Gays Fighting for Accurate, Deeper Roles in Television

Finally, gays and lesbians are portrayed in a positive role on television.

After years of being invisible or the subject of jokes, we are now seen as everyday people. Just as other minorities have had to fight for their right to be seen as proper role models and as commonplace, so now the fight comes to show lesbians and gays the same way.

Unfortunately, some people want to return to television when June Cleaver wore pearls while vacuuming.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has been working against the push for a Homosexual Content (HC) label before a television program begins with a gay or lesbian character. Executive director of GLAAD, Joan Garry, said, "The notion of adding a distinct label for 'homosexual content' is clearly based on ignorance and prejudice. Such a label could only serve to stigmatize members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender community by suggesting that something is inherently wrong with them."

Media-driven ministries, such as the Dr. Laura radio show, want to associate gays and lesbians with sex. This serves to fuel those who wish to put the HC label in place.

We are still somewhat portrayed as superficial in the media. GLAAD reports 28 lesbian and gay characters on broadcast and cable networks for the 1999-2000 season, the majority of these in small recurring roles. Gay and lesbian teens deserve to be shown with the wholeness they have, instead of feeling shamed and attacked. New ideas often frighten people.

No longer do people do their homework, but instead make instant decisions. Media-driven ministries continually quote sources that were written before gays and lesbians risked - or were permitted - to write about our own lives. The truth needs to come from the source.

©2010 by Joe Kort

Related: Issues, Books

Psychotherapist Joe Kort, MA, MSW, has been in practice since 1985. He specializes in Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy as well as IMAGO Relationship Therapy, which is a specific program involving communication exercises designed for couples to enhance their relationship and for singles to learn relationship skills. He also specializes in sexual addiction, childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse, depression and anxiety. He offers workshops for couples and singles. He runs a gay men's group therapy and a men's sexuality group therapy for straight, bi and gay men who are struggling with specific sexual issues. His therapy services are for gays and lesbians as well as heterosexuals. His articles and columns have appeared in The Detroit Free Press, Between the Lines Newspaper for Gays and Lesbians, The Detroit News, The Oakland Press, The Royal Oak Mirror, and other publications. Besides providing therapy for individuals and couples, he conducts a number of groups and workshops for gay men. Now an adjunct professor teaching Gay and Lesbian Studies at Wayne State University's School of Social Work, he is doing more writing and workshops on a national level. He is the author of 10 Smart Things Gay Men can do to Improve Their Lives and 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Find Real Love. or E-Mail

* Gaydar (gay'.dahr, n.): (1) The ability that lets gays and lesbians identify one other. (2) This column--where non-gay readers can improve their gaydar, learning more about gay men's psychology and social lives. Also, (3) a regular feature where gay readers can discover the many questions and hassles their straight counterparts--and themselves--must face!

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