Here’s the thing, Juan Pablo. We’re not perverts.
Confession: My wife and I have been fans of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” TV series since it all began. Yes, we’re lesbians, but we’re not so limited as to only being interested in watching or engaging with people matching our sexual orientation. We believe in love. It’s why we started this wedding magazine for gay and lesbian couples. Because everyone deserves a chance to find love—and ultimately marry the one they love, no matter where they or their partner falls on the gender spectrum.
It doesn’t hurt that “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” are highly entertaining for us (and a big chance for dulling our brains after running an international LGBT wedding magazine by day and wrangling our twin toddlers in the mornings, evenings and weekends). What does hurt is what Juan Pablo Galavis, pictured above with one of the women vying for his proposal, the latest star of “The Bachelor,” had to say about gays, which is an oft-used umbrella term for anyone of the queer, same-gender-loving variety.
At a network event on Friday night, the Latino soccer star shared his opinions about the possibility of a future gay bachelor, responding to an interviewer with The TV Page: “No… I respect [gay people] but, honestly, I don’t think it’s a good example for kids…” He paused to insert that he has a gay friend (life tip: It’s absolutely vital to say you have a friend in the minority group which you are about to slam before you make your homophobic/racist/idiot remarks).
Juan Pablo continued, “Obviously people have their husband and wife and kids and that is how we are brought up. Now there is fathers having kids and all that, and it is hard for me to understand that too in the sense of a household having peoples… Two parents sleeping in the same bed and the kid going into bed… It is confusing in a sense. […] There’s this thing about gay people… it seems to me, and I don’t know if I’m mistaken or not… but they’re more ‘pervert’ in a sense. And to me the show would be too strong… too hard to watch.”
Uh, what’s so confusing, Juan Pablo? That “the kid” is seeing two people in love who are also devoted to the child, raising him or her in a wholesome manner, providing food, shelter, nurturing and love? How … perverted.
Galavis has made a statement via his Facebook page in response to the controversy:
I want to apologize to all the people I may have offended because of my comments on having a Gay or Bisexual Bachelor. The comment was taken out of context. If you listen to the entire interview, there’s nothing but respect for Gay people and their families. I have many gay friends and one of my closest friends who’s like a brother has been a constant in my life especially during the past 5 months. The word pervert was not what I meant to say and I am very sorry about it. Everyone knows English is my second language and my vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish and, because of this, sometimes I use the wrong words to express myself. What I meant to say was that gay people are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience this would be too racy to accept. The show is very racy as it is and I don’t let my 5 year old daughter watch it. Once again, I’m sorry for how my words were taken. I would never disrespect anyone.
Juan Pablo Galavis.
According to TVGuide.com, ABC released the following statement about the interview:
“Juan Pablo’s comments were careless, thoughtless and insensitive, and in no way reflect the views of the network, the show’s producers or studio.”
So that’s nice that ABC is distancing itself from Juan Pablo’s crappy interviews. And they were pretty shitty.
Here’s the thing, Juan Pablo. We’re not perverts. There are perverts in every group or classification of people. I know you said that wasn’t the word you should have used since English isn’t your first language. OK, here’s a pass for that. But when you went to further clarify your thoughts, you write “gay people are more affectionate and intense.” Um, really? I don’t think it’s fair to say that at all. You’re only perpetuating stereotypes that have perhaps been unfairly formed by the 5-second blips of Pride festivals you may have seen on the news, showcasing gay men sporting ass-less chaps thrusting their hips on top of floats. That’s not what my wife and I want our children to see and it’s why we don’t take them to Pride parades.
We also wouldn’t want them to see the lack of morals flaunted by the heterosexual men and women who kiss multiple partners and take each other up on an opportunity to explore each other after midnight in a “fantasy suite.” It’s entertainment for adults, pure and simple. The most-dramatic-ever show is about encouraging people to find love, sure, but it’s also about seeing the magnificent places in the world for a romantic date, like cliff jumping in Bermuda or sightseeing in London. And then, it’s the dizzying thrill of watching people fall for each other, rooting for them when the ones we like get a rose, crying for the ones who get sent home—or sometimes wishing they would go home (we’re looking at you, Vienna, Justin, Bentley and Courtney).
But regardless of what the Bachelor/Bachelorette enterprise is about, be it love, entertainment, travel, fashion or just unrealistic expectations for two people to fall in love and get engaged in 6 weeks, it’s not about hate. And that’s what you’re spreading with your poor choice to speak about something you’re clearly so uneducated about. I really wish you hadn’t said anything or just said, “Sure, why not?”
To further the frenzy of the self-righteous right-wing nut jobs hell bent on promoting freedom of speech over freedom of the right to pursue happiness and therefore legally marry the person we love was worse than a poor choice of words—it pushes our fight for equality further back (which maybe you don’t care about, despite that gay bestie you claim you have), and it sets the stage for more LGBTQ kids taking their own lives because people in power, people with a voice, people who have the nation’s attention, people like YOU, are telling them and their peers that they’re perverts.
Quite sadly, your show has far greater reach than an important message for gay teens from the It Gets Better campaign by The Trevor Project or Shane Bitney Crone’s recent documentary, “Bridegroom,” which explores the tragic story of a young man losing his partner before they could legally marry and is then shunned from his partner’s funeral by his partner’s family who, like you, has preconceived notions of the value of LGBTQ people.
There are positive messages out there for LGBT youth, and yes, everyone has a right to say what they want. But what you’re saying isn’t about free speech—the claim from your fans who are rushing to defend you and other homophobes (ahem, grizzly bearded man from Duck Dynasty I don’t care to Google for a name check). It’s about social responsibility.
When someone with an enormous platform is given the generous opportunity to say something that could create betterment in this world or instead, lead to youths killing themselves because they’re being bullied in school because the hot, handsome man on ABC says they’re perverts whose quest for love doesn’t deserve airtime, you’ve got to check yourself. Words hurt. You’ve hurt a nation, Juan Pablo. I hate to give you that much credit, but you have.
And once again, we see mobs of people—both irate and joyful—stampeding to one side or the other of the arena wider than the Grand Canyon, pointing fingers and feeling some sort of judgment or shame. It’s sad, Juan Pablo. I thought you were better than that. And you can be. This is your opportunity to not just cover your foul-smelling tracks by slapping on a trite Bill Clinton mask of apology, visiting with PR-appointed groups of people who will forgive you, and releasing another eye-rolling statement about why we’re to blame for taking your words out of context.
You need to do more, Juan Pablo. Do more for the community’s heart you’ve crushed with your words. Think about all the children who have LGBTQ parents or any parents who have LGBTQ children. They are just as good as you, and they deserve to grow up in a world that doesn’t immediately dismiss their value based on who they or their parents or children are attracted to. You know that. Do better, Juan Pablo.
Kirsten Ott Palladino
Editor in Chief
Equally Wed Magazine
Listen to the full interview here to form your own opinions and tell us what you think in the comments:
Photo via ABC.com