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[P]
Homosexuals on TV: Are we more tolerant, or is this just "sex sells"?

By GusherJizmac in Media
Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:36:09 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

I saw a news article on an upcoming episode of "Friends," in which Racheal discusses a lesbian affair/tryst/encouter she had while in college. The article mentions this epsiode will compete with the next-to-last episode of Survivor. This got me thinking: Is the US really becoming more tolerant/comfortable of homosexuality, or is this a case of "guys like lesbians, so we'll use that to boost our ratings?"


The article (torwards the bottom), mentions several instances in which on-screen lesbian kisses have occured on national television, implying that these are a "step in the right direction" in terms of general acceptance of homosexuality by the US population at large.

It seems to me thought, that these are indications that smart writers/executives are realizing that straight men are generally (or stereotypically?) "turned-on" by lesbians as depicted in these shows (mainly straight, attractive women kissing each other).

Nowhere does this article mention male homosexual themes or encounters on national television, and I can't recall many (maybe an episode of Dawson's Creek?), nor do I recall any lauding of this fact. Now, keep in mind that the "stereotypical" straight women is no "turned on" by gay men.

So, are we seeing the acceptance of lesbians by the media as a "first step" towards general acceptance, or is this a new way for the media to sell sex? If this is selling sex (which it is to a certain extent), should this be considered a win, or an insult to homosexual rights advocates?

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Poll
Meter of US acceptance of homosexuality:
o Media portrayal 7%
o Positions in public office 14%
o "Out" celebrities 1%
o Laws protecting homosexuals' rights 15%
o Laws NOT restricting homosexuals' rights 30%
o Who cares who's accepted in the US? 29%

Votes: 114
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Homosexuals on TV: Are we more tolerant, or is this just "sex sells"? | 91 comments (88 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Oh no! Jack confused! (2.00 / 3) (#1)
by jabber on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:19:34 PM EST

There are plenty of male homosexual images on US TV.

Will and Grace exists solely on the Graces of the straight male who Will feel his ego inflated by the flouncing faggot flame queen named Jack. What a pathetic representation of a group...

If the producers of that show tried to portray some ethnic group in the same manner, they would be chastized as hate-mongers.

Then there's that John Goodman as a gay guy show that I've never seen, but the premise alone is pathetic.

If you are right about the lesbians being a turn-on for men, the end result is to hype the straight male ego by showing gay men as laughable. You rarely see the image of gay men in anything but a comedic context. I can't really think of a single example.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

what about will (none / 0) (#5)
by delmoi on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:33:35 PM EST

The title gay character on that show isn't very faggoty, dispite being gay.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Window dressing (2.00 / 2) (#9)
by jabber on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:54:51 PM EST

He serves as the 'straight man' for Jack. By comparison, he is totally normal. He's there to add whatever miniscule sexual tension there may be in Grace's slut-fest of a life. He's all the things she wants a man to be, except straight. Watch for some 'confusion' on his part if the show survives into another season.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

My take... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by darthaggie on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 04:52:34 PM EST

Will and Grace exists solely on the Graces of the straight male who Will feel his ego inflated by the flouncing faggot flame queen named Jack. What a pathetic representation of a group...

My understanding is that you can't represent gay males as a group via a single character, they're simply too diverse.

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

history (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:19:35 PM EST

Thirtysomething - the mid to late eighties primetime drama - had a gay male couple as main characters.

Ellen Degenares sidekick (the skinny blond guy, can't remember his name) came out of the closet way before Ellen did at some retreat to find himself.

Some cop or lawyer show currently has a gay male main character.

Many movies have featured gay male characters and have done quite well at the box office.

My point? This is nothing new. It's been happening for quite some time. The vast majority of people just don't notice because they don't care. For most people, gay characters on television is neither here nor there. Typically only those who are gay or have a anti-gay agenda really care one way or the other.

Beg to differ... (none / 0) (#6)
by ana on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:42:45 PM EST

Typically only those who are gay or have a anti-gay agenda really care one way or the other.

Well, I ain't gay, but I am peculiar, and let me just say it warms my heart to be reminded from time to time that the world is not exclusively made of married straight couples, living in the 'burbs and raising their 2.3 children each.

Ana

Years go by; will I still be waiting
for somebody else to understand?
--Tori Amos

[ Parent ]

And you are typical? (none / 0) (#22)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 12:27:56 AM EST


Nothing can be more pitiful and absurd than to pride oneself on one's genius
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdyaev, "The Ethics of Creativity"


[ Parent ]

Gave up wanting to be normal. (none / 0) (#35)
by ana on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:35:19 AM EST

Touche.

Years go by; will I still be waiting
for somebody else to understand?
--Tori Amos

[ Parent ]

trhurler's 12 step program for TV junkies (4.14 / 14) (#3)
by trhurler on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:20:55 PM EST

Step one: admit you don't really give a fuck what's on TV. It all sucks anyway, and it doesn't matter one bit why they do what they do. They're as clueless as you are. Turn it off and go do something interesting for awhile, lest you become as useless as they are.

Step two: repeat step one eleven more times, giving a total of twelve steps.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Yep... (3.66 / 3) (#4)
by Electric Angst on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:22:22 PM EST

This reminds me of a Guerrilla Girls poster: Hollywood's "The Birth of Feminism"

Overall, I don't know how bad this is, though. I mean, for a while now, sitcoms have basically been candy-coated worlds, and haven't addressed any real-life issues. Even getting mentioned in a non-negative way is just about as good as it gets in that world. The way I see it, when you can't even realistically develop your heterosexual characters, what makes you think that they're going to provide emotional insight in a homosexual one?

There are shows out there that do address alternative sexualities in a better manner, however. Buffy the Vampire Slayer being perhaps the best of these. Good characterization is good characterization, and sitcoms generally just don't have it.


--
"Hell, at least [Mailbox Pipebombing suspect Lucas Helder's] argument makes sense, which is more than I can say for the vast majority of people." - trhurler
Ever hear of literature vs. women's hemlines? (none / 0) (#19)
by pos on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 10:12:13 PM EST

It took a shitload of bad stuff going on to get candy coated sitcoms off the air in favor of shows like all in the family. People wanted shows that reflected the world they saw. Of course after a while people just want to forget all the shit around them.

Has anyone ever heard of the correlation of women's hemlines and dark literature? I remember my high school lit teacher telling me about it, but I don't know if it's true. Seems that when women's hemlines are very long the writers of the world write happy stories. When the hemlines are short, people want depressing, bad endings.

I doubt this still holds true in our "buy a new old navy wardrobe every year" world. Also, times are rarely good or bad for everyone. We haven't really had any "Dark Ages" to speak of in a while. The ones we've had have been relatively short.

-pos

The truth is more important than the facts.
-Frank Lloyd Wright
[ Parent ]
What it is (2.25 / 4) (#7)
by skim123 on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:45:10 PM EST

I don't know if it's tolerance or not, but why this has been happening is simple: it's cool to be gay. As most of us are geeks (myself included), we are hardly the type of folks who know (or care) what is en vogue, hip, or in style. (Just look at the wardrobes of computer folks like ourselves.)

The thing is, folks, it's cool to be gay. I have friends who are "trendy" folks. They are good people, kind-hearted and all, but for some reason put a lot of importance on appearance and style. Anyway (I swear I am not making this up), we were all talking about this one mutual friend of ours and the topic came up if he was gay or not (he's a little on the effeminette side). Anyway, one of my trendy friends said, "I sure hope so, I don't have any gay friends."

Do you have a gay friend? If not, you are uncool, sorry. Personally I choose to ignore all that foo-frah-frah, and focus on the person themselves, not labeling them or defining them by what they do in the privacy of their own bedrooms, but, if you examine my closets all you'll find are jeans, t-shirts, and things that have gone out of fashion long ago.

Sorta like being gay: you're walking around, you know something's up, you just don't know what it is yet.


Not only that... (none / 0) (#47)
by Eccles on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 02:25:06 PM EST

The thing is, folks, it's cool to be gay.

And gays have the best relationship advice. Be it Rupert Everett's character in "My Best Friend's Wedding", or Stanford(?) in "Sex in the City", if you've got a messed-up relationship, head for your gay friends -- they'll set you right.

