In Defense of Adam Lambert

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My publisher Norm Kent published an editorial  today blasting Adam Lambert and GLAAD for giving him an award. I disagree with the piece – and him – wholeheartedly.

Kent attempted to make the case that Lambert hasn’t done anything for the gay community in his short few years on the public stage. But what my publisher obviously failed to realize is just how much Adam Lambert has been doing for the gay community.

He’s the first mainstream pop artist to come out at the beginning of their career. Look how long it took celebrities like Elton John or George Michael to come out?

Lambert was out and proud before he ever released a single or album proving that being gay isn’t detriment to one’s career. He embraced his sexuality from the start never shying away from it, which included kissing a man on stage. And when he released that album he became the first out LGBT artist to reach number one on the Billboard 200.

I don’t like sports, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the newsworthiness of a story involving a gay athlete. And it wouldn’t make me puke to put them on the cover.

Who I am to judge what someone else is interested in? My publisher likes baseball. I don’t. But that doesn’t give me the right to tell him he shouldn’t care about something he loves.

Lambert recently appeared on the Chinese version of The Voice, singing to a television audience of 400 million people. Let me rephrase that, an openly gay man appeared on a communist country’s television show singing to 400 million people. No matter how you look at it, that is significant.

So Adam Lambert isn’t just making a difference in America, he’s making a difference all over the world. He recently performed in Russia, a country that may ban foreign gay couples from adopting children; that is trying to ban ‘homosexual propaganda;’ and last year Moscow banned Pride marches in the city for the next 100 years. Yet Lambert performed there giving young LGBT people in Russia hope and a role model to look up to.

Earlier this year he also performed in Ukraine as the lead singer for Queen. The Eastern European country also has problems with its gay community, and just this month an LGBT advocacy group told the European parliament to suspend visa agreement with them until it fulfills its commitments on gay rights. Two bills currently moving through their parliament include a ban on the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ which if adopted would seriously undermine the freedom of expression of LGBT people and a bill that would criminalize ‘propaganda of same-sex relationship’ and be punishable by imprisonment.

Lambert could just as easily stay away from these countries, but instead takes his music and sexual orientation to them, showing the normalcy of being gay.

Just as Lambert said in our interview: “One of the thing that drives me the most is when I was younger I didn’t really have a lot of gay role models who were proud and gay and open and were who they were. If I can help a young person feel more comfortable in their own skin or be the person they want to be it’s fucking awesome.”

And then there’s his charity work. In May he’ll be traveling to Vienna to perform at Europe’s largest HIV fundraiser, Life Ball. In 2011 for his 29th birthday Lambert set a fundraising record for charity: Water, which brings safe drinking water into developing nations. He raised more than $320,000. His starting goal was a measly $29,000, proving the power of his celebrity status. These few items only scratch the surface.

It’s important for celebrities to be out and proud and GLAAD recognizes that, and that’s why it gives awards to celebrities.

Now I won’t apologize for my publisher’s opinion, as some suggested I do, because he has a right to express it, just as I have a right to disagree with it – wholeheartedly. Jason Parsley