I talk about this kind of thing happening all the time and I just never seems to go away. I'm not even getting into details about Bruce Jenner because I don't really care about them. What I'm talking about now is on a broader level, with respect to how we look at being LGBT and how people like Wendy Williams continue to promote shame. Am I being too PC? I don't care. I want them to be just as afraid to say the wrong thing about gays as they are about any other minority in the US. I think we've earned that.
Wendy Williams is now speaking out about comments she made about Jenner. You can read that here. This is a direct quote.
"I don't know what Bruce is going through but I'm happy for him because there's got to be nothing worse in a person's life then to not be able to live in their own truth," she told HuffPost Live. "Whether you're gay, whether you're transgender -- whatever. Whatever it is."
That sounds wonderful. No problem. It looks great to me. Until you read this...what she said last
"Thank God he waited for his kids to grow up before making this transition or whatever it is he's going through. Can you imagine how awful it would be for those kids if he showed up with a blowout, a shaved Adam's apple, pink nail polish and smoking a cigarette at a PTA meeting? Could you imagine?"
And, this is another recent quote from Williams, from the first link above:
"People hear what they want to hear, not what was actually said," she remarked. "Listen, I'm a friend to a lot of communities. You know, I call things as I see them and that's that."
Okay. If you go back up and reread the first comment Williams made a week ago I'd like to know how anyone in the LGBT community with self-respect is supposed to interpret that. People aren't stupid either. And Wendy Williams isn't talented enough, clever enough, or quick enough to pull off that kind of badass comedy. She's no Joan Rivers. What she said, no matter how you interpret it, only promotes more shame for the entire LGBT community.
Chris Lowell on Gay Stereotyping
Evidently, more people are becoming aware of how gay characters are portrayed in films. Or at least they are becoming more sensitive to the fact that it's okay to just add gay characters in a normal way, without making a big deal out of it. This isn't about labels. I hate when people complain about labels because it implies there's something wrong with being gay. This is about just putting gay characters in and not talking too much about it. Here's a statement director Chris Lowell recently made about his gay characters in "Beside Still Waters." (They spelled Lowell's name wrong in the article, a shame because everyone else who linked to it did the same. I have a rule. You can call me anything you want; just don't spell my name wrong. Come on Huff Po, with all of Ariana's money you can do better than this.)
"There's kind of this void in pop culture [in terms of how] homosexuality is portrayed," Powell said of the character of Tom (played by Beck Bennett). "I was so sick and tired of seeing foppish, over-the-top, broad characters that were...becoming sort of the industry standard of what a gay man or a gay woman looked like."
The director chose not to include "gay" in the description of the character in the initial script, because he "didn't want actors coming in and auditioning and doing their version of 'gay.' It shouldn't matter."
I think this is the trend we're going to be seeing more of in the future, especially when "gay fiction" becomes even more of a niche market, m/m romance peters out like chick lit did, and gay characters are everywhere in mainstream fiction. I hope so anyway. At least that's the transition many gay male authors I know are moving toward now. You can read the rest here, where there's a video clip of "Beside Still Waters." It looks pretty good.
Michael Sam's Sexuality a Choice?
We definitely still have a long, long way to go. We're living in wonderful times with respect to equality, but we're still being examined and exploited like lab rats to create "artful" fiction, and people still think that being gay is a choice.
Deion Sanders from the NFL was recently quoted saying this about Michael Sam:
"I'm not saying I condone it, but I don't condemn it," the Pro Football Hall of Famer said of Sam, who became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL earlier this year. Noting that he'd personally reached out to Sam, he added, "I don't love what he do, but I love him as a man. And I just wanted him to understand the burden and the weight he's carrying."
When King asked Sanders if he thought Sam's sexuality could be a choice, the retired NFL player noted, "It could be."
Explaining further, he added, "The God I know don't make mistakes."
The rest is here, with more examples of Sanders' ignorance on being gay. As I said, there's still a lot to work on. But in this case, unlike Wendy Williams above, I don't think the intent is vicious. It's fueled by years of misconception.
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