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Glee’s Chris Colfer wins Golden Globe and Delivers Anti-Bullying Message

January 16, 2011 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Quick Bits

I’m an admitted Gleek, in spite of the ups and downs with the show.  I’m thrilled to see more positive messages than we’ve seen from say, “Queer as Folk.”   Tonight, Chris Colfer [Kurt], won a Golden Globe.  His short acceptance speech was dedicated in part to “All the amazing kids… who are constantly told ‘no’ by the people in their environments, by bullies at school, that they can’t be who they are or have what they want because of who they are, well, screw that kids.”

Here’s the clip:

Will Glee Get Away with Transphobic Remark? Yeah, Probably.

October 27, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Thought of the Gay

Last night, Fox Network’s show Glee took on the challenge of a Rocky Horror tribute.  As a Gleek and a Rocky fan, I was excited to see the show, particularly to get to see who had the great honor of dressing up as Dr. Frankfurter.  I was pleasantly surprised by Finn (played by Cory Monteith) dressed up as Brad and playing the awkward, but surprisingly attractive dork we’ve all come to love.  Perhaps more surprising was Mike Chang’s (Harry Shum, Jr.) offer to play the famed Dr. Frankfurter.  I gasped at the thought of him prancing around in fishnets and leather.  Then, disappointment and, dare I say, horror, hit when Mike not only advised that he cannot play Frankfurter in the performance, but that it was because his parents didn’t want him “dressing up like a tranny.”

The line could have easily been altered or perhaps left with an implication to the audience (as it’s generally obvious why a conservo-head parent would object to their son dressing up as Dr. Frankfurter).  Perhaps it could have been “dressing up in fishnet stockings” or “revealing that much of my body publicly,”  but no… it was the T-bomb and highly inappropriate.

I take great offense to the use of the word tranny (and even reluctantly use it here); although, I admit that many transgender people often use it to describe themselves.  Regardless of context, I flinch at the word.  It is the “T” equivalent of “fag” in my opinion – and the opinion of many of my dearest T friends.  Perhaps even more shocking was the silence.

During the episode, my Facebook wall and twitter stream exploded with “Rocky this” and “Glee” that, but upon the pronouncement of the T-bomb, not a soul, sans perhaps myself, said one thing about it.  Imagine, if you would, that the writers of the show had changed Mike’s line slightly to say, “”I really want to do it, but they’re just not cool with me dressing up like a fag.”  The outrage from my LGB brothers and sisters would have been evident.  Queerty, Americablog, Bilerico and all the others would have rushed to be the first to stand up against the outrageous line and demand an apology (in spite of the fact the show is generally “gay mecca”).

So where is the outrage?  Where are the demands for an apology?  The silence is not music to my ears.

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Glee Creator Calls for Newsweek Boycott: Gay Actors Can’t Pass in Straight Roles

May 12, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Thought of the Gay

Newsweek Boycott?Before the world knew that Neil Patrick Harris was gay, we graciously accepted his heterosexual role as Doogie Hauser and his brilliantly hyper-masculine performance in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.  However, according to a recent Newsweek article, gays just can’t play the role of straight people and pull it off.

The Newsweek article, written by a gay man, Ramin Setoodeh, claims:

…the truth is, openly gay actors still have reason to be scared. While it’s OK for straight actors to play gay (as Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger did in Brokeback Mountain), it’s rare for someone to pull off the trick in reverse.

In a recent letter to Newsweek, Glee creator, Ryan Murphy, called for a boycott of the magazine and demanding an apology stating:

This article is as misguided as it is shocking and hurtful. It shocks me because Mr. Setoodeh is himself gay. But what is the most shocking of all is that Newsweek went ahead and published such a blatantly homophobic article in the first place…and has remained silent in the face of ongoing (and justified) criticism. Would the magazine have published an article where the author makes a thesis statement that minority actors should only be allowed and encouraged to play domestics? I think not.

In response to the call for a boycott, one misguided commenter had this to say:

No matter what the gay will always bring that fact in front.  They have all this media dedicated to them, awards that they only award to them and many other things.  So when a gay dude do something he is no longer doing the part, he is also promoting homosexuality, all the gays appreciate him. [sic throughout]

The seeds of homophobia were planted eons ago and ring clear in this commenter’s remarks.  To the heterosexists, every action a gay person takes is simply to promote being gay.  In last night’s Glee, Kurt summed this up nicely, “I am not a box. There are more than four sides to me.”  This complexity of the human condition has been summarized over and over again, including in my favorite quote of Walt Whitman that I invoke far too often:

Do I contradict myself, very well then, I contradict myself.  I am large. I contain multitudes.