[ Parent ]

Gay relationship advice (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by Asperity on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 07:21:12 PM EST

And gays have the best relationship advice.

Absolutely, best example being Dan Savage's advice column.

[ Parent ]

Oh no, Pat Califia, no competition (none / 0) (#73)
by keyeto on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 05:50:07 AM EST

Dan Savage doesn't suck, but nobody can come close to Pat Califia, who wrote the advice column in the Advocate.


--
"This is the Space Age, and we are Here To Go"
William S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]
Are you so sure... (4.00 / 6) (#8)
by itsbruce on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 05:46:06 PM EST

That women aren't turned on by gay images? A few years back my then live-in gf had a gay porn video collection. I gave up trying to tell visitors that they weren't mine and stacking the B5 videos in front of them just made it look as if I had something to hide.

She said that she liked the gay porn because the camera looked at and eroticised the male bodies in a way that doesn't happen in any other media.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.


true (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by Shren on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 06:07:09 PM EST

It's proven that mainstream porn sells when done by a formula that is very catered to a specific type of guy, which seems to exist in a greater or lesser extent to all guys.

Well, you can find anything on the net. So my question would be: Is there porn that has the advantages of gay porn, whatever they are, that is non-gay porn?

[ Parent ]

lesbians and what not (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by eLuddite on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:59:09 AM EST

Is there porn that has the advantages of gay porn, whatever they are, that is non-gay porn?

I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body. I just assumed the converse would be true but now that I think about it, there arent a whole lot of soft focus photographs of naked men riding horses into the mist. Bummer, ladies.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Horses for courses (3.50 / 2) (#53)
by Eccles on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 04:08:02 PM EST

...there arent a whole lot of soft focus photographs of naked men riding horses...

Hmm, I would think this would be extremely uncomfortable. Let's face it, it's the wrong sex that used to ride side-saddle.

[ Parent ]

Yes, they are.... (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by khym on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 08:34:50 PM EST

or at least, there are a lot of women who are turned on by gay images, at least if you judge by the amount of gay fanfiction turned out by heterosexual women (generally known as slash, and known as yaoi for anime and manga).



--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
it does in a pinch (1.50 / 2) (#20)
by persimmon on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 10:23:28 PM EST

Well, het porn tends more towards the idealised, airbrushed look. I think since men are encouraged to be more outspoken about their sexual preferences, women who like looking at men with out-of-mainstream kinks or appearences are more likely to find it in gay men's pr0ndom, albeit perhaps with a lot more detail then they expected.

OTOH, it could just be the opposite of what my boyfriend explained about the fake-lesbians-in-het-guy-pr0n phenomenon: why have a guy in your video when you can have another girl?
--
It's funny because it's a blancmange!
[ Parent ]
Aren't most male het porn stars... (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by itsbruce on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 06:35:13 AM EST

Ugly guys with the sole qualifying ability of coming on demand?


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.


[ Parent ]

Oh, come on. This is a a no-brainer. (3.80 / 10) (#11)
by marlowe on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 06:18:31 PM EST

They're trying to titilate viewers and boost ratings. Using "controversy" is the standard method. When one controvresy gets old, they look for something else. First it was T&A, then violence, then swearing, then brief nudity, now it's dykes kissing. Next it'll be bestiality or coprophilia or something. This is way easier for them than coming up with genuinely interesting and original characters or plots.

And to suggest there's anything more to it is just plain dumb. Turn off the tube, man. Read a book or something.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
cool (4.75 / 4) (#26)
by streetlawyer on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 03:05:43 AM EST

Next it'll be bestiality or coprophilia or something

Christ I hope so. I've had a script in development hell for years.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Women are still thought of as less important (4.15 / 13) (#12)
by DranoK on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 06:34:21 PM EST

I don't think the tons of new lesbian themes is indicitive of a higher level of tolerance in the US today (although I believe there is more tolerance, don't get me wrong), nor do I necessarily believe that media is trying to simply turn men on. I think it's much more complicated and sinister than that.

There is a social move, however slowed down it's been in the past few years, towards greater acceptance of those who are different in our society. So you have the issue of homosexuality. With the up-front appology to bisexuals, trans folk, and everyone else I'm coldly ignoring for the sake of brevity, you have two types of queers: men who dig men, and women who dig women.

A lot of people want the media to start being more inclusive of queers. As stated above, this basically leaves the media with two choices: do they get a dyke or a fag?

In my experience, the choice either boils down to a very stereotypical male or a much more believable (if not wearing far too much makeup) lesbian.

Why?

IMO, because lesbians are less intimidating to men. Scratch that; women are less intimidating to men. By using lesbians more often than gay men, unless the man is a stereotypical sissy, the young male audience can keep their smug superiority complex unchallenged. A butch man would simply be too much of a threat for media to risk including it.

What does this say about our society? It means women still have a long, long way to come. It means, despite the movements, women are still held to be second-class citizens in our culture, however subconsious that thought might be. Because, sadly, the media places far more importance on the 18-30 y/o male audience than the 18-30 y/o female audience.

Just my .02

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



You said it better than I could (4.28 / 7) (#15)
by GusherJizmac on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 06:54:00 PM EST

I think your conclusion might be a little strong based just on the scope of this discussion, but you made the point I was trying to make. TV coddles to straight men (the why if that is another topic), and they like lesbians, but would be threatened by gay men who weren't the stereotypical effeminate drama queen we see in so many sitcoms.

Of course, on the other hand, a serious gay drama just might not appeal to straight men, which doesn't mean that they are necessarily threatened by it. I mean, I don't like "Touched By An Angel", but I'm not threatened by Christians.
<sig> G u s h e r J i z m a c </sig>
[ Parent ]

Many men are insecure about their sexuality (4.00 / 3) (#46)
by ttfkam on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 02:01:21 PM EST

There are a lot (most?) of guys in the U.S. that associate what they watch on TV for enjoyment with their agreement with the subject matter. And no, I don't mean to imply that I believe that there is anything wrong with homosexual subject matter in media.

But citing a recent commercial on the WB where a bunch of guys are at a bar and "Dawson's Creek" comes on, all of the women flock to them. One of them says, "We don't actually have to watch it do we?" And he is ousted. Here is a familiar theme where the guys are trying to show that they are sensitive without *actually* being (in their eyes) weak or unmanly. After all, they're just trying to get chicks. Real men don't actually LIKE the show.

Guys are exceedingly self-conscious creatures, stereotypes be damned. To watch a realistic show that deals with homosexuality might be akin to someone finding out that you wear women's underwear. The possible association with something so antithetic to machismo would be to invite questioning of their sexuality by others (and themselves). Many guys are NOT ready for this and express that through a "lack of interest" in homosexual or intimate content.


If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
My god... I just thought that tonight... (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by pos on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 09:56:31 PM EST

I was watching Will and Grace (which, I think has become my new Seinfeld ( IMHO! I don't want any flame wars over this )) and I was thinking along the lines you were. Here's where I went with it:

Why do the execs think this way? Probably in homes across the country, when a show that has a gay man (in a non-ewwww-that's-yucky or haha-lookit-the-freak) way and it makes a male viewer uncomfortable, he will complain to his wife, girlfriend or male friends, change the channel, or otherwise express his disgust.

I bet an average woman wouldn't react that way even if she felt disgusted by a lesbian character.

Men externalize; women internalize. If more than one person is watching tv together, a lesbian character will be less controversial.

-pos


The truth is more important than the facts.
-Frank Lloyd Wright
[ Parent ]
Real gay men in media (3.60 / 5) (#24)
by Keslin on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 01:28:12 AM EST

Think about how many relatively realistic gay female kisses you have seen on television or in movies. Lots. It's a cheap and easy way to get an erotic charge out of the audience, which of course I have no problem with. It's pretty common, though, to see two feminine women kissing. They don't have to be portrayed as outlandishly stereotypical bull dykes.

Okay, now think about how many realistic gay male kisses you have seen on television or in movies. Most people have probably never really seen any. The only one that I can personally think of is the fabulous kiss at the end of "Jeffrey", which of course most people haven't seen. Any time that you see gay men in media, they are portrayed as comical and self-deprecating. You don't see two strong, confident and masculine men kissing, and you certainly aren't going to see any bulges.

