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Gay Hollywood Doesn’t Get It

Updated on July 28, 2010


As I often do, I find myself wondering why it is that I’m not getting what I’m supposed to be getting as a card carrying gay. I watch movies and television shows and I read about how good, bad and ugly the networks are doing each year representing gays and I can’t help but think gay Hollywood doesn’t get it – Don’t Get Me Started!

Last week GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) came out with their report regarding which networks are representing us gays and lesbians the best. MTV found themselves as the big winner this year, receiving an “excellent” rating from the group. (Read the rest of the list here But what amazes me about these types of studies is that I wonder just who they’re supposed to benefit? Are we supposed to all suddenly stop watching Bravo (the gayest network to hit the airwaves since Lifetime Television for Women and Gay Men) and tune into the latest group of “Real Lifers” to see the token gay they’ve thrown in the mix this season and the rube who will be his nemesis throughout the season making for “excellent” (as rated by GLAAD) television? Count me out.

Also as someone who is watching more and more gay television (thanks to the addition of the Logo Network to my cable line up, an MTV network by the way) I can tell you that if I have to watch one more movie or series where the main gay character is a sensitive youth I’m going to puke. I get that some people had a life growing up this way and I get that when writers write they often pull from personal experiences but in my experience the least successful movies and series involve these thinly veiled and face lifted versions of the author. Talk about gays being narcissistic. Dorian Gray, your painting is calling you.

I think the problem is that the people who are creating these projects are gays of a certain age. That’s right, I’m calling the boys who are no longer boys out on this one. I get that I’m a forty-something gay and I also get that there are many times when I reference something in my writing people have no idea what I’m talking about. For example, to me I will always think of Bobby Brady and the Indian Boy who he brought baked beans to in a flashlight during their Grand Canyon episodes as the original Brokeback Mountain. But what we gays of age need to realize is that not only do the gays of today not get the Brady Bunch reference, the Brokeback Mountain one is becoming dated too. We need to do more besides create new “divas” for gays to idolize and emulate. Look, I love Lady GaGa as much as any of the other “little monsters” who follow her but it’s time for us to not only have these role models and artists who accept and embrace us but have some shall we say gays and ladies who aren’t appealing to our beaded, feathered boa and torched experience side of the gay stereotype.

The fact of the matter is that while some gays are still beat up on the playground, there are plenty of young gays who are coming out earlier on in their lives and it doesn’t matter to anyone. They don’t live tortured lives before their coming out, walking around as “sensitive” youths, they’re living their lives proudly from an early age and guess what? It’s working. That’s right, while I agree that we need to get things like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repealed and that America should be ashamed that other countries that are supposedly “less developed” than us are granting same-sex marriage rights while we still sit firmly on our bible thumping roots, I think that’s for us older gays to take care of and meanwhile we need to do more to represent the gays of today in our media and artistry.

I love Glee as much as the next gay but that storyline about Kurt last year went from interesting to a what seemed more of a cathartic experience for the creators than the character or the show itself. I was Kurt, I should know. I was slammed into lockers, called names and clung to the theatre and music departments in my high school so that there was somewhere that I could feel accepted and acknowledged for my abilities. And once again, while I don’t doubt there are some gay kids who are experiencing that same thing today, I think that’s a hold out from our forty-something gay childhoods that are not as prevalent or relevant today. (And if they do a story arc of Kurt taking a date to prom next season in an attempt to be “cutting edge” and with today’s sensibilities I’d like to remind them they’re too late, too many gay youths have all ready begun and won this fight without Hollywood’s help.)

Isn’t it time we started seeing gay characters who are not “sensitive” “flamboyant” “sluts” or any of the other older stereotypes we complain about and propagate in our Hollywood representations? Isn’t it time to start making gay characters that are gay but have something else going for them besides just being “gay?” What I’m saying is that we need to start practicing what we preach and learning from the next generation more. Sure we can teach them about Stonewall and a lot of other things but what they can teach us is that the next generation of gays will be a stronger, self-confident group because they were not restricted to be defined by their gayness or coming out but because of what they as human beings brought to the world as human beings. Isn’t it time that art begins to intimidate life instead of continually giving us this old still life that doesn’t represent who gays are and becoming today and tomorrow? Gay Hollywood doesn’t get it – Don’t Get Me Started!

