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Did Arcade Fire Do The Wrong Thing?

gay here now

gay here now

“For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion.” That’s Win Butler of Arcade Fire discussing not using a transgender youth for their “We Exist” video. Alyson Camus wrote about it here and I tend to agree with Win and not really for the reason he gives.

The thing is, the entire concept of acting is empathy and portrayal and to discriminate on who performs what role due to sexual orientation is a dastardly concept. There are many more heterosexual roles (and many more heterosexuals) than transgender youth, so if you are gonna sexually segregate performers, the minority is gonna get it in the ear.

Once you’ve got past the obvious slippery slope of reverse discrimination, there is a point to be made that in using a Marvel superhero to play a gay kid  perhaps it will help young people whose sexual orientation is leading to confusion. Though on the other hand, just a little research and they will discover that Andrew is dating Emma and, well, he IS PRETENDING to be gay so… I dunno, aren’t there enough gay and transgender youth to find someone to fit the bill? And anyway, Neil can’t be the only actor in America capable of performing the role.

Did that clear things up? No? Yeah, well freedom is the freedom to do unpopular things so it is Win’s decision in the end.


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