A Newsweek journalist criticized gay actors claiming that “it’s ok for straight actors to play gay” but “it’s rare for someone to pull off the trick in reverse”. The article argues that out gay actors are not believable as straight characters and points specifically to Sean Hayes and Jonathan Groff. The article has spawned controversy and a response letter from Kristen Chenoweth**.
A recent poll of Maryland voters has found that 46% favor same-sex marriage and 44% are opposed while 10% have no opinion. Comparing this poll with those from previous years, it seems that Maryland voters are slowly shifting towards a majority favoring same-sex marriage and supporting the recognition of the rights of couples married in other states.
Recently the administration of Hope College in Michigan brought their policy on homosexuality up for a review. Hope College, a traditionally Christian college, was addressing the concerns of petitioners who began mobilizing in 2009 after the administration did not allow a screening of the film “Milk” to be held on campus.
All of these stories represent an array of differing aspects of the Queer/Race crossroads. The queering of individuals in the arts, in politics, and in education are all hot button issues going on at the moment. I thought that it was important to find articles that were both positive and negative. While the writer of the first article is, in my opinion, setting the image of gay actors back 50 years (if not more), the poll made me feel a bit more optimistic about the acceptance of queer individuals. I also thought it was interesting to read about the “gay policy” of a religious college. Being a product of public schools for my whole life, I can’t imagine going to a college that would have a policy that condemns homosexuality but “supports fair and kind treatment for people with homosexual orientation”. How is it “fair” to condemn someone’s identity whether sexual, racial, etc.? Even more surprising to me was the Newsweek article’s criticism of out gay actors. The article seriously implied that gay actors would have better careers if they did not come out. By criticizing both Hayes and Groff, both of whom have recently officially come out, the writer is supporting a culture in which actors stigmatize themselves.
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.
“Hey, are you busy ? Is there anyone around in your apartment ?” My father must have been able to tell that I had him on speaker phone.
“Nope, it’s just me,” I replied.
“Okay, can I ask you a question?”
I wasn’t sure what he was going to ask about. Probably something about school or maybe my plans for the summer. My father was always, always worried about the future. Or maybe it was about the trip we were going on that weekend to visit my grandparents in New England. I was bringing along a friend this time, and my grandparents were pretty deep in their religious faith. Maybe he didn’t want my friend to hear. Did he have some news?
“Okay…Are you gay?” It was the last question I had expected to hear from his mouth.
“Am I what?” I asked, startled by the question that came with out any forewarning. Maybe I misheard?
“Are you gay?” he repeated.
“NO I’M NOT GAY!” I shouted quickly into the phone, surprised by not only his questions but how defensive I got. “What the-?”
Immediately, my mind raced back to all the lesbian-ish things I had done in my life. I remembered the time my dad found a picture of me pretending to kiss a girl in high school and how disturbed he was (Those kissy pictures were cool back then). I thought back to the times when I had really kissed girls. But was I “gay” in actuality? No! I wasn’t gay. But now my dad apparently believed so.
“Now, hold on, hold on!” he said, interrupting what would have unintentionally been a string of cuss words that I learned to use so elegantly in college. “I was just wondering!”
Wondering? Had I really given off that gay vibe?
“Well, where in the world did you get that from?”
“A friend of mine apparently saw on one of your social websites, Twitter or Facebook, that you were in a relationship with a girl. Are you?” he asked again. I felt a sigh a relief. My best friend and I had put that silly status up months before as a joke. I tried to explain this to my father.
“Noooo, Dad! That was just a joke. She’s my best friend. We did it as a joke,” I said, attempting to explain to my father how “In a Relationship” with your best friend on Facebook was humorous. He didn’t laugh. “I’m not gay, I’m serious!”
“Well, okay. Well, that’s good. I mean, if you were gay, that’d be fine too!”
“Dad, I’m not gay…”
“I was just thinking about this all week. And then you invited your girl friend on our trip to New England, and I thought that was your girlfriend. And then, I was going to ask you about it this weekend, but I didn’t want to ask it in front of Grandma and Grandpa, and it’s just…”
“Dad!” I laughed. “I’m really not gay!”
