Logan Paul’s ‘male-only March’ trivializes the LGBTQ+ experience


Contributed Image

In an episode of the Impaulsive Podcast on Jan. 9, 2019, YouTuber Logan Paul outlined his New Year’s resolutions. While most of them were fairly run-of-the-mill, such as going sober for January, Paul received backlash for his resolution for March: that he would attempt to “go gay for just one month.”

“Male-only March,” as it was dubbed by Paul, caught the attention of social media. Individuals and organizations supporting LGBTQ+ people quickly took to Twitter and other social media platforms to condemn Paul’s comments and demand an apology.

These comments paint a picture in which being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is a choice, and therefore trivializes the oppression that they experience.

This certainly isn’t the first time that Paul has come under scrutiny by the YouTube community and wider media. Last year, he uploaded a vlog in which he filmed in the Aokigahara forest in Japan, also known as the “suicide forest,” due to the large number of individuals who take their life in the forest.

In his video, he recorded an individual who had taken his own life in the forest that same day. Following backlash from his fans and other YouTubers, in which some comments accused him of taking advantage of the tragedy to increase his fame, he took down the vlog and posted a video apology. However, his new video makes it clear that he failed to learn from his mistakes of the past.

A quick look at the comments on the YouTube video show a divide of opinion among viewers. While many did not hesitate to criticize Paul, describing the resolution as tone-deaf and insensitive, many others jumped to his defence.

On Jan. 12, Paul responded to a tweet on Twitter from GLAAD, a non-governmental media organization founded by LGBTQ+ people, and admitted that his comment was a “poor choice of words.”

Despite his claimed support of the LGBTQ+ community, Paul’s comments during both podcasts fail to show understanding of hardships and how he plays a role in oppression.

In a subsequent episode of the Impaulsive Podcast, LGBTQ+ activist Josh Seefried appeared to have a conversation about these comments and the controversy that followed. During the hour long discussion, Paul repeatedly apologizes and calls himself a “huge proponent and supporter of the LGBTQ+ movement”

Seefried explains how Paul, as a public figure, has responsibility in setting the tone for what subject matter is acceptable to make a joke of. Despite Paul’s claim to be a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, his comments did have a negative impact on many individuals.

As someone with a large online following, and therefore quite a bit of influence, Paul must be aware that his followers, especially younger ones, see him as a role model for what is acceptable to say and joke about. Regardless of his intentions, he should recognize these effects and be held accountable.

Paul questions whether it would be acceptable for him to experiment sexually with men for a month. Seefried explains that it would, but the distinction must be made in order to show that the comments were serious and not just a joke.

As a joke, the comments belittle the real experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals. If serious, however, Paul’s admission of bi-curiosity would act to normalize same-sex relationships. Still, Paul fails to clarify, and it is still unclear whether Paul was joking in his comment.

Despite his claimed support of the LGBTQ+ community, Paul’s comments during both podcasts fail to show understanding of hardships and how he plays a role in oppression.

Although he doesn’t seem to have malicious intent, it’s clear that he’s speaking from a place of ignorance.

Moving forward, if Paul wants to keep himself out controversy, it’s essential that he thinks before he speaks (and posts), and considers the real impact that his words can have.

Leave a Reply

Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.