Gottkomplex

This is entirely true.

When you ask most people if they know about the LGBT organization and movement, they'll reply with something about gay individuals. Lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people are generally left out.

My experiences are the same as yours.

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Siggy

YES.

Oh, and for any asexuals who ever want to try entering an LGBT community, the first thing you should do is look at their attitudes towards trans people, bi people, queer people of color. If the attitudes are negative, well, you can either fight for improvement, or simply look elsewhere.

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outofeden

Ugh I hate it when people don't recognize the existence of bisexuals. It's just so dumb. How could they not see that some people are bisexual? Just from being alive and talking to people, I know several people who honestly find both sexes attractive. It's just so ridiculous that people still think all the bisexuals are lying.

And yes, there is more focus on the G. Maybe because men think lesbians are sexy, and people either don't believe in bisexuals or think they'll eventually settle down with a proper opposite-sex partner? I make generalizations...

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cthuvianace

The focus is so much on the G part. At pride parades, etc. what do you always see and overwhelming amount of focus put on?

Gay men. I think it's largely because they are the group that has had the most difficult societally, but still, the others ought to have equal visibility and support. You never really hear anything related bisexuality from the LGBT, and equally rarely hear much about transgendered rights. All you really hear from the LGBT is gay men, and sometimes a bit about lesbians.

The LGBT, while doing very good work, is a bit of a mess. That's why I don't think we need to push for asexuality to be included in the LGBT Alphabet Soup. It wouldn't really give us any added visibility, and it would continue doing what's been done to our community for years - sweeping us out of sight under the rug.

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A Long Time Ago

I have often seen LGBT really be GGGGLBT and really white but not so much on my college campus for some reason (I should note that I have only been in the community since last September so I don't have that much experience yet). There are many reasons I know and others I suspect that explain it. The T doesn't get seen much even though trans* people face some of the worst discrimination of the letters. This is because trans* people often appear in the LGBT community and then disappear a few years later if they have changed the way they live enough to ease their dysphoria if they have it and many of those who don't have dysphoria never enter the community. This, in addition to less people being trans than LGB is why T is less represented. Bisexuality is often just erased in that people consider bisexual people either gay/lesbian or straight depending on what suits them and many bisexuals are more interested in one gender than another so I would guess that some just give up on saying they are bisexual and just say straight or lesbian/gay. When most opponents to LGBT rights spout off, they are almost always just spouting off about how they think that sex between two men is wrong or unnatural or dirty or etc. They do give lesbians some attention but often less and they usually just consider bisexuals to be gay/lesbian. Given that a lot of the anti-LGBT rhetoric is focused at gay men (and bisexual men since they usually lump the two together), my guess is that gay men have had to fight back a lot harder due to being the bigger target. Another factor may be the the privilege men have compared to women but I haven't been in it long enough to answer that very well but I would be surprised if it was not a factor. The difference in privilege is almost surely why LGBT activism is so white.

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Antares

Yeah, I would say there's definitely an aspect of privilege differentials; men vs. women, white vs. nonwhite, cis vs. trans - and it all culminates in the movement being very male, very white, and very cis.

And I am by no means arguing that this is a good thing, BUT... consider the implications of a legitimately unified movement for equal rights. If it's hard for people to stomach cis white dudes kissing, how will lesbians and bisexuals and trans folks and so on and so forth be received?

It's an unfortunate situation to be sure, but it may also be one that will allow for a gradual progression of acceptance, whereas doing it all at once might not get the ball rolling at all.

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winchester124

As a side-effect, the queer (LGBT) community has also become very sexualized. When I identified as gay I was expected to love sex and lots of it and I was uncomfortable. Now that I identify as asexual, it's like I am completely invisible and feel I have no place in the queer community although I do still call myself queer.

I have the exact same feeling. It feels like so much of the LGBT community is very sexual, and I'm just not interested in that. And as a result, I've always felt kind of like an outcast in the community. Which is frustrating, because I identify as an asexual lesbian, I guess, and would like a relationship, but sex is so not the important part of it for me.

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Antares

As a side-effect, the queer (LGBT) community has also become very sexualized. When I identified as gay I was expected to love sex and lots of it and I was uncomfortable. Now that I identify as asexual, it's like I am completely invisible and feel I have no place in the queer community although I do still call myself queer.

I have the exact same feeling. It feels like so much of the LGBT community is very sexual, and I'm just not interested in that. And as a result, I've always felt kind of like an outcast in the community. Which is frustrating, because I identify as an asexual lesbian, I guess, and would like a relationship, but sex is so not the important part of it for me.

