Back in August, #BeyBeAHero became a trending topic on Twitter, filled with messages asking Beyoncé for support in the struggle against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination laws in Houston, her own hometown. As months passed by, everyone saw with disappointment how she kept avoiding commenting on the subject entirely. Now, discrimination is legalized, and somehow all the judgmental fingers seem to point at her.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) ordinance bans discrimination against LGBT people in the employment sector, housing, and public accommodations among other areas. Beyoncé’s attitude of avoiding taking any stand on the anti discrimination laws is quickly twisting her from hero to villain in front of the Houston LGBTQ+ community. Activist Carlos Maza pointed out how she could have helped them change the outcome, being a relatively privileged person, due to her celebrity status that grants her public power and influence: “If she spoke out in favor of HERO, it would be a game-changer. I thought asking for her help was at least worth a shot.”
Ismael Melendez started the viral #BeyBeAHero in August, which made over 10 million impressions within 2 weeks. It was mostly inspired by Maza, who pointed out the low voter turned out as one of the major reasons measures like HERO don’t usually pass. This also has to do with the privilege of those who oppose it, who have the possibility of investing in printed and TV ads that libel the LGBTQ+ community in the usual despicable ways, such as depicting them as sexual predators or through outright blatant lies along with doses of self-victimization, by stating that it somehow violates their religious freedom, or that it forces churches to contradict their faith.
While it may be natural to feel disappointed at Beyoncé for her continuous silence regarding HERO, it’s also worth pointing out that she’s not the one to blame. As Maza simply puts it: “HERO offered her an incredibly simple opportunity to demonstrate that support when her fans and her hometown needed it the most.”
Beyoncé only serves as a name and a face to which it’s relatively easy to quickly point the finger at and blame for everything, but she’s not the cause, and much less the core bigotry problem itself.