Adam Lambert Responds
By Noah Michelson
Photo: Jason Bell
[Ed Note: Ed's note: We've no desire to prolong this discussion, but whether or not we crossed a line in throwing light on the conversations that preceded Adam's cover shoot and interview, we're glad to see such a robust and spirited debate. We admire Adam's achievements, which is why we honored him as Breakout Star of the Year, but using the editor's letter to discuss the old school tactics in the way he is marketed and promoted was important for an annual issue that celebrates gay progress -- the Out 100.
In his interview with Entertainment Weekly, reprinted in full below, Adam says, "the letter that Aaron wrote is holding us back. Because it’s recognizing the big difference as opposed to letting us all ignore preference and just be people." We're glad he's sees sexuality that way. So do we -- it's why we were so dismayed by his management whose actions reinforced those distinctions rather than erased them. This was never about turning Adam into a political figure, or about whether he should have been on the cover of Rolling Stone first (of course he should have -- what pop star wouldn't want that?). It was, however, about challenging the double standard applied to gay and mainstream media, or to use Adam's words, moving past those distinctions between gay and straight.
As this controversy erupted a young gay man was murdered in Puerto Rico precisely by the kind of people who refuse to see past sexual preferences, and while we know that such hatred offends Adam as much as it does us, we hope his fans will consider the relationship between slurs such as "too gay" and the second class status -- yes, a form of apartheid -- of gays in America. Adam is not required to address this cruel and lethal discrepancy -- he does enough simply by being himself -- but was it too much for us to expect his managers, with or without Adam's consent, to treat Out with the same respect they would treat mainstream media?
Regardless, at this point, we'd like to focus our attention on celebrating Adam's achievements -- and the achievements of all of our 2009 Out 100 honorees -- over the past year and look forward to seeing what 2010 will bring for him and all the gay, lesbian, and trans people who strive to make a positive impact on our lives.]
Entertainment Weekly: Let’s talk about the OUT magazine kerfuffle.
Adam Lambert: Isn’t that fun? [laughs]
We now know the behind-the-scenes dialogue between the
magazine and your management team. The thing I’m curious about is, from
your perspective, how does it feel to have your image managed by
someone other than you?
What people don’t realize is, I am managing my image, more than maybe the editor of OUT magazine likes to give anybody credit for. My team is a team. And I really feel fortunate that 19 Management and Simon Fuller said to me, from the get-go, “We want to do what you
want to do. You need to tell us how you want to do things, what
interests you have,” and they’ve been incredibly supportive of me. I
really mean it. I’m not being puppeted around. I didn’t want to jump
onto a gay magazine as my first thing, because I feel like that’s
putting myself in a box and limiting myself. It was my desire to stay
away from talking about certain political and civil rights issues
because I’m not a politician. I’m an entertainer. That is not my area
of expertise. I can talk about relationships and personal experiences
because as an artist those things involve writing lyrics and that part
of my process. But I didn’t feel comfortable talking about the March on
Washington. I didn’t feel comfortable, so I asked my publicist to ask
the interviewer to stay away from the political questions. I take full
responsibility for that. I think that the editor has his agenda and has
his opinions, which I respect, but they’re not necessarily my opinions.
And I wish there was a little respect for that. Not every gay man is
the same gay man.
They’re gonna take away your laminated membership card.
Apparently. It’s just sexuality. We’re all very very different, just like all straight people are different.
Who told you that?
You know? That’s the thing. But the
funny thing is, in order for us to progress, we need to stop
segregating ourselves. And a letter like that, that viewpoint — the
letter that Aaron wrote is holding us back. Because it’s recognizing
the big difference as opposed to letting us all ignore preference and
just be people. So I think in attempt to champion a cause he’s actually
taking a big step backwards.
With things like the phrase “gay-gay”?
That was taken out of context. It
was all taken out of context. And also, the other thing that I feel
about it? If there are things going on behind the scenes with my
management, it has nothing to do with my interview with them. He really crossed a line.
To see the school days–themed 2009 Out 100 portfolio, shot by Jason Bell, featuring Adam Lambert, Cyndi Lauper, Wanda Sykes, Rob Marshall, Dan Choi, Neil Patrick Harris, and more, head to Out.com.