The reason, of course, is that people can handle women being attracted to women, but they can't handle men being attracted to men. It's funny that even in "Jeffrey", the kissing scene is interrupted by a self-parody cut away scene to a couple of straight guys in a movie theater groaning out loud after being subjected to the scene by their girlfriends. The girlfriends think that the whole thing is romantic.

So why is everybody so afraid of male homosexuality? I personally think that it's all about anal sex.

-Keslin, the naked nerd girl.

[ Parent ]

Realistic? (4.00 / 4) (#25)
by enterfornone on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 01:39:37 AM EST

Think about how many realistic lesbians you've seen on the screen. If you beleive TV lesbians exist to entertain voyeristic men. It's not that people can handle women being attracted to women, it's that men are turned on by the idea of two chicks being together. And by the possibility of a threesome (most "lesbian kisses" on TV have involved straight or bi characters).

Fact is "outlandishly stereotypical bull dykes" make up a fair proportion of the lesbian community. Certainly more so than the blonde models that lesbians are generally portrayed as. But realistic lesbians aren't really a turn on to straight males, so we don't see them. Same goes for male homosexuals.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
I know a lot of lesbians (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by georgeha on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:46:09 AM EST

and for everyone that looks feminine, there's 2 that have brushcuts or mullets, don't shave there legs, and try to look masculine (though it doesn't always work).

My sample set may be biased, since I met several of the lesbians through the local woman's Rugby team.

[ Parent ]
A differently biased sample (4.00 / 3) (#65)
by ana on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 02:23:49 PM EST

Last night I went to see The Girl, based on a short story by Monique Wittig, at the Boston International Women's Film Festival. It's a lesbian-themed movie, so it was not a big surprise, when I arrived a few minutes early, to see 100 or so people lined up outside the theater, of whom perhaps six were male, some alone, some in het couples; a few singleton women, and many lesbian couples. Maybe a third of the couples were butch+femme; most of them were two ordinary-looking women, though physically affectionate (given the "safe space" aspect of the occasion).

Anyway, the sample is still biased, but differently from yours.

Ana

Years go by; will I still be waiting
for somebody else to understand?
--Tori Amos

[ Parent ]

One example I saw in a movie (4.33 / 3) (#32)
by theboz on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:59:10 AM EST

I forget the name of it, but basically it's about this teacher that has a student that gets famous, and the student said the teacher was gay as he was getting his Oscar.

The small town goes crazy, as that teacher is about to marry his long-time girlfriend but after meeting Tom Selleck he discovers he is gay and then they kiss at the end. I forget the name of that movie but it probably is a better example.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

In and Out (4.00 / 2) (#43)
by ttfkam on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 01:47:15 PM EST

...I think was the name
If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Dawson's Creek (3.66 / 3) (#72)
by MrAcheson on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 10:50:16 PM EST

IIRC there is an episode where the gay teenage character takes another guy to the prom. The other guy questions his gayness so they kiss. I think you are correct through, lesbians kissing is hot for straight men, gay men kissing is somewhat nauseating for a lot of society. Its sort of why women can dance with each other at parties and guys can't.


These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


[ Parent ]
Real gay kisses (none / 0) (#90)
by verylisa on Fri May 11, 2001 at 08:26:50 AM EST

Strong, confident and masculine men kissing:

I agree with the other person who suggested "In and Out". One of the best onscreen kisses ever. Although it was played for laughs rather than romance.

A lesser-known film, but with a big-name actor: Russell Crowe in an Australian film called "The Sum of Us". He played a gay guy who was also a rugby player, and there were some very sweet scenes with him and his boyfriend.

[ Parent ]
Varies by nation/culture perhaps (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by vastor on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 06:11:47 AM EST

One thing I've noticed about foreign films - basically all the films with gay chars in have been on the "ethnic" channel here and thus have been german/italian etc (rather than from UK/USA/Aus etc), is they do tend to have fairly masculine men in them (we're not talking porn, just regular films which happen to have a side or main character or few as being gay).

So perhaps it is a largely western english speaking cultural thing and non-english speaking cultures can handle it much better.

Though there does still seem to be a strong tendancy to enmesh it with comedy to make it acceptable, however it does have a much more "normal movie" feel to it IMO than most of the stuff I've seen from the USA/UK etc (which isn't a whole lot).

However even Will and Will and Grace is someone effeminate, atleast in the non-english foreign films they tend to be cops and the like that are if anything drifting more towards the butch side. A series from the netherlands (I think) called All Stars (adult amateur soccer players) has their gay character fit right in and it virtually never even comes up that he is different to the rest. That is probably one of the best inclusive examples I've ever seen since it involves perfectly normal interactions in locker rooms etc where some men might have issues with stripping off around gay guys. All Stars is however yet another comedy (and only had a single season of 13 episodes I think).


[ Parent ]
An example from anime fandom (4.66 / 6) (#14)
by khym on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 06:51:54 PM EST

Concerning acceptance by the viewing public (and not by TV producers), here's something to be aware of, from the fandom of a Japanese anime show, Cardcaptor Sakura (CCS).

(But before starting, be aware that there is no sex, nor even hints of sex, in CCS, and that the show was designed for, and targeted at, 10 year old girls.)

In the first story arc, there are four 10 year old kids: Sakura, Tomoyo, Meilin (all girls), and Syaoran (a boy). Meilin is madly in love with Syaoran, plus they're cousins, but no one in the CCS fandom seems to mind this. Eventually, Syaoran comes to love Sakura, and she comes to love him back (bleh!); nobody seems to mind this. But, Tomoyo is madly in love Sakura, and there are a lot of people in the CCS fandom who seem to be... uncomfortable... with this; these people insist that Tomoyo only loves Sakura "as a friend", even though it's obvious that she feels a romantic love towards her. It's as if a 10 year old having heterosexual feelings of romantic love towards another 10 year old are OK, but homosexual feelings of romantic love are verboten.

Some discussions on this subject can be found at the USENET archives on Google:



--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
A 90 year old US example (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by itsbruce on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 11:16:45 AM EST

Just what the hell was going on between Krazy Kat, Officer Pup and Ignatz?


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.


[ Parent ]

That was a serious point (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by itsbruce on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 09:08:20 PM EST

Dranok, you humourless individual, this is what I was talking about. Why not surpise the hell out of me and read it before jerking your knee?


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.


[ Parent ]

... and this is a big deal why? (4.00 / 5) (#21)
by Saxifrage on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 12:15:19 AM EST

I understand fully, being an accepting and tolerant person, that there is a need for portrayals of lesbians and gay men in television. All the same, I think it's positively demeaning to desperately grasp at every shot possible to provide an Asian/black/Hispanic/gay/<insert minority here> character.

The characters are generally not real; that is, of course, I should say, they do not represent reality for most of a minority. This is a fairly typical criticism of television, and is not at all unfounded; television reflects what the majority wants the world to be like, not how it is. After all, why watch real life? We can experience it. So as a result, we tend to see minorities marginalized; a classic example is black characters in movies and television. There are a handful of roles (and any combination of the following) that they are cast in: Sidekicks, military men, thugs, deadbeats. I would challenge you to find a character that does not, ultimately, resemble this, and was included in television any time recently.

But you know what? We have to recognize, and ultimately I think people will be reconciled to it, that minorities will never be properly represented on TV. Casting is done by WASPy men and women, for WASPy men and women, and we all subliminally have our prejudices. As a result, they go for, well, exactly what the author of the K5 story suggests -- what sells.

The bottom line? Don't use TV as a diversity yardstick, by any means -- it only reflects what sells and what the people who make it want reality to be.


"I may disagree vehemently with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." - Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
And WASPs are properly presented? (3.66 / 3) (#27)
by bjrubble on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 04:15:41 AM EST

I mean, WASP itself is a stereotype. I've never seen a TV character who "represented" me (a white male) in a way that I would have agreed to be represented. Everybody is caricatured on TV, not just the socially downtrodden.

[ Parent ]
Gideon's Crossing? (none / 0) (#31)
by josh on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:51:39 AM EST

I would challenge you to find a character that does not, ultimately, resemble this, and was included in television any time recently.
How about Gideon's Crossing?

[ Parent ]
Seems I see some decent black roles (3.50 / 2) (#44)
by Eccles on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 01:48:42 PM EST

There are a handful of roles (and any combination of the following) that [black characters] are cast in: Sidekicks, military men, thugs, deadbeats.

