He's Queer, and You HAVE Gotten Used to It
By Bruce Villanch -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/16/2006 8:00:00 PM
Those of us who have been gay since the Paleozoic era before disco, Bravo and Ellen remember those wistful gatherings in smartly decorated apartments of yore, when everybody would hunker around the little colored box to watch Crystal and Alexis duke it out in the fountains of their big fake estates on Dynasty.
“Wouldn't it be great if we could have a channel where we could see this sort of thing 24 hours a day?” we would say. Now we've got at least half a dozen of them, and we're too busy lying about ourselves in chat rooms to care.
For every gay person I know who has memorized every episode of Will & Grace, there is one who has to be reminded that it's still on the air. Some gay people tell me that they're mad at Ellen DeGeneres because she used to be so gay but now she never mentions it. When her sitcom became solely about her lesbian dating problems, many of these same people told me that they thought she was going overboard and alienating straights. The fact that Ellen doesn't have to lean on that aspect of her life anymore must scare them.
Can you be a famous gay person and not use your sexuality as the center of your persona? In that case, why bother being publicly gay at all? We need to be visible, but does being so visible somehow create invisibility?
Excuse me, I must lie down. OK, I'm back.
Here's another dilemma for you. Gay people who won't watch Logo. Yeah, that's right. They won't watch the gay-targeted network because they hate the bleeping.
They are a market that has been accustomed to seeing movies that matter to them on the only channels that will show them, the premium channels that don't bleep. Now comes a channel that says it is programming specifically for them, and it winds up bleeping movies.
After years of quietly pushing envelopes and awkwardly elbowing open the floodgates that lead to the mainstream, we find that we are being included, even targeted (in a good way) as never before. We thought this was what we wanted.
Older gays—I know, it's an expression that never may be uttered, but forgive me this once—pine for the days when they were culturally more marginalized and therefore special. Younger ones don't understand what the big deal is, as they've grown up with this stuff.
And the rest of us, who are trying to reconcile our desire for legitimate political equality with our need to remain a unique strand in the American cultural tapestry, are, like everybody else, wondering if the puppy ate the remote, if Rogaine really works and if our children are watching too many CSI shows.
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