Yeah, that's the unfortunate downside of vocal minorities - we're represented more by the people who stand up and yell about their sexuality/sex lives, who put it out there, than by people who... don't. Nothin' wrong with either behavior, but it does result in less visibility for asexuals - or even sexuals who are less sexually active.

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Acanthus

I feel that, generally speaking, of the majorities that exist within the minority group (the G, the L, and the B), homosexual and bisexual males that are in male-male relationships have had to deal with the greatest amount of outright revulsion from society. Women were (and, I think, still are) seen as inherently nonsexual and only express sexuality how and when men desire it, so lesbianism and female bisexuality were seen as unnatural and inventions of the sexual male mind for its own gratification. Furthermore, for some, sex between two females couldn't exist, as there was no penetration, so even if two women were caught in a romantic or sexual situation, it wasn't treated with the same amount of shame or met with the same punishments as male homosexuality. Bisexuality was/is invisible for the most part, as bisexual persons are usually considered straight or gay depending on their current partner instead of what they self-identify, so many bisexual men found heterosexual relationships so that they could be normalized and not worry about how society would react to their sexuality. However, homosexual and bisexual men who were in or wanted to be in relationships with men did not have the same opportunity to be normalized and were seen as sexual beings that were willfully feminizing themselves and becoming sexual deviants. As a result, homosexual and bisexual males that recognized this became more adamant and vocal about their pride to counter the idea that they should feel ashamed about their feelings, and that their romantic and sexual attractions were inherently wrong. With this in mind, I understand why the movement became more homosexual and, to a lesser extent, bisexual male-centric.

However, while I think that it is understandable, I also think that the GLBTQQAIPP community should give more visibility and attention to all of the letters outside of the "G". While many activists know the importance of the other letters and queer rights, I feel that the message is often simplified for public consumption- everyone knows about homosexual males, so it is easier to educate masses on homosexual rights instead of, say, rights for agender intersexed individuals, as it would require a crash course in queer theory, gender theory, and, quite frankly, an overhaul in the way most of the West conceives of gender. But I feel that making queer and gender theory public is part of being an activist, and that this simplification only contributes to heteronormativity and perpetuates a phallocentric and ciscentric view of all sexualities, gender identities, and gender expressions.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while it is understandable that the GLBTQQAIPP movement was strongly male/male-centric in the beginning, it doesn't have to stay that way. The reason that the movement became male-centric (aside from male privilege in and of itself) was because homosexual males felt the need to be the most vocal about their identity. If your letter(s) is/are underrepresented, educate the community, your allies, and strangers. Underrepresented individuals representing themselves is the only way to make the community more inclusive.

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A Long Time Ago

Acanthus, you explained it very well.

As a side-effect, the queer (LGBT) community has also become very sexualized. When I identified as gay I was expected to love sex and lots of it and I was uncomfortable. Now that I identify as asexual, it's like I am completely invisible and feel I have no place in the queer community although I do still call myself queer.

I have the exact same feeling. It feels like so much of the LGBT community is very sexual, and I'm just not interested in that. And as a result, I've always felt kind of like an outcast in the community. Which is frustrating, because I identify as an asexual lesbian, I guess, and would like a relationship, but sex is so not the important part of it for me.

Yeah, that's the unfortunate downside of vocal minorities - we're represented more by the people who stand up and yell about their sexuality/sex lives, who put it out there, than by people who... don't. Nothin' wrong with either behavior, but it does result in less visibility for asexuals - or even sexuals who are less sexually active.

Very true. I feel a bit unusual in the community due to not being that interested in sex (I'm grey-A or grey-sexual) too. Luckily, I haven't run into anybody dismissive of this yet and have found quite a few people who say that asexuality and grey-A's need more visibility.

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phlegethon

Yes. Thank you!

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weathered fair

I've been afk for a reaaaaalllly long time, but I just wanted to say I appreciate everyone stopping to share their opinions.

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merkat82

As a side-effect, the queer (LGBT) community has also become very sexualized. When I identified as gay I was expected to love sex and lots of it and I was uncomfortable. Now that I identify as asexual, it's like I am completely invisible and feel I have no place in the queer community although I do still call myself queer.

I have the exact same feeling. It feels like so much of the LGBT community is very sexual, and I'm just not interested in that. And as a result, I've always felt kind of like an outcast in the community. Which is frustrating, because I identify as an asexual lesbian, I guess, and would like a relationship, but sex is so not the important part of it for me.