I don't watch that much TV, but I think I can list several that don't fit this:

A new lawyer on Ally McBeal.

The principal in Boston Commons.

One of E/R's doctors.



[ Parent ]

Probably no longer needed (3.40 / 5) (#23)
by gbd on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 12:33:08 AM EST

It sort of bothers me that people still need to bring up homosexuality to be portrayed as "on the cutting edge." Sure, we still have the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the world, who believe that gay people want to enslave and rape small children and gather support to overthrow the god of the Bible. Let these pathetic bozos wallow in their own hatred and stew in their own animosity. The rest of the world has moved on. The "better dead than gay" movement has been soundly defeated, and despite the best efforts of the fundamentalist community, suicides among gay teenagers are starting to level off.

Sure, there exists a fringe element of American society that hates homosexuals and would probably love to see them rounded up into concentration camps and slaughtered. But I would submit that society has progressed to the point where these sad, sorry, spiteful people are exponentially more despised than the homosexuals ever were, and I call that poetic justice. We reap what we sow, or so they say.

IMHO, it's time for Hollywood to stop parading around gay characters to say "Look how cool we are!" The truth is that the average person has no problem with homosexuality, and has not had any problem with it for many years. As time marches on, the more vocal opponents of homosexuality will eventually expose themselves for the closet cases that they are (does anybody believe that Fred Phelps is not a closet flamer?) I think that shows having "token gays" are about as offensive as having "token blacks." Let's try to have TV shows that reflect society. Society has black people in it. Society has gay people in it. End of story. There's nothing "token" about it.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.

Maybe in America... (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by Tim C on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 05:16:52 AM EST

...but here in the UK, I still feel that there is a certain "attitude" towards homosexual women and, especially, men.

I can't think of any organisations specifically targeting them in a negative way, but in my experience there is definitely a pervasive attitude that it is somehow "wrong" - why else would the media male such a big deal over some celebrity (however minor) "coming out"?

Not only that, but in my experiences with people over a broad age range (from my own 20-something right up to 60s and 70s), this "attitude" ranges from a mild "well, they can do what they like in private, but not in public - two men kissing on the street? no thanks! Yuck!" right up to outright derision and at least "private" hostility (as in saying "I hate gays, f***ing poofs, shouldn't be allowed" in the company of a group of (heterosexual) friends, not necessarily actually confronting a gay couple - although I have also seen that happen). When I was a teenager, calling someone "gay" as an insult was commonplace, and I can't imagine that much has changed.

So, while I do think that we've come a long way from the days when homosexuality was a crime, I think we still have a long way to go. The bombing of a pub in London that was popular amongst homsexuals last year demonstrates that, if nothing else.

Cheers,

Tim

[ Parent ]
As far as in the U.S. (1.75 / 4) (#30)
by theboz on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 08:44:23 AM EST

It probably depends on where you are in the U.S. as to how tolerant people are. In the southeast there is generally less tolerance, with exceptions like Florida and the town of Atlanta. California is probably the state with the most tolerance towards gays but the residents are generally viewed as psycho (they call it the land of fruits and nuts) so I wouldn't really consider that to be a good indication of anything.

As far as you getting the feeling that people think it is wrong, that doesn't mean they are intolerant. I think homosexuality is wrong. It's destructive from a purely biological standpoint as those that engage in homosexual relationships are not able to pass on their bloodline. I personally think it is a mental illness, but it isn't something that is destructive like alcoholism or paranoia. With that in mind, I also don't think people should be treated like they are lesser people for being gay. I have been called intolerant and bigot before for this point of view but I find it to be an honest one, much better than saying that I think homosexuality is normal and a great thing, and still treating them with the same respect anyone else gets.

Of course, of your example of someone saying "yuck!" to gays kissing in public, I completely share that opinion. I also find it rude for a straight couple to be overly passionate in public too. I guess I was raised to think the middle of a mall is not the place to groan and tongue-wrestle my fiancee while grabbing her ass and making humping motions, but that is just my opinion.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Think before you speak, friend (3.00 / 5) (#41)
by DranoK on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 01:33:37 PM EST

You believe homosexuality to be wrong becuase it's 'destructive from a purely biological standpoint...not able to pass on their bloodline'.

The world is already overpopulated and you want to add more people.

Lemmings will kill themselves in the case of overpopulation. That, is destructive. Loving one of your own sex is not destructive. If you want to talk on a purely biological standpoint, then think of it as a method nature uses to curve overpopulation.

When I go out in public, is it too much to hold my boyfriend's hand? Put my arm around him? Maybe? But kissing him goes too far? *snicker* Face it; hets are expected to be close in public when they are in love. Yet when gays want to do it, it's 'sick'.

Not to insult you, or berate you, and I certainly hope you don't take this personally as I've read around 50 words from you, so certainly don't know you as a person, BUT...

People who hold beliefs like yours are worse, IMO, than people like Jerry Falwell. I like to call these people 'closet homophobes'. The problem is these people do not *realize* they are homophobic, and thus, at first, appear level-headed. Then they say something, or do something, which to them does not indicate a hatred of gays, but wounds any gay person around.

I've had coworkers like this, and if there was one thing I wish, it would be that they would accept to themselves that they hate gays. Trying to cover homophobia with a veil of 'open-mindedness' is far worse, in my opinion, than simply being blatantly anti-gay.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
Hate is too extreme (3.33 / 3) (#49)
by theboz on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 02:33:55 PM EST

The world is already overpopulated and you want to add more people.

I disagree. Certain sections of the world are overpopulated, but certainly you must have never been to somewhere like any state in the U.S. that does not have a connection to the ocean. They are all very wide open and without many people except in certain clusters.

Lemmings will kill themselves in the case of overpopulation. That, is destructive. Loving one of your own sex is not destructive. If you want to talk on a purely biological standpoint, then think of it as a method nature uses to curve overpopulation.

I guess it is only biologically destructive from my point of view of the individual. I view children as a form of continuing your own life, and if you don't have children, you die when you die. If you have kids, at least some of your essence lives on in them. Of course, this is something that perhaps not very many people agree with.

When I go out in public, is it too much to hold my boyfriend's hand? Put my arm around him? Maybe? But kissing him goes too far? *snicker* Face it; hets are expected to be close in public when they are in love. Yet when gays want to do it, it's 'sick'.

I was giving an example a little more extreme than holding hands and kissing originally. I think I mentioned making "humping" motions and all that. I personally don't see anything wrong with kissing and touching in public, until it's to the point where it's overly distracting. For example in a movie theater, it's ok to kiss and touch each other, but once you start bouncing up and down on your boyfriend's lap and moaning that is going too far because it is disturbing.

People who hold beliefs like yours are worse, IMO, than people like Jerry Falwell. I like to call these people 'closet homophobes'. The problem is these people do not *realize* they are homophobic, and thus, at first, appear level-headed. Then they say something, or do something, which to them does not indicate a hatred of gays, but wounds any gay person around.

That is one of my pet peeves. Just because someone doesn't necessarily like homosexuality (the concept, I'm not talking about the people) doesn't make them homophobic (afraid of gay people) or hating gays. Personally, I don't really want to date women with blonde hair. That doesn't mean I hate or are afraid of blondes, just that I don't like that color of hair in a potential mate. My sisters are both blonde, and I love them a lot (in a non-West Virginian way of course.) What I don't like is the concept of homosexuality. That doesn't mean that I hate gay people. I have been friends with homosexuals in the past, they knew my opinion, strongly disagreed with me, but we still had respect for each other. That's very different than hate or fear from my understanding.

I've had coworkers like this, and if there was one thing I wish, it would be that they would accept to themselves that they hate gays. Trying to cover homophobia with a veil of 'open-mindedness' is far worse, in my opinion, than simply being blatantly anti-gay.

Only the paranoid delusions of those with a persecution complex would consider criticism or disagreement of a lifestyle to be hatred. Some people are Democrats and they don't like Republicans. Does this mean they hate them? They probably have some close friends and family that are Republicans. They still like the people but dislike the political views of the other person. This doesn't mean they try to go stop their Republican friends and family from voting either. Probably the worst that happens is they debate or argue about it.

