I’m a little late with my third blog post, but here is the issue I want to talk about: representation of queer peoples or people of race in the media, my main focus being on Queer as Folk. Now, I love this show but it is horribly flawed as a representation of queer life. First, there are no characters (none) that have any sort of significant role who are not white. This is true of many shows, however. There is usually an all-white cast or all-black cast or all-latino cast; take your pick of which race and you can usually find a show that shows a certain “racial culture” without actually including anyone of any other races. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part certain shows target certain audiences with a certain race, age, gender, and queerness. I guess my question is: is this lack of diversity of race a product of the television/film industry, the audience or a true representation of reality?
Now, while there is very little racial diversity in Queer as Folk, there is a wide representation of “queer” people, including porn stars and drag queens and Queer as Folk does address a lot of queer issues and the realities of being a queer person. Yet, there is a lack of “normal” or heterosexual people on the show. The only people I can think of that have a significant role as straight people are Debbie and Daphnie. While I understand that it is a show designed to show queer life (and Debbie and Daphnie could count as queer, despite being heterosexual) it seems that the characters have little contact or interaction with heteros(except when they are causing problems), which would be very unlikely in the heterosexual-dominted world. It seems as if they are living in their own little world of queerness and when something disrupts this, it is a big shock to the outside world of heteroness.
Most shows in general do this. Friends is completely set in their own little world wih no queerness or race to stir things up, and it does not change anything in the world we live in. Queer as Folk I feel had a large impact on the way others view the queer world, whether good or bad, the show tried to make a difference and put some controversial issues out there. While this show suffered from a lot of issues that are more than likely to present in television shows (overgeneralization, character exaggerations, radical plot changes, etc) I think it did make a difference for the queer community, whether within it or how others view it. I just want a show that can accurately depicts queer and race in reality and still be fun, witty and entertaining. I realize this is next to impossible, but I think it is important for people to realize that these shows are not accurate representations of queer life, although some of it can be.
However critical I am of the show, I absolutely love Queer as Folk! And, here is a video I found which I thought was interesting and kind of supports my post. Also, you can see how realistically all of the background dancers are extremely well-built and attractive, which if this depiction is true, I am immediately moving to Pittsburgh to dance at Babylon where everyone (besides Ted) is extremely attractive.
Conversation with one of my friends yesterday:
“So I read this really interesting thing in my queer literature class today…” -Me
“Wait…since when did you become bisexual, I thought you had a boyfriend!” –More than slightly annoying frenemy.
I don’t understand why I can’t be an 100% heterosexual and still 100% support gay rights. The reason why I’m taking this class is an absolute mystery to my politically right identifying family members and they’re somewhat concerned that the material I’m reading and listening to in class through lecture and discussion will somehow convince me that I like girls. (That will never happen, girls have too many parts and I like my men.)
Essentially, I let my family and friends get to me about this subject and as a result of that, I felt too uncomfortable to go to the Queer Symposium on Friday. I began to be paranoid and thought that if people I was close to would automatically assume that my preferences are going to change, so might everyone else. Now more than ever, I realize how ridiculous this makes me sound so this blog post is my stand- an issue that deserves more attention is the quiet and unstable movement of straight people trying to contribute to gay rights.
My theory is that many people assume that if you are genuinely interested in LGBT issues, you therefore must identify yourself as LGBT. This is, of course, wrong. Homosexuals don’t just spring out of all homosexual families; they have heterosexual relations in some way whether is through familial, platonic or working relationships- all individuals of which support them, despite the fact that their orientation is different.
In Joshua Holland’s article “Why Straight People Need to Get Into the Fight for Marriage Equality,” he writes about the challenges that positive gay marriage legislation faces because it lacks supporters from those that aren’t sympathetic to the cause because they don’t see the point in paying attention if it doesn’t directly affect their lives. “Too many straight progressives see it as a second-tier issue, relegating it to a kind of “gay ghetto,” Holland says. “Now, it just so happens that I’m straight, and yet I think it’s crucial that same-sex couples enjoy full marriage equality — and not just ‘civil unions.’” While this article is interesting in the way that it provides a heterosexual man’s account of why it’s important to support gay rights, it is published on alternet.com, an activist news site that has a staunchly liberal slant on most of their articles.
It is difficult to serve a comparison on the current state of the issue since the issue of readership on gay rights is still primarily only those of LGBT identification. However, I still felt that this was an issue that was important to bring up for the “Look Over Here!” blog post since I am passionate about it, we haven’t discussed it in class and the issue of a more widespread testimony to full rights for homosexuals definitely deserves more attention. The attention it merits: news on all forms of media from different political affiliations. We, as consumers, are so used to placing in boxes corporations based on their slant: (e.g. that FOX is conservative, CNN is liberal) that we forget news should not have a bias at all: it should inform us and entertain us in an impartial way. If it would be possible to get coverage on all news networks, regardless of whether we initially check them in a box of “Republican” or “Democrat,” then the vitality of gay rights will not only be publicized, but change could happen. It only reverses the process by putting this news on solely liberal or LGBT readership sites because then to the mainstream media it just seems like an LGBT issue that can be handled by the progressives, and not looked at as real news or a legitimate problem to heterosexuals. Therefore, I suggest that news of movements, general announcements or exciting progressions in policy should be taken notice of by all media which can start from our very own campus and people our own age. Although I am a heterosexual woman with a boyfriend (thank you useless frenemy) and no gay friends, I wish to publicly announce that I fully support gay rights and wish to become a proponent of them as long as the problem of inequality persists.