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Opinions of the Homosexual Community

 

McPhearson of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Student Services Association states, “I am pleased that society is making strides to include gay men on television. Visibility is vital to making LGBT people more accepted as a whole.”

Steven Seidman, author of Beyond the Closet , is also an advocate for visibility. He quotes a culture critic, Daniel Mendelsohn, “Twenty years ago … my gay friends and I would have made the time to watch anything that promised a gay sensibility, gay subplots, gay characters … That's how hungry we were to see ourselves reflected in … network TV—to feel that media validation, to feel that we were visible … Twenty years later, there are so many gay films …, gay books, gay plays, gay TV characters and subplots, and now gay TV shows, that you wouldn't be able to keep up with them if you wanted to.” Although Seidman discusses his discontentment with the portrayal of gay men in the media, he does state that this surge of homosexuals in the media “speaks to broader changes in the social status of lesbians and gay men.”

According to Brian Funk “At present, most representations of gay men on television are necessarily educative and informative, and gay people are depicted, for the most part, as normal likable characters. Television is a medium that reaches a mass audience and the purpose of homophile television programs or program episodes serves to tackle homophobia by educating and informing this mass audience about gay and sexuality-related issues. Therefore, programs that depict gay characters are primarily targeted toward a heterosexual audience. Presently, there is an increasing visibility of gay and lesbian characters in television programs.” Although the argument is made that that the “flaming” stereotypes are both demeaning and negative toward the homosexual community many of these prime-time television shows are targeted toward the heterosexual community: through visibility comes tolerance and through tolerance comes acceptance. On the same note prime-time television shows are primarily entertainment and should not be an independent source of education about social issues. These shows are dramatized to increase ratings and should be evaluated accordingly. {back}

 
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