“Okay, are you sure? Because you know, I don’t care about that! I’d accept you either way. I was just wondering how you would have kids, would you adopt or…”
“DAD! I am NOT gay!” He had clearly been thinking about this for awhile, and it was so embedded in his head that he refused to believe that I was actually straight. “You will have grandchildren, okay? Lots!”
“Okay, phew! Good. But wait, not too soon right? Wait a little while!” he joked.
“Yes, Dad,” I giggled.
“Okay, that’s all I wanted to ask you!”
“Okay, Dad. I’ll talk to you later.” We exchanged our goodbyes with awkward laughs and I hung up the phone and realized how much I loved my dad.
After the conversation with my dad, I will admit I had to reflect on my past few crazy years in college. He had been so convinced that I was gay during that conversation that it actually scared me, setting me back into a self-conscience and confused reflection. I had experienced a plethora of things in that five minute conversation with my father that made me really sit back and not only take a look at myself, but at the queerness of it all.
- Coming Out? Although, I did not come out in this equation, because I am indeed a straight heterosexual female (who admittedly happens to appreciate other females), I felt as if I almost had, or as if I easily could have came out to my father; A privilege that I realize many homosexuals, attempting or wanting to come out to their parents, do not have. (Actually, a privilege that many heterosexuals with their regular, straight issues don’t even have lol). Taking this Queer Race (ENGL459Q) class had almost made me want to call my father back and say “Yes, I am gay!” just to see if his accepting reaction would still be the same. Would he suddenly be caught by surprise? Had he wholeheartedly thought I was gay, or maybe just a smidgen? I wondered. But the fact that he had wasted no to little time waiting on his daughter to come out to him made me feel proud.
- Double Standard. It’s obvious. As a woman, I feel as though we are allowed to be as sexual and as sexually open as we want and it’s often considered erotic or in plain terms “hot”. I can kiss girls on a drunken night or dance a little too close. I can take kissy pictures with friends and I’m still a heterosexual. (To some, apparently not my dad lol). But see a man kissing another man after a few too many beers, man taking a kissy photo with another man, or dancing a little too close to a man. That’s “homo” and it’s only right to call it “homo”. Why is that?
The tantalizing looks that two women being sexual with each other receive will be undoubtedly different than two men doing the same. I feel as though it’s unfortunately a double standard I even hold myself to. I can act “gay” and do things that are “gay”, but not be gay. A man who experimented in college with men, but is now married to a woman with children (WITHOUT any Christian intervention, but as a personal choice) would be looked at completely different than a woman who experimented in college and was not turned heterosexual.
I’m not a particular fan of double standards or anything unfair for that matter lol. Therefore I tried to think outside society’s box. If a person’s sexuality was based not just on their apparent present actions and sexual preferences, but on their past sexual preferences, are they gay? I, for a moment, subjected myself to the man’s side of the double standard and was displeased, as I questioned myself and feared that perhaps, acting out on my urges, whether sober or drunken, may have given people the wrong idea about my sexuality.
And then I thought again about how little I regretted about my past (It’s not as scandalous as I’m making it sound) and how momentarily ashamed I was to be so defensive about being questioned about my sexuality. Why couldn’t I have just answered with a simple “no” without all the defensive dramatics? There’s nothing wrong with being gay.
Kissing girls or not, it was obvious that it what I wanted to do at the time. I know that generally speaking, I am not gay. Although I find women physically attractive, I am secure in my heterosexuality to know that I am physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, etc., etc., and all of the above ways, attracted to men. However, society, as we allow it, infamous for unfairly creating and placing labels on people, could generally convince others of different. I find it incredibly funny how it’s essential for society to make and enforce these labels, and how uncomfortable these labels can sometimes make us because what other people relate to them, and we are unfortunately a product of it all.