I have noticed this too with a few different LGBT groups I tried to be part of - they are absolutely defined by sex, by having safe sex, by who they are having sex with. They were no place for any asexual and I was often viewed by them as a threat or an alien. In fact, I'm currently living on a college campus (but not a student) for research and they have a "sexual diversity" office whose motto is "I HAVE SEX!" and they do not at all acknowledge people not having sex and being part of this sexual diversity of this campus. I've been tempted to email them, but I leave here in less than a month anyway and the office isn't available to me since I'm not a student.

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weathered fair

Email them. Do it. Go all educational on their butts.

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Nathan Blair

I sometimes get the feeling it's the homosexual community, for both females and males. The mere fact that there's a letter for each of them annoys me, actually.

Of course, the male homosexuals get even more attention because... that's how it works in here, I guess.

I'm not really talking about the movement, but rather people's attention. People don't seem to internalise that some people may be attracted both to men and to women, and if someone is attracted to one gender they immediately think they're not attracted to the other.

The trans don't get that much attention either, not to mention the genderqueers, who are rarely mentioned at all.

P.S.

'Genderqueer' is not even a word in Microsoft Word.

Yes I do feel that the L ,B and T parts are not given as much visibility. I have no problem with gay men at all but I get the feeling that it does seem quite heavily focussed on what is a part of the whole. Its like having four children and mainly focusing on the development and progression of one more then the other 3.

I understand that there might not be as much visibility on the transgender side of things since there are not as many transgender people about. I am one myself and can see that its going to be obvious that TG visibility will usually be not as hagh as the other 3 parts.

Bysexuals and pansexuals don't get that much attention, though they do get more than TG.

Genderqueers barely get attention, too.

I couldn't agree more and thought I was alone in this. I can't really articulate my thoughts well enough, but I definately feel that this is the case. It irritates me I must say -_-

I believe gay women have a harder time than gay men but that's another issue.

I disagree, actaully. People laugh more at male homosexuals :/

BTW - 'gay' actually means all the queers, but because male-homosexuals get so much attention, it usually infer only to them.

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ily

Yeah, I've felt this. Same with the emphasis, on white, upper-class, more "normative" gay people.

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Guest member25959

I haven't really noticed :blink:

(Not sure why this is in Q&A)

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Anji.

Totally agree. A lot of the coverage is about middle-class Whitey Gay and it is very annoying, since the result of this is that important issues for Gay Men of Colour, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transfolk, Asexusals, and anyone else who considers themselves part of the 'queer' minority are ignored. All it takes is some white and male privilege, it would seem...

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LadyAmandaJane

I feel like there are probably a few factors as to it seems the Gay male rights seem to have more visibility than gender and sexual minorities.

I think that first it really is a matter of privilege. Upper middle class white cisgender straight men are going to generally going to more influence (money) to convince people that the issues that affect them are important, than say at risk young trans women of color might have. Issues like marriage and adoption tend to receive more attention, even though one might be able to argue that they are probably less pressing to the people that they effect, than say the issues of employment and violence are to young queer people.

Also groups, that their primary issues that they face around marriage, adoption, etc., tend to have more people among them that gender conforming. And although this in and of itself is not a bad thing, it does mean that the main stream culture (and other people with money) and going to be more sympathetic to their issues.

Another big issue is how the queer community tends to isolate itself, not only from the community at large, but also from within itself. A big part of it is how the community is labeled. By saying LGBT, you not only isolate other gender and sexual (or nonsexual) minorities, but also it acts as a way to isolate each part from itself. And adding more letters does usually does not have the effect of including more people, but usually just adding invisibility. By adding letters to create, LGBTQQAAIOPPKNN (oh and I know I am missing some), only serves to add to more confusion and misunderstanding, because most groups that even only go to LGBTQAAI, do not understand the full meaning of what each label is suppose to represent. And by presenting a string of labels (no matter now long) you are saying that someone must choose a label. This sort internal isolation with in the community itself allows people separate which issues and demographic they choose to support or discriminate against.

Instead of a string of labels that isolates groups, what would be more helpful is a movement focusing on the ending discrimination and fighting for inclusion for those who are not heteronormative or binarynormative. By focusing more on the idea that not everyone has to fit into the genderbinary is a term thrown around a lot in queer theory stuff, but simply the idea that people are either assigned male at birth and identify as male and are masculine and sexuality attracted to women, OR are assigned female at birth and identify as female and are feminine and sexuality attracted to men. Most people who some how find themselves outside of this genderbinary are usually targeted against people who fall into this binary. And although it is true that different people will be targeted in different ways by this (a cisgender gay man vs. a transgender straight woman), by striving to end the idea that people must fall into this binary will help bring not only tolerance, but also true acceptances and support.

