Skip to content

fun.’s Jack Antonoff on ‘The Defining Issue of Our Generation’

fun. / Photo by Lindsey Byrnes

Without a doubt, gay rights is the defining issue of our generation and of this period in history. Only a couple of decades ago our government and the medical association was telling us that homosexuality was a disorder or a disease or a mental illness. Going back to my parents’ generation, you can’t fault people for not understanding homosexuality or transgender or anything like that because the authorities were telling them information that was completely false. Then things changed and we got all the correct information — there’s obviously a learning curve there. But people of my generation, I’m 28, have no excuse. We have every bit of knowledge that we need to know from a scientific standpoint and a social standpoint. At this point your acceptance of gay rights comes down to whether you’re filled with hate or whether you’re pushing towards the future.

We’ve reached that extremely crucial moment where there’s no such thing as existing in the middle, or even more specifically, there’s no such thing as being pro-equal rights, pro-human rights, and not being vocal about it. That pertains to this election because push is coming to shove and people have to stand up and show that they believe in human rights. It’s easy to get caught up in a lot of different other areas, and I’m not downplaying any other issues, but I really believe that it’s of utmost importance that we live in a society where we don’t treat any citizens as second-class. What else really compares to that? If we’re all going to suffer from the economy, then we should at least suffer as equal citizens in the eyes of the law. It really destroys our culture every day that we go on without equality.

That’s why the outcome of this election is such a turning point. If Romney gets elected, the human rights of America will be extremely compromised. And if Obama gets elected, he’ll take all the necessary steps to make gay rights a federal issue. That’s how change in this issue has to happen. If you ask each state to go at it by itself, I think it’ll be a much longer haul and a much different process. We need to stand up as a country for what’s right.

As told to David Marchese