Friday, 29 April 2016
SAVING HOPE Please Give Up!
The writers for the Canadian television show Saving Hope have come up with a pledge to improve the representation of LGBT people on television. Their pledge seems to me to be a case of way too little, way too late
The recent death of a lesbian character on The 100 has caused young (presumably queer) youth to harm themselves. Adam Pettle (writer) and Noelle Carbone (producer) state that “queer characters are so underrepresented on television that killing off even one makes a tremendous negative impact.” They go on to say “it perpetuates a message of despair when what we really should be saying is, ‘Hang in there. It gets better!’”
First of all I don’t think that writers should be making pacts with other writers and producers to write one particular type of story or version of life. Life is hard, eh? Does it serve anyone to whitewash it and make it look pretty when it’s not? And though I’m sure gay youth have it tough these days, protecting them from certain images and ideas is simply going to do further damage to their tender psyches. In this digital age it’s all about how many people give a thumbs up on Youtube. But entertainment only approaches art when it sails in uncharted territory. Trigger warnings on TV we don’t need — they will only make our TV shows more banal than ever before.
And why present gay and lesbian characters in nothing but positive situations — when the world is getting worse for queer people?
New anti-gay hate laws are now on the books in Indiana, Arizona, Mississippi, and Georgia, allowing employers to discriminate against queer people in the name of ‘religious freedom.’ Kids everywhere are still afraid to tell their parents they are gay, because they know they might get kicked out of the house. Gay men right now are seeing a serious epidemic and drug usage (crystal meth is rampant ). What about all the confusion about AIDS and condom-less sex and PrEP? What about the criminalization of AIDS? And I don’t know how to tell you this, but our future can look pretty bleak sometimes, because after struggling with AIDS for thirty years, we queers are brimful of guilt, shame and anxiety about something that just used to be lots of fun — sex!
Anyway, it shouldn't be about fostering greater gay and lesbian representation on straight TV shows; it should be about throwing old straight TV shows in the trash and creating new and fantastic Gay and Lesbian TV shows and movies, PERIOD!
Why not have TV shows that feature only gay and lesbian characters and delve into the complex details of our postmodern lives?
Wouldn’t straight people want to watch these shows?
Come on. For years gays and lesbians have been enduring straight TV shows, trying to sympathize with all their straight-people-problems — and doing a pretty good job of it. Why can’t straight people watch shows about gays and lesbians and try reading their lives into ours?
A good start might be if mainstream reviewers stopped criticizing gay and lesbian stories because they are gay. For instance, Norman Wilner in this week’s Now Magazine trashes a movie called Viva (about a gay hustler drag queen) as “just a bog-standard indie about a son coming out to his disapproving father.” Wow Mr. Wilner. How many movies have you seen that feature the ol' ‘bog standard’ plot line ‘boy loves girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl’?
It’s time for straight people to open up their minds and hearts and sex lives. People sure seem to love opening themselves up to other cultures these days (My Big Fat Greek Wedding was one the most popular movies of all time and spawned a recent piece-of-garbage sequel). Why not take some tips from queer culture?
Where are all the gay and lesbian TV and movie writers, producers, actors and actresses?
Why don’t they come out and start creating shows about themselves?
(Noelle Carbone, why not take a lesson from Christine Vachon?)
And now that Leonardo di Caprio finally won an Oscar — is he also finally going to admit he’s a fag?
These are the serious questions on my mind, while Saving Hope prays for more positive role models.