P.S. (And I don’t mean, Palm Springs) If you want to see some real gays on reality television, tune into The Fabulous Beekman Boys – lest you think I think everyone is getting it wrong, this show is amusing, heart-felt, the two men love one another and yet somehow it survives on who these people are as a whole and not just some finger snapping stereotype!

Read More Scott @


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    • rgarnett profile image

      Rachael Fields 7 years ago from KC, MO

      You're absolutely correct. If we taught kids from early ages that intolerance is not acceptable, kids wouldn't have bullying and angst in schools. You aren't the only dreamer, hopefully as the generations become more accepting - perhaps in the future, this won't be an issue. :)

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      rgarnett - thanks for reading and commenting. I don't doubt that there's angst/bullying/etc. for GLBT teens, what I'm wondering is if by constantly showing this if we're not somehow condoning the behavior by both the "attacker" and the "victim." What if we showed positive gay experiences in high schools? What if we showed that it was "no big deal" to fellow straight students? By leading by showing this example, perhaps we'd eventually never even have to have the argument about gays serving in the military because from an early age we would learn to embrace and encourage everyone's individuality? I know, go ahead and say it, I'm a dreamer..but we all need to be, yes?

    • rgarnett profile image

      Rachael Fields 7 years ago from KC, MO

      Thank you so much for this hub. I have been watching some shows like Glee and the Real L Word and I am finding the people representing the 'younger' generation of gay people to be appalling. I can't imagine that the girls on the Real L Word can represent someone like me or that the kids in high school right now really go through as much angst being gay as made out in Glee. I agree with you 100%, there are issues and kids can be cruel, but I think that for the most part, kids are being accepted and there's not nearly as much discrimination in the schools and colleges as there once was. I would love to see tv and movies show gay people as PEOPLE who are gay. Not gays who perpetuate the stereotypes that keep our rights from us in the first place. Well done, Scott!

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      EA - I agree with you agreeing with me! ;) And yes, tune into the Beekman Boys, the more I see 'em the more adorable I think they are...even though God forbid you ever put me on a farm. "Dahling I love you but give me Park Avenue!"

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 7 years ago

      Good Morning Great Scott!

      You are correct to think authenticity is lacking in Hollywood's gay/lesbian character portrayals!! What it reflects is not only a lack of accuracy; it is also a sad barometer for the 'limits' the majority of watchers can handle!!

      Hollywood caters to the two guys you had the displeasure of experiencing in the post office!!

      Thanks for the heads up on Beeksman!! I will tune in!!

      Have a GREAT day GREAT Scott!!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

    • profile image

      Words by Mike 7 years ago

      “Talk about gays being narcissistic. Dorian Gray, your painting is calling you.” Love this line! ~ Rocks…

      My partner and I feel the same. We are sick of watching gay characters that we are not able to relate to ourselves in any fashion. It would be so nice to see a wider range in character development. I personally have many facets to my personality, however day-to-day Michael would not know the first thing about the portrayed life of an supposed gay man. I wish that Hollywood would take more responsibility in the depiction of real life gays, than maybe the mindset that we all travel with a disco ball and Cher CD in our trunks, ready to spring forth like a scene from footloose could be put to rest.

      Oh, and you made me laugh out loud with the Brady reference. Greg was my first real crush.

      I really enjoy your writing! Keep it up.

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      Springboard - I couldn't agree with you more. You absolutely hit this one on the head in my opinion. Thanks for reading and your comment!

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      This is why we have such focus in this country on such things like race and sexual orientation. Shows should not cater to a group, but should be creative, expressionary, and entertaining. When you start trying to tailor this way or that way to suit a group it starts to feel its being shoved down my throat. And when that happens I turn the other way and ignore the root.