But to the heterosexist, gays are nothing more than gays.  We are not complex humans, but merely sexually deprived persons seeking to push our agenda on the rest of the world.  If we were to sit quietly reading a newspaper in the park, heterosexists would run a T.V. special on “Perverts in the Park” – a show which was handled by KENS-TV Channel 11, San Antonio, in 1996.  In fact, shortly after the airing of the “Perverts in the Park” segment, a male friend and I decided to spend the afternoon at the park walking the hiking trials.  As we entered the park by car, a group of people took note of two men, came running toward the car screaming “perverts,” and wielded signs with further derogatory comments.  Our day of hiking was spoiled because we were no more than one-side of a box – the homosexual side.

What we seem to be complaining about with the Newsweek article is that it perpetuates this idea that gays have no depth outside of our sexual orientation. We are simply faggots, queers, perverts and sinners – a class of person which deserves no respect.  The article’s point, simply put, is that an out gay actor cannot be accepted in a straight role.  In that respect, it is true. The majority cannot perceive “gay” people as much more than just “gay” people (just look to votes on same-sex marriage rights, the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell if you won’t take my word for it).

While an out gay actor may have the range and ability to play it straight, heterosexists cannot see past sexual orientation.  This is not the fault of the character playing gay, it’s the fault of the social stigma associated with being gay.  Once a person is out, they are all too often exclusively defined by their sexual orientation.

In fact, sexual orientation is such a defining matter when it is anything but “heterosexual” that there is no need for confirmation from the queerly-accused before society starts scoffing.  Take Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, as an example.  While we’ve heard a bit about her judicial experience, pro-international law viewpoint and go-go executive branch policies, we’ve mostly heard accusations or denials about her sexual orientation.  Even the White House has intervened, stating that Kagan is not gay.  So, why the big uproar?  Because, as politicians know too well, if Kagan is gay, she is nothing more to the majority of Americans.  Her talents, education and abilities cease to matter and her sexual orientation is the only defining factor needed to deny her a position on the highest court of the United States.

Everything Mississippi Should Have Learned from Glee.

April 30, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Youth Issues

Ceara Sturgis denied photograph in High School Yearbook

Ceara Sturgis Class of 2010. Congratulations Ceara on your graduation from all of us at jaysays.com!

It’s starting to seem like the State of Mississippi has declared an outright war on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.  This bully pulpit is evident in numerous decisions by school districts to exclude openly LGBT kids from school activities.

There’s the obvious and well publicized case of Constance McMillen, an openly lesbian student at Itawamba Agricultural High School (“IAHS”), who, after receiving notice that same-sex couples would not be allowed at the school’s prom, requested permission from school officials to take a same-sex date.  School officials knew they couldn’t legally deny her request, but to prevent her from taking the date she wanted to (and from wearing a tux) they canceled the event all together.  The school eventually had two proms, sending Constance and a few other students to one and the rest of the students to another.

Of course, this wasn’t the first attack at IAHS against LGBT students and won’t likely be the last.  Prior to Constance there was Juin Baize, who was suspended for being biologically male but wearing make-up and woman’s clothing.

It seems it’s now Copiah County School District’s turn at the bully pulpit.  Graduating senior, Ceara Sturgis, not only had her photograph removed from the yearbook because of her choice to wear a tuxedo and sport a “male” hairstyle, but there was no mention of her in the yearbook.

That story line may sound a bit familiar to my fellow Gleeks?  In the Mattress episode of Glee, Rachel wanted the Glee Club photo included in the yearbook; however, Sue Sylvester objected stating that it would subject the student’s photos to graffiti and humiliation (her real purpose wasn’t so noble).  History had not been kind to the outcasts of the Glee Club as photographs were defaced with mean commentary by fellow students; essentially because the vast majority felt that the Glee Club was representative of the outcasts, the geeks, the nerds and the homos.  Unlike in Mississippi, however, the Glee photograph made it into the yearbook.

While no state is immune to bigotry, Mississippi has long since had a reputation for racism, homophobia and sexism that is virtually unchallengeable.  Through the “Christian Identity Movement,” many Mississippians have excused their hate in the guise of religion. Members of my own family from the state have preached the soullessness of the black man (the Curse of Ham), women’s servitude of man, and homophobia in the name of Biblical law.  While it must be stated that not all Mississippians feel the same, it certainly seems to be a prevalent and recurring issue.

Maybe it’s time we give Mississippi a little dose of Glee – Equality style.