But this is where some people misinterpret this as a way to bring about new exclusion, but in the almost the opposite direction that tends to undermine the idea of acceptances. So often do I hear people spout about "ending the gender binary" in a way of saying that no one should operate in that system. And although it is very important we end the idea that binary brings that "Male" and "Female" have mutually exclusive characteristics and you must be in one or the other, it is also unfair to target those who are comfortable in identities that happen to fall into those categories. This targeting of people who are sexual and gender conforming, tends to create another dichotomy of people who fall into the binary and those who don't. This leads some people within the "queer and trans" community to target those who do not activity subvert the gender binary. I believe that this started simply with the intent to give people a safe space to exist outside of the genderbinary, but it has turned into a way to exclude and target those who fall into the gender binary. And this has the affect of making people who fall into the binary feel targeted and excluded and less likely to support those who fall outside of the gender binary. It is very important to remember that those who are identified as heterosexual gender conforming cisgender people, are as valid as those who do not.

This isolation makes it easy for more upper middle class gender conforming gay men to be more accepted by a lot of main stream culture. Because they are not seen as isolating and attacking those who fall more into the binary. I have so many straight cisgender friends who say that they feel isolated from the queer community, and feel like it is hard to support and fight for them, because they feel like they get judged for being straight. And although they know that the exclusion they feel is probably not as bad as the discrimination that a lot of queer people feel, it is hard for them to fight hard for a community that they feel isolated from.

And I recently have been feeling friction from the community that I for so long was very active in when I started exploring the more asexual end of my identity. The queer and trans community has become a very sex positive community (which is wonderful) as many queer and trans people have felt pressure to hide their sexuality. But this turns into an experience that can be very awkward when you are starting to rethink you sexuality (or lack there of). When I first started to realize that I personally do not experience any initial or primary sexual attraction for anyone, that was a big deal for me. And frankly I was really excited, because for the first time I was making sense of things that for the longest time I was just trying to ignore. But when I was in queer and trans scenes talking about the differences between sexual and romantic attractions, and that how I more strongly feel romantic attraction for people, no primary sexual attraction, and possibly secondary sexual attraction after I develop romantic attraction, but even that is rare. And while talking about this with people, the reactions I received were not as positive as I expected. The first reaction I received was that of being sexually repressed, and that sex is a need that everyone must have, and that asexual people don't have sex at all, and because being queer is about sexual attraction that asexuality and nonsexuals do not have a place in the queer community. Also, I had people (both queer and not queer) insisting that what I was feeling was "normal" and trying to convince me not to identify as asexual. Luckily, I had other friends who did more understand that asexuality is targeted by people who seek to strictly enforce the genderbinary as those who do not. Ironically, those who seemed to grasp that concept the most were my friends who are cisgender and straight. I think this was mainly because the way that they are targeted by the genderbinary is also often overlooked. In fact, those who are straight and cisgender people receive a lot of presser to conform even more to stereotypical gender expressions and norms. Like it is one thing for a gay man to be more feminine and wear makeup, shave his legs, or wear dresses even, but if a straight man even talks in a higher pitch voice, or gets his nails done, he is much more harshly judged for it.

The key point is to start realizing that a gender binary system negativity affects most people in some ways. And while it is important to focus on the symptoms of that system of oppression, what is more important is abolishing the gender binary system, by showing and recognizing all the various ways that it affects all people. And not by attacking those who seem to fall within it, but by recognizing the validity of all the different genders and sexualities (or lack there of sexualities) people have in and outside of the gender binary system.

PS: This turned out to be more long winded than I expected. Sometimes I just get carried away when talking about certain topics.

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CameronWM

That was a good read, LadyAmandaJane. I may have some of my friends read that.

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Blunderbuss

It's true in some way, gay people simply make the most noise :P

And yes, bisexual people are often left out.

[additional silliness, don't take this seriously ;)]:

But dammit look at this: "No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I'm on the right track baby I was born to surivive."

And where's ace? There would be even a space for it instead of life. But what the hell, Lady Gaga would have had to think more what rhymes with

ace and that was too much for her xDDD It would have just taken I have found the right place or some sh** like that, man!

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CameronWM

And where's ace? There would be even a space for it instead of life. But what the hell, Lady Gaga would have had to think more what rhymes with

ace and that was too much for her xDDD It would have just taken I have found the right place or some sh** like that, man!

Ehh. It is just a song. She got her point across. But how amusing would it be if one of her monsters said "It's not right because Mother Monster didn't sing about it!"? XD

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