One thing that I learned from this whole, now very humorous situation, is that it’s SO IMPORTANT for people to define themselves by their own terms, not others, and not societies. The Census gives you Black, White, and Hispanic. What if you want to check all three? What if you don’t fit in the box? What happens then? You define you. And when you define you and become comfortable with your own label without having to check in with society, that’s when you become comfortable with yourself!
– Brittany Britto
1. Hospital rights for LGBT couples
President Obama issues a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that ensures LGBT couples have the same visitation rights. It applies to hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid funds.
I personally think this is a step long overdue. The idea that you may have to die alone, in a hospital, because you’re gay doesn’t sit very well with me. People who receive the death penalty seem to have more rights. I think it should be my decision who I want making my medical decisions for me when I cannot, especially on my death bed. I appreciate what Obama said in his memo, “And it means that all too often, people are made to suffer or even to pass away alone, denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments while a loved one is left worrying and pacing down the hall.” The quote is so simple that it makes the issue seem that much more awful. Why have people of the LGBT community been denied this for so long? I mean the right to marry whoever you want is arguable, with ideas such as religion and tradition, but when it comes to health-related emergencies I think people need to be a little more open-minded.
2. Johnny Weir makes a statement
Figure skater Johnny Weir gives his opinion on the LGBT community. He also mentions other minorities.
Although the story is not necessarily “CNN” headline news, I think it is important to recognize the importance of small acts such as this. Johnny Weir is still a household name, coming off his highly publicized Winter Olympics performance. This statement would probably grab more attention than if someone like Elton John were to come out and say it today, just because Johnny is more fresh and more relevant right now. In order to build awareness and tolerance, people need more exposure. A few weeks ago you had Ricky Martin coming out, and now you have Johnny talking about, “And this community, us, our people, are the people who make it fucking gorgeous.” I look at it as positive reinforcement. LGBT celebrities owe it to themselves and their community to use their exposure to build a type of awareness that ordinary people have a much more difficult time achieving. It tells people we are not ashamed, we are not scared, and we are very proud of who we are.
3. Derrick Martin and his boyfriend attend his prom
Derrick Martin and his boyfriend attend his prom with no major issues. He did have to ask for permission first though.
This article is kind of bittersweet. If you tie it to the article above, it just goes to show how reminders like the one by Weir are beneficial to the entire community. People may have their opinions on what is right and what is wrong, but versus how things may have been 20 years ago, people are more tolerant and less aggressive, and you can really only ask so much of people. What is unfortunate about the story is how Martin had to ask for permission from his school. Coming from a Baptist high school, I can understand how this might have been an issue, but it isn’t clearly defined if he goes to a public or private school. I think it just goes to show how much extra the LGBT community has to go through to do things that most people would normally take for granted. It’s stories like these, which are more personal, that get people thinking. It’s not that we want your pity, but sympathy is never a bad thing!
**I just want to say that this is a topic that I have been looking at since I was in high school and it is not in any means a way of saying that “oh, I was shocked when I heard these celebrities coming out.” My saying that so and so should have come out when he/she figured out his sexuality for a while and when rumors are already flying about their sexuality and that they are hypocrites comes from my lifelong motto of “saying true to yourself” and I feel that “faking it” to others is a violation of your self worth.**
So, the other night, I was at my computer (which is my lifeline: I know, what a clichéd phrase) and my mother walks really fast from the kitchen and tells me, “ Enrique Iglesias is gay!” We’re huge fans, can’t you tell? Then, she says “the people on the radio said that he didn’t come out before because his people said that it wouldn’t be good for his career” and I was like WHAT THE . . . . !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so sick and tired of hearing that sentence that he/she didn’t come out before because it would harm their career. We have heard about so many celebrities and their saying that. This issue has been pestering me quite a lot lately and hearing about Enrique was the last straw. I need to find out about the mindset behind this. This is ambiguous to me and it needs to be given more attention too. Hence, this blog is the “Look over Here!”
I don’t think this is just me. Remember the guy who did the “Leave Britney Alone!” (yeah, you remember!) video, well here he is again talking about the issue.
