Lady Gaga’s Bright Bi Star Keeps Shining
My love of Lady Gaga began when I was in middle school and the ringtone of her first single, “Just Dance,” woke me every morning on my flip-phone. Lady Gaga’s been in my heart for a while now. Her music always appealed to me more than other pop artists. “Just Dance” became my morning mantra with its lyrics reminding me that it’s “gonna be okay” over and over, no matter how chaotic things felt.
As her career progressed, so did my enthusiasm for Lady Gaga. Whether it was her wild outfits, her risqué music videos, or her lyrics, she was always making a statement. The video for “LoveGame” was banned on MTV India due to its use of bondage and implied nudity. As her star rose, her videos got spicier. I would get on YouTube to watch her latest.
I found that I was attracted to, but also turned off by, how she’d throw sexually charged moments with men and women in her videos. The bi representation resonated with me, but I thought she was using these girl-on-girl displays to cynically titillate and drive up sales. I stayed mad for a while, resenting that this woman used the sexually adventurous straight girl vibe to help catapult her stardom.
Then one day, while I was rolling my eyes at Gaga, a friend brought up the song “Poker Face.” She told me that it was actually about Lady Gaga’s bisexuality, and I felt hope. Maybe this woman wasn’t just cynically putting on a performance, maybe she was actually just showing us who she is.
I went home and found as many articles as possible, then watched every single Lady Gaga music video. This is a woman who went on Barbara Walters and talked about the fact that she has had sexual experiences with men and women. She was happily telling the world that she didn’t care what they thought, and that she could have a sexy music video romance with anyone. My faith was restored.
After this revelation, I became more aware of how bi her music is. It wasn’t just the men and women featured in music videos. “Born This Way” was inspired by Salvador Dali and Famous Bi Francis Bacon. In the video of “Just Dance,” she has a lightening bolt on her cheek, referencing the most famous bi alien pop star of all times, Ziggy Stardust. In an interview about her song “Marry the Night,” she said how her main influence for the song was Whitney Houston, yet another bi icon.
Lady Gaga continued to make an impression on me throughout the years, from her speaking out about eating disorders to releasing an album starring Tony Bennett. She was in my line of vision and I refused to look away.
Then came American Horror Story: Hotel, and her incredible performance as the Countess. She represents a powerful, complicated bi woman who was once in a healthy (give or take some murder) polyamorous relationship. It was incredible to see an openly bi character given such a long story arc in a mainstream show. It was even more awesome that none of the arc was about her struggles with her own sexuality. Even though she represented a twisted, supernatural, nearly-human vampire, she also showed audiences that bisexuality can be “normal.”
She didn’t hide her light for her incredible Super Bowl show this year either. She got right to the point with queer anthem “Born This Way.” In terms of visibility, it’s hard to beat the Super Bowl. Millions of people saw a bi woman stand in a stadium and sing about accepting everyone.
From Meat Dress to Super Bowl, Lady Gaga never does things by halves. She is so open about her sexuality. She is one of the very few celebrities who actually uses the word. She doesn’t simply make noises about being beyond labels or undefinable. She says that she is bi and is just born that way.