I don't like when people try to force their opinions on someone else by calling them a bigot because they simply don't agree. I'm not specifically stating all of these things at you but in general. Using the examples of blondes again, they don't get offended when I say that I prefer girls with dark hair. If certain gay people are "wounded" by the words I say, perhaps they should reevaluate their acceptance of their own beliefs. I don't see anything really insulting by what I've said, and definitely nothing to indicate hatred or fear of their lifestyle.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Oh, for pete's sake (5.00 / 2) (#42)
by Karmakaze on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 01:35:16 PM EST

I think homosexuality is wrong. It's destructive from a purely biological standpoint as those that engage in homosexual relationships are not able to pass on their bloodline.
This argument is one of my pet peeves. It just doesn't stand up to basic logic.
  1. There have been homosexuals in the human population for as long as we have written records (consider ancient Greece...)
  2. There are still homosexuals in the human population today.
  3. The human population has been, and is still, constantly growing.
If the existence of homosexualty was an evolutionarily negative trait, then why haven't #2 and #3 changed over the last several thousand years? Clearly, it's still getting passed down, and it doesn't seem to have harmed the genetic strength or diversity of the human population.


--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

Pete's not here, just me. (1.75 / 4) (#50)
by theboz on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 02:41:37 PM EST

I couldn't think of a better subject line. Sorry.

I don't believe there to be a real scientific proof that homosexuality is purely biological. I think that it is destructive for the bloodline of the individual, as they will not be able to pass on their genes, and thus their family dies from the planet forever. However, I think that it's probably like alcoholism in a way. Some people may have an easier time of being homosexual than straight, but all of the people who it would be easier for may not necessarily be gay, nor do all children of alcoholics become one too. Also, with alcoholics people without any predisposition to it or family history can become reliant on alcohol as well. I think the environment a person is in shapes it mostly but there are too many factors for me to even begin to guess exactly what makes a person gay.

Anyways, from how I see it, homosexuality ends the ability to have offspring. I know it's technically possible but I speak in more black and white terms right now. It certainly doesn't help one's chances of passing on their genetic material.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

So, they don't spawn - so what? (4.66 / 3) (#54)
by Karmakaze on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 04:14:24 PM EST

I don't believe ... that homosexuality is purely biological.
Regardless of the cause of homosexuality - your argument hinged on passing genes to the next generation. If homosexuality adversely affected the procreation of the human race, either in terms of number or driversity, I think we would have noticed by now.

...homosexuality ends the ability to have offspring.
So does taking an oath of chastity/celibacy upon entering the Catholic priesthood (or becoming a nun). Do you have a problem with priests?

Some people simply chose not to have children. Do you think they are morally wrong or mentally ill for making that choice?

Would it be morally wrong (or a sign of mental illness) for a women to have a preventative hysterectomy? That ends the ability to have offspring too. Some men have vasectomys deliberately to end the ability to have offspring.

Not every adult reproduces anyhow.

It certainly doesn't help one's chances of passing on their genetic material.
That is actually arguable. In many cultures, a homosexual adult will assist in caring for a sibling's child, or even take over parental duties if the sibling dies. This improves the child's chance of surviving to reproduce. A sibling's child is likely to have many genes in common - and they will be passed on.


--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

I see your problem now... (2.66 / 3) (#57)
by theboz on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 06:33:15 PM EST

You don't understand that I dislike homosexuality. I have no problem with homosexuals themselves. Once you understand that, come back to me with the arguement.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

a few questions (3.00 / 3) (#59)
by kataklyst on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 10:32:36 PM EST

It's destructive from a purely biological standpoint as those that engage in homosexual relationships are not able to pass on their bloodline. I personally think it is a mental illness, but it isn't something that is destructive like alcoholism or paranoia.
I'm willing to take your work for it that you don't hate homosexuals, no problem. However, I personally think that even a dislike of homosexuality is irrational. In particular, I fail to see the logic in the argument given above.

Do you consider any lifestyle that precludes reproduction to be a mental illness? What about bisexuality? What if homosexuality were actually an evolutionary win for individuals in some environments?

Also, allow me to try to increase your empathy with those you offend. Suppose I dislike the African American culture. I think it is wrong, a mental illness. Just look at Gangsta Rap and Ebonics. I repeatedly assert that I dislike the culture, but I have no problem with American Americans themselves. Do you think this position would be offensive to anyone?

[ Parent ]

Explanations (4.00 / 3) (#66)
by theboz on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 06:01:40 PM EST

I do consider homosexuality to be a mental illness. I don't say it is strictly from the point of view of not being able to have offspring, but that it is very abnormal behavior. I don't mean this in a negative way to say that gay people are psycho, but it's abnormal just like it would be to need to go wash your hands every 5 minutes or to be afraid to go out of your house.

As far as your example of disliking the so-called "African-American" culture (which has utterly nothing to do with Africa, and the few people I know that are originally from Africa act nothing like this) I don't like it either. Now, that isn't to say that I don't like the people, but I don't like the stereotype that gangsta rap, movies like "Boyz n the Hood" and various other things that try to put any non-pale skinned people into a group classified with criminals. At the same time, the real culture of the Americans that have ancestors from Africa, is interesting. Anyways I'm getting off on a tangent here.

The point I want to make is that you can have a problem with something but not hate or dislike the entire group of people that tend to exhibit those characteristics. I'm straight, yet I don't let that define who I am other than things pertaining to my sexual orientation. Likewise, I have friends that are to varying degrees Christian, Atheist, Islamic, Wiccan, and Buddhist, and we all disagree on the matters of an afterlife but that doesn't mean we hate each other or don't respect each other's views, even if it's crap in our opinions. I don't know if this makes sense or not. I still don't accept homosexuality as a good thing, but I respect people's rights to be gay if they want to, and I don't hold it against them. Yes, I do see it as something negative, but I would only "discriminate" against a gay person in situations that are pertinent to sexuality.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Preference vs. Rationality (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by Karmakaze on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:34:25 AM EST

You don't understand that I dislike homosexuality. I have no problem with homosexuals themselves. Once you understand that, come back to me with the arguement.
I understand that fine. I was simply pointing out that your dislike is entirely irrational, and then poking holes in your attempted rationalization.

You're perfectly welcome to be irrational -- everybody has irrational preferences[1]. And the fact that you try not to act on your irrational preference is admirable. On the other hand, when you try to justify something like this with logic, don't be surprised when you get your argument refuted with logic.

[1] for example, I find the pronunciation of "ASAP" as "ay-SAP" instead of "Ay-Ess-Ay-Pee" incredibly annoying. I can't justify that rationally, but it annoys me nonetheless.


--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

Scientific evidence.. (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by ajduk on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 09:20:47 AM EST

Well, there are a few lines of enquiry. Seems to be a combination of factors.

There is almost certainly a genetic element, plus a factor based on the maternal womb environment - an immune response to male hormones by the mother, which increases with the number of male children carried, starting from a genetically determined starting point. A similar mechanism could explain female gayness.

Given the massive invenstment that humans put into their offspring compared with virtually any other mammal, it is not so much important that every member of a related group of individuals reproduce, but that as many babies as possable survive to adulthood. So a tribe, for example, with several non-reproducing members may manage to raise more babies than a tribe where all members reproduce and the resources are spread more thinly. And hence having a proportion of gay people would be an advantage - their genes would be passed on through kinship.

To summarise: Gay people are born gay.

What consenting adults get up to is between them. No one else has any right to judge.



[ Parent ]
satisfying the biological imperative (5.00 / 2) (#62)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 11:44:26 AM EST

In the southeast there is generally less tolerance, with exceptions like Florida...

Wow-ee, are you ever off-base about Florida. It's a hotbed of biblethumping rightwing moralizers down here. Maybe they're more uptight in Afghanistan, I don't know.

I personally think it is a mental illness...

If I may cite famous authorites, Plato, among others, does not agree.

I think homosexuality is wrong. It's destructive from a purely biological standpoint as those that engage in homosexual relationships are not able to pass on their bloodline.

It's my position that with the world as overpopulated as it is, people ideally should only beget a child or so apiece. (Of course I am a hypocrite; my wife and I have three.) Now the fact is, it doesn't take a whole lot of boy-girl fucking to fuck up a brand new kid. (Alas for high-school couples! Physical love, it's only natural, yet it's worry, worry, worry.)