I’m not queer, hence my comprehension and knowledge about the LGBT concepts, issues, facts is only blooming, however shouldn’t people be true to themselves and embody their true sexuality when they figured out what it is. If they are proud and confident of their sexual orientation, shouldn’t they freely and openly talk about when they find out instead of waiting for several years to the point where people eventually just constantly gossips about your sexuality because they can sense it. If it is your career that’s stopping you from coming out, then maybe you shouldn’t be in an industry that blocks you from being yourself (sexual orientation is colossal aspect of one’s identity in my opinion). Also, people have gossiped for so long about their sexuality and “suspected” their queerness that when the celebrity announces their sexual orientation, it’s just stating the obvious at that point.
Let’s take a look in the mind of these celebrities. Let’s just get to the nitty gritty, these celebrities come out only when it will lead to success to their career. They have lived their main 15 minutes of fame, it’s been a while since they were on the front cover of the magazines (or even in a magazine), and it is the “perfect” opportunity to come out with their sexuality so that they can make a few fast bucks and be the center of attention for a while. Seriously? I mean these people are supposed to be our idols and they always say phrases, such as “be true to yourself.”
With people like Enrique, Ricky, and Lance Bass (I used to be all gaga over him when I was younger), I feel like “they just pull it (true sexual orientation) out of their back pockets” (as Chris Rocker says in the video above) at a time when their careers are at a stand-still (or their 15 minutes of fame is over or stalled) and all of a sudden getting public and media attention after the announcement as well as some fast bucks because of public appearances or publishing books, etc, isn’t that saying that you’re a hypocrite and that you are not true to yourself.
My mind constantly harkens back to the question, are they true to their sexuality? How in the world was it okay to be someone who they weren’t before they came out? For instance, Lance Bass would sing bubblegum pop songs about falling in love with girl for his love-crazed female fans and women would be all over him in the music videos. He let girls dream of him and fantasize over him thinking that he’s straight, as he portrayed to the media, and he wasn’t appalled by that since he wasn’t attracted to them? When he came out, he did mention that he was gay for many years and that his family and friends (including Britney Spears) knew about it. I rather die than pretend to be someone completely different while I’m another person inside.
According to http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20061532,00.html, “He took years to really think about how he was going to tell everyone,” says his close buddy Fatone, 29. He knew for years!! And all that time he faked it. I just don’t know . . .
For Enrique, ever since I was 8, I have had the most embarrassing crush on him and of course I still would be his number fan after his coming out, but if he was honest to himself and to us about his sexuality from the time he knew for sure, which must of been several years ago, then I would have the utmost respect for him and even though he is queer and I’m not, of course, I wouldn’t have any shame in being one of his biggest fans and still have the biggest crush on him.
How am I supposed to believe you when you have been lying to yourself, to you the most important person, for all these years?
Take Lady Gaga, she talks about queer issues in her music from the start and is somewhat open about her own sexuality because I notice that in more profession interviews such with Barbara Walters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16tRGakjiYY), she is more explicit about her sexuality, but vague and ambiguous when participating in more laid back formal interviews and takes time. Like one she took on Fuss (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiYM-OzG6yw).
I appreciate the honestly about your sexuality from when you know it because it is a true expression of yourself and you should be able to present your sexuality proudly in public.
I feel like instead of gay people, we usually have non-queer and bisexual people aspects of discussing queerness through music, movies, and other forms of art spotlighted, or not, in the media rather than gay people (except for very few celebrities such as Adam Lambert, who I believe stated his sexual orientation basically from the start).
I may come off as monotone and leave no room for the element of surprise or mystery, but when it comes to something as imperative as sexuality (a predominant aspect of your identity because one’s sexuality represents leads to other aspects of identity.
At the end, I just need answers from these celebrities (would love to meet them someday not just for an autograph, but to be able to ask these questions and I expect a good answer). How could they live with themselves all this time? They had to lead their lives in obscurity until that stand-still in their career arrives and then that was the “only perfect time” to tell everybody. I need answers.
Am I exaggerating?
Does someone agree with me?