According to the latest bean counters at the Census Bureau the level of acceptance of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community by the general population in the United States has never been higher.
So why it that the news is chocked full of woe-is-me news about things such as Chas Bono is appearing on Dancing with the Stars and fewer gay and lesbian characters appearing in prime-time television shows?
It seems that those scales of acceptance can tip ever so slightly between “so what?” and “this went too far!”
Let’s face it: Gay and lesbian have been done in almost every flavor from “flaming” (think Will & Grace) to “real life” (think “The L Word”).
It isn’t that gays and lesbians are being discriminated against because of their reduced character appearance on television. The issue is that the population is just becoming accustomed to seeing homosexuals and it isn’t necessary to center all stories around them anymore. Straight people get the point now as proved by the census report. At first it was a novelty, or as Hollywood writers put it; a “hook”, but now it’s become so commonplace that people expect it and it isn’t anything unusual or novel anymore.
In other words: We Won!
The one thing that seems to be the “black face” hang-on in Hollywood is the transgender person.
With a few choice exceptions such as TransAmerica (and even that film was way over the top as far as a transgender person as the constant victim and generally pathetic) and the Crying Game the transgender person always seems to be the punch line to a joke or the “surprise” when a straight guy accidently falls in love with a transgender and finds out she has the wrong equipment and freaks out.
Yes, it’s wrong for a transgender to lead a straight guy on and not tell him but that isn’t the point. I would hope most transgender women don’t do that.
The point is that transgender people are the ones who have been traditionally kicked under the bus not only by the straight community but by gay and lesbian community as well.
I can’t help but cringe every time I see a transgender character in a television show or a movie. I keep waiting for the plot to unravel and see the transgender get cut loose as the object of the joke or hurt or killed at the end of the story.
My mind winds back to a theater in 1974 when Christopher Morley played a psychotic but very passable transvestite and the entire audience stood up and cheered when James Caan brutally unloaded his revolver into him in a bloodbath that was not only unnecessary but visually symbolic of majority feelings toward femininity in gender born males.
I can clearly remember feeling shame at being a human being and wondering how much soap and water it would take to wash the testosterone off the walls after the lights came up.
Although people can accept that most gay men now look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime and if you call them “pansy” they will bend you into a pretzel. Only stupid people ask the question of lesbians; “Which one of you is the man?” and almost every person in America thinks that the Reverend Fred Phelps should be tied to the back of a Harley Davidson and dragged through a cactus patch. Just ask the Patriot Guard Riders who show up at almost every veterans or active duty funeral to block those (expletive deleted) from spreading their hate. Tip of the hat to you folks.
The one thing that not even good portions of the gay and lesbian community seem to be able to fathom is gender expression when carried to the extreme of transsexualiaty. Drag Queens: Hey! Everybody loves a good camp drag show! Lesbian bars thrive on them and gay bars seem to love them. Even straight bars have come to find degree of humor in them in places like Hamburger Mary’s around the country but give the average homosexual or heterosexual male the opportunity of even ½ a second to think about cutting off their penis and you can hear the sharp breaths and see the legs crossing from Los Angeles to New York.
Now wouldn’t it be nice if the HRC, GLAAD and the television networks were a bit more concerned with showing transgender people as they really are instead of making them into jokes, points of ridicule or ridiculous creatures that are too camp to be believed?
By Stephanie Donald
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