Leaving, for decency's sake, turkey-basters out of the equation, how do you feel about, do you approve a sexual regime which includes just enough hetero sex to reproduce at the replacement level, together with homo sex for fun's sake and love's sake? assuming, of course, that that happens to be what turns you and your lover(s) on. Remember, at any waking instant that you're not energetically coupling in potentially-impregnating heterosexual intercourse, for example when you're off at work, or while you're composing posts to K5, you are probably irresponsibly scamping your current moment's duty to be fruitful and multiply (no, not "fruit" full, you know what I mean, damn it.)

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

the Earth's blue as an orange


[ Parent ]

Celibacy, too? (4.00 / 2) (#64)
by ana on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 02:15:35 PM EST

I think homosexuality is wrong. It's destructive from a purely biological standpoint as those that engage in homosexual relationships are not able to pass on their bloodline. I personally think it is a mental illness...

Umm, does this apply to all non-breeding lifestyles, such as celibacy?

Ana

Years go by; will I still be waiting
for somebody else to understand?
--Tori Amos

[ Parent ]

Re: Celibacy, too? (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by Dwonis on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:11:19 AM EST

From a purely biological standpoint, yes.

Wrong != Evil != Immoral

Wrong == Incorrect

[ Parent ]

Wow, I feel soo much better... (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by ana on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:07:29 AM EST

Wrong == Incorrect

From dictionary.com:

in·cor·rect adj.
  1. Not correct; erroneous or wrong: an incorrect answer.
  2. Defective; faulty: incorrect programming of the computer.
  3. Improper; inappropriate: incorrect behavior.
So being celibate is erroneous, wrong, defective, faulty, improper, inappropriate?? Just precisely what did you mean here? And how is it that "biology" can give such human-sounding value judgements?

Ana

Years go by; will I still be waiting
for somebody else to understand?
--Tori Amos

[ Parent ]

Morality (none / 0) (#91)
by Dwonis on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 02:52:34 AM EST

I tend to draw my morals from "if everybody acted in this way, what would be the result". You can interpret that how you like.

[ Parent ]
Dwonis expressed it partially for me... (1.00 / 1) (#85)
by theboz on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:58:56 PM EST

Umm, does this apply to all non-breeding lifestyles, such as celibacy?

I think it is an incorrect way to live, if you plan to be celibate for your whole life, from a biological standpoint. That is a very loaded answer.

There are other factors when regarding celibacy. One thing is that biologically you do not want to mix your genes with some that are low quality. In real life terms (as only igrrl would be capable of finding a mate by their genetics) I would simply say that you have't found someone you would want to breed with. This may or may not change but I don't know. I don't see it necessarily as doing something wrong, but simply more of a neutral way of being.

Also, what I have trouble expressing in the situation of homosexuality is that I still consider it to be a mental illness. Just because it was removed from the list of the AMA or whoever, doesn't change what I think. From my perception homosexuality is. Just because it's not like drug addiction or multiple personality disorder, doesn't mean that it is normal. This is my opinion of the concept of homosexuality. I distance my perception of people from that, including gay people.

I don't know if I can express it any better. It is a concept that the libertarians seem to be masters of. I remember Harry Browne was personally against abortion, but said that the federal government had no right to get involved in that debate. It's similar for me. I don't like homosexuality any more than I like alcoholism, but I won't hate someone because they are gay, nor will I treat them like less of a person. I don't think that makes sense but it's how my mind works.

Anyways, I am adding a lot of stuff you didn't ask about so I'll stop. I see it more of a situation where you are not acting on hetero or homo sexual urges, so we can't really comment on it. This is probably wrong and I'll have to think of a better way to explain it but I think celibacy can be more of a positive thing because you are not putting yourself at risk of diseases or any of the negative things brought upon by any type of sex.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Partner Benefits (none / 0) (#52)
by selkirk on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 03:42:52 PM EST

I agree.
I have a friend who worked for EDS when they introduced same sex partner benefits. He feels so strongly about it that he quit rather than work for a company that supports homosexuality.
The guy is a brilliant software engineer, but can be spectacularly narrow minded.

[ Parent ]
"stupid side" of programmers (none / 0) (#82)
by Dwonis on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:07:50 AM EST

The guy is a brilliant software engineer, but can be spectacularly narrow minded.

Is it just me, or is that true more often than it should be? I know this guy who's a brilliant programmer (or will be in the near future; he's a high-school student), yet he visits milksucks.com and believes it's all 100% true.

Why is it that so many programmers have their "stupid side"?

[ Parent ]

It is needed to battle stereotypes (none / 0) (#33)
by starbreeze on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:19:26 AM EST

You'd be surprised how many bigots and homophobes are still out there. As a member of my campus group "Allies" (gay-straight alliance) we've encountered much opposition from the students, faculty, and townsfolk. Our group is about promoting and accepting diversity. We do not advertise or promote "being gay".

I think that portrayals like this on television still are needed, to help break some of the stereotypes that accompany the homosexual lifestyle. People need to see that gays are regular people, being gay is only one very small part of you, like your eye color.

Our society has finally come to accept people of various races. That took decades. There will always be some minority that scares people, but maybe it's time to work on having society accept homosexuals, like they have blacks.

~~~~~~~~~
"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor
[ Parent ]

But.. (2.00 / 1) (#61)
by infinitesin on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 05:56:11 AM EST

There's far better ways to portray homosexuals than in TV. In effect, the only reason there are homosexual characters is because the writers view them as abnormal, and they're using stereotypes built by society to add new elements to their scripts. It would be different if they all showed homosexuals as exact equals, but its not a perfect world, and they don't. Its obvious in a lot shows that they introduce homosexual characters just for the sake of ratings, or a quick laugh as the straight characters try to deal with something they (and as they presume, all of society) think is abnormal. It's essentially gray, because its a positive step that they have homosexual characters in the first place, but they've got a lot of work to do before they really do anything significant to change the general mindset of the typical American. It's not going to happen showing a flaming homosexual male prancing around in tights, going to plays and walking around with a limp wrist. It's going to happen when writers stop basing themselves completely on the general opinion of the public for the sake of ratings. Unfortunately, that's almost never going to happen.
--
"Just wait until tomorrow..I guess that's what they all say..just before they fall apart.."

[ Parent ]
Where are you getting your facts? (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by DranoK on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 01:21:27 PM EST

...and despite the best efforts of the fundamentalist community, suicides among gay teenagers are starting to level off.

This is the only thing I really have a huge problem with in your comment. I'd like to know where you read/heard/were told this. I have no facts to contradict your statement, and overwhelmingly hope it's true, but have a hard time swallowing that pill...

I graduated from HS in 1998 (OK, it was in Montana, so maybe that makes a difference). In my sophmore year I seriously contemplated suicide (I'm gay for those who don't read my sig), and my junior year (1997) one of my better friends, who was also gay, ended his life.

In as much for his memory as for my own struggle, gay teen suicide is an issue very close to my heart. I'd like to believe your statement is true, but to be honest, I think it's been a long time (longer than five years, in any case), that a thorough analysis has been done on gay teen suicide rates. Maybe there has been, if so, I'd love to see it.

The fear I have is that this statement is *not* true, and people will believe it. In that case, the issue of gay teen suicide might be pushed under the carpet a little, as people no longer believe its an issue, leaving only the kids to suffer.

*Shrug* I'm the last person to scream 'do it for the kids', but in this case I have strong feelings on the issue.

It's a very disturbing fact of reality that any teen in the US would consider suicide; it's unacceptable that a hugely unproportional percentage of these youths are queer.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
Gay teenage suicide (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by starbreeze on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 02:25:51 PM EST

From safeyouth.org

It has been widely widely reported in the media that gay and lesbian youth are at higher risk to complete suicide than other youth and that a significant percent of all attempted or completed youth suicides are related to issues of sexual identity. However, there are no national statistics for suicide completion rates among gay, lesbian or bisexual persons, and in the few studies examining risk factors for suicide completion where an attempt was made to assess sexual orientation, the risk for gay or lesbian persons did not appear any greater than among heterosexuals, once mental and substance abuse disorders were taken into account. With regard to suicide attempts, several state and national studies have reported that high school students who report to engaging in homosexual or bisexual activity have higher rates of suicide thoughts and attempts compared to youth with heterosexual experience. Experts have not been in complete agreement about the best way to measure reports of adolescent suicide attempts or sexual orientation, however, so the data are subject to question. Clearly, further research is needed in this area.

After searching gay teenager suicide 2001, i could not find much on any recent studies either.

