What a week it’s been for American Idol’s La’Porsha Renae!
She was the runner-up for the last season of the show and signed a record deal with Motown. She is definitely shining. But it’s her most recent comments about the LGBT community that may turn off current and potential fans.
When a writer for the MJS Big Blog asked about the recent religious freedom/anti LGBT bill that passed in her home state of Mississippi, Renae claimed she hadn’t heard of them, but believes that LGBT folks were human beings and had feelings, but doesn’t “agree with their lifestyle.”
“They are people just like us…They’re people with feelings. Although all of us may not agree with that particular lifestyle for religious reasons–whatever the reason is. You still treat each other with respect. Everybody is a human being. We should be able to coexist with one another. I am one of the people who don’t really agree with that lifestyle. I wasn’t brought up that way, it wasn’t how I was raised. But I do have a lot of friends and a lot of people that I love dearly who are gay and homosexual and they’re such sweet, nice people. We should just respect each other’s differences and opinions and move on,” she said.
Renae later confirmed with this tweet:
While these statements aren’t overwhelmingly hostile, referring to someone being LGBT as a “lifestyle” is still pretty problematic. Liking Coke over Pepsi is a preference, being LGBT is an orientation that for many say they were “born” with, in the same way that straight folks are VERY clear, we were born this way. So in that, her comments are a bit disappointing.
And folks were quick to let her know:
But it’s also the naivety about what this 22-year-old is saying that gets under my skin so much. How realistic is it to truly respect someone if you believe that there is something essentially wrong with them? How can you look at me as a Black woman and say “I don’t like what you represent” and then still offer me that job or an apartment? How can you care about and show empathy for my relationships, experiences and hardships if you weren’t raised to accept me?
You just can’t or you won’t.
Even these religious freedom laws claim to want to respect people, but then legally deny certain people wedding cakea, social services, jobs, etc. According to NBC News, the recently signed bill “Protecting Freedom of Conscience From Government Discrimination Act” in Miss. allows for businesses, social workers and public employees to legally deny services of they believe that marriage is between a man and a woman or that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” The bill also allows for people to discriminate against transgender individuals if they believe that “gender is determined at birth.”
So if you a homeless LGBT teen and want to apply for state aid, a government employee can turn you away if they don’t agree with your “lifestyle.” How exactly is that respect? Even better: How is that fair and righteous?
No, Renae is not responsible for that, but one can argue that her way of thinking, even though her version seems a lot “nicer” than most, is still part of a larger cycle of intolerance. In the end, people can express however they feel about these issues, but then Renae and others who share these similar philosophies better be prepared to deal with the wrath of those who vehemently disagree with them.
Live and let live, huh?
SOUND OFF: What do you think? Can you really respect someone if you don’t agree with who they are? Is it that all just a smokescreen to make one’s intolerance appear nicer?