Wonderful Dallas Voice Article: Gay & Lesbian Characters On Television Still Too White Lacking Racial Diversity.
NBC’s sitcom The New Normal breaks new ground this week as the first mainstream show starring same-sex parents — two gay dads. ABC’s Modern Family, which features two gay dads in its ensemble cast, won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series last year. Yet these shows, for all the tremendous good they are doing to raise the visibility of lesbian and gay parents and our children, follow a tradition of mainstream depictions of LGBT parents as upper middle class and white. When will we see LGBT parents of color, or LGBT families in lower income brackets?
Most of the best-known regular or semi-regular gay and lesbian parents on TV are white and at least reasonably well off. They include: Melanie and Lindsay of Showtime’s Queer as Folk, Michael and Ben of the same, Carol and Susan of Friends, Leslie and Maureen of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, Abby and Kathy of ABC’s NYPD Blue, Laurie of Ellen (the ’90s ABC sitcom), Fran and Kal of the HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk II, Janine and Sandy of the Lifetime movie What Makes a Family, and Nora and Anne of ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, as well as Cam and Mitchell of Modern Family and Bryan and David of The New Normal.
The new lesbian mom on TV this fall, Anne of NBC’s Go On, is dealing with the death of herpartner — a fresh and worthy plotline. But she, too, adds no color to our palette.
We have seen just a few lesbian and gay parents who are people of color or multiracial. They, too, are always solidly middle class — and always one half of a couple with a white person: Sandy and Kerry of ER (Sandy is Latina; Kerry is white), Callie and Arizona of Grey’s Anatomy (Callie is Latina; Arizona is white), Keith and David of HBO’s Six Feet Under (Keith is black; David is white), Bette and Tina of The L Word (Bette has a white mother and a black father; Tina is white), and Hiram and LeRoy (Rachel’s dads) of Glee (Hiram is white; LeRoy’s race is never specified, but actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, who plays him, is African-American, German, Scottish and Native American).
Gay and lesbian parents in mainstream movies are also a white bunch. They include Nic and Jules of the Academy Award-nominated The Kids Are All Right (2010), Robert of The Next Best Thing (2000), Armand of The Birdcage (1996), Renato of La Cage aux Folles (1978), and Tick of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994). A rare exception is Wai-Tung of The Wedding Banquet (1993), who is Taiwanese (but whose partner, Simon, is white).
The only fictional same-sex parents on TV who are both people of color are Kima and Cheryl of HBO’s The Wire and Eddie and Chance of Noah’s Arc. Noah’s Arc did not run on a general-interest network, however. It was broadcast first on LGBT-focused network Logo and rebroadcast one summer on BET J, a spinoff of the Black Entertainment Network.
The truth is far different. Researchers at UCLA’s Williams Institute have found that black and Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples are roughly twice as likely to be raising children as white ones. (There is little data on transgender parents or single gay and lesbian parents.)
And children being raised by same-sex couples are twice as likely to live in poverty as children being raised by married, opposite-sex parents. We rarely see those aspects of our community on TV or film, however.
On a possibly promising note, though, singer and actor Jennifer Lopez is producing The Fosters, a pilot for ABC Family that features a lesbian couple with a “multi-ethnic mix” of four foster, adoptive and biological kids. It is unknown what race or ethnicity the parents are. Lopez, who is Latina, will not be one of them, but perhaps her influence will mean they show some variety. Deadline.com has also reported that one of the mothers is a cop, and the other is a private school teacher — moderate-paying jobs that could mean it is hard for them to support their large family.
The problem, of course, is not just with depictions of LGBT parents, but of LGBT people in general. But gay and lesbian parents are a hot item right now, as witnessed by the success of The Kids Are All Right and Modern Family, and the buzz about The New Normal and The Fosters. I hope their success leads to more new shows — shows that highlight even more facets of real LGBT families.
I welcome The New Normal and know it will help people continue to see lesbian and gay parents as part of the tapestry of American life. Such representation is vitally important. But until mainstream America can see LGBT people in all our diversity — and not simply as LGBT reflections of the White, upper-middle-class American ideal — we will not have made progress toward true equality for our whole community.
In fact, insofar as media images of LGBT parents continue to reinforce being white and upper-middle-class as the ideal, they may be hindering progress towards the broader goal of inclusion for all people.
The problem is not with any one show or film — but collectively, they create an image that is not that of our multiracial, multiethnic, economically varied America.
Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian (www.mombian.com), an award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBT parents.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 14, 2012.
Brant Daugherty the star of the television show Pretty Little Liars is guest starring on Days of Our Lives. Brant’s character Brian shows up at the pub and grills Will Horton about not being comfortable being gay. Brian accuses Will of preferring to be perceived Stefano Dimera’s killer than be openly gay . Sonny is jealous that Brian and Will hang out at the Salem gay bar the Spot with another gay guy Neil.
After Will leaves the pub, Brian and Sonny have a heated conversation about Will. Brian seems attracted to Sonny since he is out and proud to be gay.
Brian senses that Sonny is very attracted to Will and he tells Sonny he acts like a gay mentor instead of a potential boyfriend. Furthermore, Brian warns Sonny that Will Horton has a lot of baggage.
I think the new character Brian is needed to spice up the Will and Sonny storyline. Since Sonny was introduced to the audience as a gay character he hasn’t kissed another guy, had sex with another man, or even been on a date with a guy. Brian is very blunt but he might be the catalyst to push Will and Sonny together.
Blind Item: Oprah OWN Network Losing Millions Of Dollars & She Interviews Trashy Kardashian Family!!!
The Stench of Desperation
[BlindGossip] A few years ago, this celebrity swore she would have nothing to do with all those “sleazy reality stars.” She told friends that reality stars had no talent, made no contribution to making the world a better place, that their antics were “disgusting”, and that she didn’t want to spend one minute of her life thinking about them or being involved with them.
Fast forward a few years and a few failures later, and she now has a whole new attitude. She is currently in deep discussions with the three reigning kings of reality television. What is she doing? Trying to become the Reality Queen! In addition to her recent reality dabbling, she is trying to bring aboard some star friends to do a reality show to mend their reputation. She is also considering staging the ultimate reality stunt herself: Her own wedding.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! She doesn’t have a perfume, but, if she did, it would be called… Desperation.
My Guess: This is an easy blind because it is so obvious since everyone knows Oprah’s OWN Network is losing millions of dollars. Oprah is getting more desperate interviewing Whitney Houston’s daughter a few weeks after her mother died.
I thought that was very low of Oprah to talk to Bobbi Kristina when the kid was probably still in shock that Whitney is dead.
Now Oprah interviewed the Kardashian family. Oprah is a bit hypocritical because she always presented the image that she is above tabloid garbage.
Three Kings: Andy Cohen, Ryan Seacrest, Mark Burnett
Recent Reality Dabbling: Oprah interview with the trashy Kardashian family.
Star Friends: John Travolta or Tom Cruise
Wedding To: Stedman Oprah male beard.
Grandpa Bob Rae Clears The Path For Sexy Justin Trudeau To Become New Leader Of Liberal Party In Canada!!!
Bob Rae the interim Liberal leader made the right decision last week to not run to be the full time leader of the party. Bob Rae is sixty four years old he is simply too old to reach a younger generation. Rae is not popular in the province of Ontario he was the former Premier of the New Democratic Party back in the early 1990s. Rae is not popular in Quebec either.
The Liberal party needs someone young, intelligent, and attractive to breathe new life into Canadian politics. Justine Trudeau of course is only forty years old, he has political experience but he also has the youth necessary to reach a younger Canadian generation.
Trudeau is bilingual, he grew up in Quebec and he has an effervescent personality which can translate into votes.
Trudeau is still reticent about whether he will run for the Liberal party leadership. I strongly believe the Liberal party needs a younger person forty or under to be the new leader. The public is tired of old farts such as Bob Rae.
Breaking News: Tennis Star David Nalbandian Disqualified For Hurting Linesman During Queens Final In London!!!
David Nalbandian of Argentina was disqualified in the finals of the Queens grass court event in London for injuring a linesman. Nalbandian was leading Marin Cilic 7-6 3-4 but he got upset and kicked a sign. The linesman leg was bleeding and immediately he was disqualified from the event.
I am sure David is embarrassed and he should be for this shameful behaviour! Why couldn’t Nalbandian keep his emotions in check? He was so close to winning the title anyway? David basically wasted an entire week of playing good tennis!
According to ATP rules, Nalbandian will not get any ranking points and I don’t think he will get prize money either. I think the International Tennis Federation or the ATP Tour might suspend David from Wimbledon? The players have to learn this kind of behaviour is unprofessional and disgraceful!