~~~~~~~~~
"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor
[ Parent ]

At risk of being called gay-hater (1.00 / 3) (#77)
by decaf_dude on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 02:42:20 AM EST

I'll say that gay youth suicide is simply evolution at work.

--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
um (none / 0) (#88)
by hammock on Thu May 10, 2001 at 10:00:41 PM EST

I don't know about the suicide part, but homosexuality in itself is an evolutionary mechanism.

[ Parent ]
The average person does have problems with gays (1.00 / 1) (#78)
by LordNimon on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:02:32 PM EST

The truth is that the average person has no problem with homosexuality, and has not had any problem with it for many years.

Sorry, but that's just not true. Most people do NOT watch those sitcoms that feature gay characters, so their popularity is not an indicator. Besides, it's one thing to accept that an individual is gay, it's another to watch them get intimate. At least 90% of the people I know well think that it's gross when two guys kiss each other. When it comes to lesbians, every straight guy I know enjoys watching them get it on, for the obvious reason.

And no, my friends and I are not conservative Christians.

--
Lord Nimon
Yes, I use OS/2 Warp.

[ Parent ]

Gross? (4.00 / 2) (#81)
by CrayDrygu on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:06:46 AM EST

"At least 90% of the people I know well think that it's gross when two guys kiss each other."

Yeah, that's been my (limited) experience. You should've seen the looks my boyfriend and I got in the middle of the Denver International Airport last summer.

Or, more accurately, the looks we deliberatly didn't get. It was kinda funny, really, watching people go out of their way to look in the opposite direction. And that's just when I had my head on his shoulder while we were waiting for other people to arrive. I don't know what was happening around us when we kissed, I wasn't really paying attention.

But hey, hetero couples do it all the time without a second thought, and I'm not one to give in to double-standards.

Fortunately the people we were staying with were more receptive.

[ Parent ]

Acceptance or selling sex? Yes. (3.80 / 5) (#34)
by B'Trey on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 09:27:36 AM EST

Certainly, the producers are very aware of the titilating value of having Rachel kiss Wynona Rider. However, homosexuality has long been a part of Friends. In the very first episode, we find out that Ross has just divorced his wife who suddenly discovered she was a lesbian. She and her partner have been semi-regulars on the show, although there has been little or no actual depictions of passion between the two. Chandler's father, although I don't think he's ever appeared as a character, is gay. In an older episode, Monica loses her apartment to Joey and Chandler in a card game. She and Rachel get the apartment back by agreeing to kiss for one minute while the Joey and Chandler watch. (The kiss isn't actually shown.) Last night's episode had Denise Richards guest starring as a cousin to Ross and Monica. Chandler drools over her, irritating Monica, so she goes to stay with Ross. Ross argues with himself over making a pass at his cousin, but does so anyway, so she goes to stay with Phoebe. The final scene shows Richards shaking out her long hair in slow-motion while Phoebe stares at her open-mouthed thinking "Go ahead! Ask her out! She's not your cousin!" So Friends isn't really branching out in a new direction, perhaps just pushing the envelope a tad bit farther.

But while Friends certainly plays up lesbianism to attract a male audience, it doesn't change the fact that ten years ago such storylines would have never made it on prime time TV. When Roseanne kissed Muariel Hemmingway on her show, it made headlines all across the country.

Now, homosexuality has become almost common. "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" features Willow and Tara, a female couple. The two kissed briefly in a recent episode. As for male homosexuality, the sitcom "Will and Grace" features not just one but two regular male characters who are homosexual. Will's gayness is, in fact, a central point of the sitcom. "Spin City" had Carter, who was openly gay. There are, I believe, several other examples of both male and female gay characters on prime time. (Despite what it seems like here, I don't watch much TV. The only two shows I watch regularly are "Friends" and "Buffy".)

There is no doubt that homosexuality is much more accepted, at least when it comes to TV characters, than it was only a few years ago. How this translates into public opinion of homosexuality in general isn't entirely clear.

Finally, it's difficult to see how this could be an insult to homosexual rights advocates. "Friends" sells sex, period. Why should it be OK to sell heterosexual sex but insulting to sell homosexual sex? Your question misses the point. It isn't a question of either this is a more general acceptance of homoesexuality or it's a way of selling sex. It's both. The more general acceptance of homosexuality on television has given shows yet another way to sell sex.

Another Homosexual on TV (3.71 / 7) (#45)
by fsck! on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 01:58:58 PM EST

Let's not forget one of the best-written comedies in recent memory: Spin City. This one revolves around the deputy mayor of NYC played by Micheal J. Fox. His closest male friend, Carter, is black homosexual who occupies some vagely-defined official position in the city government.

I think it's a little unreasonable to belive that because Friends is clearly using lesbians to pull in ratings, all TV writers/producers are equally dishonest

Spin City's use of the Carter character (name of the actor escape me) is used to good effect to tell stories about being gay, not just to show homosexuality. There are scenes of male/male romance. Not as many as male/female, but many scenes were Carter discusses being gay. Carter even shares an apartment with a very non-gay male, Stewart and an immortal 19 year old dog named Raggs (who nearly dies in several episodes). Tolerance for other sexual orientations AND the elderly.

My feeling is that all TV sucks, with few exceptions like Newsradio (before PH died), Spin City (before MJF left due to parkinsons disease), Farscape, Simpsons, etc. Was it worth it to find the good shows? No.


Friends (3.75 / 4) (#51)
by ichimunki on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 03:15:46 PM EST

As someone else pointed out, Friends was actually one of the earlier TV shows to feature gay people as a recurring theme-- and has done so pretty even-handedly. Some of the early shows seemed to use it as a good way to set up gags, but the whole thing with the kid seemed to work as a way to explore gay themes without having to concentrate on them.

There are a lot of gay characters on TV right now:
Jack on "Dawson's Creek", who is hardly a stereotype.
Will and Jack on "Will & Grace", two different stereotypes, but not overdone.
The Jason Bateman character and Vern on "Some of My Best Friends", same as Will & Grace, but overdone.
Original Sin-Dee on "Dark Angel", everything on this show is exaggerated, but not really stereotype-centric, imo.
Willow & Tara on "Buffy", never seen it, dunno.
Ellen Degeneres appears to be getting a new show.
The guy on Spin City.
Niles on "Frasier", okay, just kidding.
Lots of other shows on cable.

Definitely there is a change in approach. None of this would have been on the air pre-Friends/Ellen (the first series). However, Rachel kissing anybody on screen (especially a girl) doesn't sound to me like real exploration of gay themes-- Rachel's been a sex-symbol since the show first aired, right? But oddly, what we don't see on TV yet is bisexuality or ambiguous orientations or transgendered folks (who oddly were a primary impetus in the modern gay rights movement)-- and this show helps change that.

I'd say as long as people like Matthew Shepard are getting killed for being gay, America has a long way to go on this whole area, and the more positive images the mainstream runs across (whether they are stereotypical or not), the better.

Have none of you people actually seen SOAP? (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by Vermifax on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 11:58:37 PM EST

Ran from 1977-1981. Billy Crystal played a main character who was gay.
- Welcome to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack.
[ Parent ]
What about (none / 0) (#89)
by hammock on Thu May 10, 2001 at 10:04:04 PM EST

HooperX in Chasing Amy, or Alyssa Jones for that matter. Of course she was turned straight by the right guy, broken by said guy, and ended the movie being in a relationship with another woman again.

[ Parent ]
I'm a... (1.00 / 1) (#55)
by darthaggie on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 04:40:16 PM EST

...woman trapped in a man's body, but that's OK because I'm a lesbian!

Of course they're selling titillation, not lifestyle. If they where going to sell lifestyle, they'd have her trying to seduce Phoebe into a long-term relationship...

Nowhere does this article mention male homosexual themes

I thought there was a comedy where two of the regulars where gay men...but I couldn't tell you what is called...

should this be considered a win, or an insult to homosexual rights advocates?

They've entered the TV sexploitation sweepstakes. Straight women have suffered this for years...

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.

It's both. (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by infinitesin on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 05:43:00 AM EST

On the left, coming in from the liberal perspective, its tolerance! Obviously, we're living in a more accepting and open society. If you watch TV Land, you'll notice that they don't even show married people sleeping in the same bed until around 1965. And they're married! They wouldn't even have a gay character back then, and in the short course of about 30 years, a gay character is almost routine. Its analogous to the standards for language. Almost every show after 8 PM features some quick shots using "ass", but back in the day, such a thing would probably get some poor writer fired.

And on the right, its also ratings. I remember when Ellen came out on her show. Her ratings spiked like Anna Kournikova's nipples after she walks into a meat locker, and then promptly dropped like my self-esteem. Regardless of the levels of increasing acceptance, its still taboo in more conservative circles, and hence, its going to stir up some contraversy. And we all know contraversy equals ratings. Why else was there Temptation Island? Some how I think watching them play Connect Four wouldn't have cut it.
--
"Just wait until tomorrow..I guess that's what they all say..just before they fall apart.."

More examples (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by eann on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 12:09:01 PM EST

One of the students on PBS's excellent new sorta-documentary series American High is openly gay. It's not flaunted or anything, it just is. He's a little (okay, a lot) stereotypical, but what do you want from a high school kid who's trying to figure out how he fits into the world?

Of course, I can't help but think of Ricky from My So-Called Life. But that was a great show, too.

The ER episodes I saw a few weeks ago didn't seem too bad. And I'm sure I've seen another show recently where they did a good job of allowing for a homosexual character without barraging us with silly affectations, but I don't remember what it was.

Then again, there's almost always a gay person on Real World and Survivor and whatever other crap shows are currently pandering to the lowest common denominator in pop culture. So I tend to agree with what almost everyone else has said: sometimes there are homosexuals on TV because it sells (and using whatever sells has been standard policy for networks for a very long time), and sometimes it's a serious and thoughtful treatment (which is definitely a change over the last couple decades).

As for Friends, well, in general, sitcoms aren't very good at serious and thoughtful treatments.


Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


Sit-Com TV not worthy of K5 front pages (1.40 / 10) (#67)
by jglassco on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 08:35:25 PM EST

Whoever promoted this to the front page should go to moderator hell, and have all of their karma refunded for a month. I'd rather hear nails scratching a blackboard than listen to the whiney simps on Friends.
Save the world, kill Microsoft!


Homosexuality != Money (3.00 / 2) (#68)
by rhughes on Sat Apr 21, 2001 at 11:35:21 PM EST

I don't think that television shows that depict homosexuals is really an attempt at selling sex. Instead, I see the newer TV shows integrating alternate lifestyles into their premise in an attempt to make the shows more interesting and comical.

I would have to say that the paramount case where sex isn't being sold to hetersexual males is the show 'Will and Grace' that depicts a homosexual male as a main character and other homosexuals as supporting characters. Granted the fact that many men aren't enthusiastic about the show, as reading any issue of Maxim or Stuff would show, the fact that the show stays on the air is extremely significant.

You see, the addition of alternative lifestyles to sitcoms is just another step that our society is making toward becoming socially liberal. This gradual ascent has roots in the ending of slavery, women's suffrage, civil rights, etc. For some statistics that motivate this same argument for homosexuality, we know that in the past 20 years the support for homosexuality in America has increased by 20%, 83% of Americans feel that homosexuals should have equal opportunities in the job place, and that the percentages of Americans who say that homosexuals should be hired as salespersons, doctors, members of the President's cabinet, the armed forces, high school teachers, elementary school teachers, and clergy have all increased quite significantly in the past 20 years. (Source: Gallup)

It seems to be that homosexuality on television is a socital change, and not an attempt at money grubbing. Even if airing such TV shows is only a capital venture, it goes to show that the root of their success is nested in the fact that our society is becoming much more socially liberal. The shows wouldn't stay afloat if this was not the case.

"tolerant"?! (4.37 / 8) (#70)
by Mintaka on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 03:50:12 AM EST

I think that if we're going to go into analysis of society, we should start with this post. Why do we even use the word "tolerant"? I mean, the word "tolerate" has a pretty negative connotation: "I don't believe it's okay, but I tolerate it." This is not the aim of the gay community at all; mere toleration is not the final step being moved toward, what the push for gay rights is, is for acceptance and equality. People don't want to have to say "Well, my lifestyle isn't considered right, but it's tolerated," they want to be able to say "My lifestyle is just as normal as everyone else's." To not set your goal as that final step is to fight a worthless battle.

Is this a valid point? I mean, to some people, this is just semantics and not worth arguing about, but personally, that's how I have always read the word "tolerant." Does anyone else agree on this?

Tolerant seems accurate to me (4.00 / 7) (#71)
by Christopher Whitt on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 09:04:57 PM EST

Maybe there is a better word than "tolerance", but I can't think of one right now. While acceptance and equality are ok with me, you seem to want people to approve of homosexuality.
People don't want to have to say "Well, my lifestyle isn't considered right, but it's tolerated," they want to be able to say "My lifestyle is just as normal as everyone else's."
No matter what you and I think on the matter, in a (supposedly) free society, we can't make anybody think or feel the way we want them to about anything.

I think that's ok.

I want others to agree with my views, but it can't be society's goal that everybody should agree with my views. Wishing for uniformity of thought and opinion is moving away from freedom and equality, not towards it.

Christopher
You know the drill - rot13, NO SPAM and all that stuff to email me.
[ Parent ]

tolerance -- lousy word (4.50 / 4) (#76)
by Caffeine on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:03:25 PM EST

I agree. I don't "tolerate" homosexuals; I "tolerate" idiots. I think the best possible word we could pick would "indifference," as in, "You're gay? Straight? Huh, I don't really give a rat's ass."

[ Parent ]
Degrees of toleration (4.00 / 2) (#75)
by keyeto on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:39:34 AM EST

There are several degrees of toleration to queer folk in westren society. On the whole though, the trend is for greater toleration, and to a lesser degree, greater acceptance. Equality still has more to do with the individuals own socio-economic power, so women are still losing badly there, but gay men are rapidly becoming every businessmans favorite DINK.

At one end of the degrees of toleration, there's the Christian Right, and we all know what they think. They certainly go so some effort to get their message out. Fortunately the vast majority of people aren't getting into it.

Then there's a more passive intolerance, where people don't actually hate gay people, and may even be accepting in the abstract. It's just when they get presented with queers being affectionate with each other, it squicks them out some. Seeing straight people do the same can squick them out too, but usually to a lesser degree. This is a kind of prudery, and we can reasonably expect this to follow the trend of less prudery as time passes.

Then there's a weird bunch of people who are not very accepting, and still think there's something wrong with being queer. The unusal bit is that they but don't hate individual queer people, not even when presented with affection in public. When asked what the fuck that's supposed to be about, they usually come out with some bogus peice of evolutionism. It's not an argument that holds water, but they do seem to prefer to have some reason to sustain their abstract dislike of queer people. These people just need to lighten up, and learn some better science.

As far as TV goes, especially sit-coms, the characters are cartoons. You expect the gay men to be a camp screamer, and you expect the dykes to be huge and have shaven heads but unshaven legs. Then there's the other common stereotype, the "bi-curious" woman, who occaisionally sleeps with another woman. Leaving aside from the Christian Right, and a few of the more extreme prudes, this doesn't offend many women, and actually turns on quite a lot of straight men. This is tailor made for TV, just enough controversy to bump the ratings up, without turning off too many potential viewers.

So it's not really about selling sex, it's about attracting more adverts. Always remember that TV stations, and most other forms of media, are in the business of selling the viewers and readers to their advertisers. Sex and sexuality, to whatever degree is acceptable in the media of the time, has always been a good way of attracting consumers and advertisers.


--
"This is the Space Age, and we are Here To Go"
William S. Burroughs
Mainstream Acceptance (4.00 / 4) (#79)
by provolt on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 08:45:57 PM EST

I thought this story from the onion was quite fitting.

Gay Pride Parade

Homosexuals on TV: Are we more tolerant, or is this just "sex sells"? | 91 comments (88 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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