OP: Thoughts on tv portrayal of gay people?

This question is primarily aimed towards the gay men and women on this board: how do you feel about the portrayal of the gay community on television? The main show that comes to my mind is Will and Grace. This show, as well as some others, seems to exhibit gay men as highly effemmanate (sorry if I spelled it wrong!) and often sexually promiscuous. The few gay men that I know show none of these characteristics and I was wondering if they are in the minority or if these television shows are just perpetuating a stereotype.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:49


I'm not gay and I couldn't really tell you if it was offensive or not.

But, I will say that TV/movie does the stereotypical gay because if they didn't, people in general wouldn't know that they were gay.
Society in general thinks that every gay man is some type of flamboyant person. All sorts of girly. If they didn't portray them this way in the movies and on TV, people wouldn't get it and people would never figure out that they were gay.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:49

mate and i were talking bout this the other day sort of. i find our lesbian friends to be more on the serious side of things and are not as open in showing that side of themselves.
not sure exactly why we have so different of mood when only change is the difference of company gender.
not to say the gals stomp around hard ass dyke like or try to giggle act like silly prissy frillies. the gals have shown affection towards each other in our presence, hugged, kissed, held arms and hand.... have never seen that with the guys. the guys are more intune with issues of interest to both guys and gals. they share the best recipes, know where to get a sale on sheets, can debate best performance car parts and specs allll day, they watch football and monday morning quarterback on fumbles and hot tight ends butt look sssoooo good he must do millions of squeezes a day keep it so cute.... the gals generally keep a better conversation on general topics like how much their utilities were this month and speak more on whats new with other folks they run into or work with.... a lot more reserved about asking for my secret recipe for brownies or they saw a pair of shoes to match something... or maybe my brother can find a door hinge for that car if you still need one cuz going to the auto show.... seems the guys are good to go and tit for tat and darlin will you please do something with that plant 1/2 dead over there, gals dont seem as receptive to show their view or hear expressions of view anything male or female related. as a straight gal wanting a good good gay friend, like grace i think id go with the guy. mate seconds my sentiments as he too believes it would be a better friendship between him and a gay guy.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:49

i have a LOT of gay friends. i am bisexual myself, and i think that television portrays all gay people as really flamboyant, which i have not noticed a lot. sometimes its like that, but most of my gay friends i had no idea they were gay at first..until they told me. i think the reason television portrays gay people like it does is because they want it to be funny. i think that its really disrespectful actually.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:49

Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart...lol.

Do I, personally, find gay representations on television (and movies) offensive? I want to say, "Yes", but it's a fine line to walk.

You bring up the "main" show on television today- "Will and Grace"- and it does get on my nerves. I think the portrayals are very superficial and not at ALL flattering. Lines like, *Karen throws her keys to Will and he just watches them fly past* Grace: "Karen, the gays don't catch." GRRRR... I get the feeling many times that they are laughing "at us" instead of "with us".

Then, there is the whole "sex" issue. Sure they talk about it, but have you EVER seen Will actually romantically kiss another guy? Have you ever seen him seriously in bed with another guy? He kisses Grace (or other women) more than most straight guys. Yet, Grace falls into bed with every guy that comes on the show. Again... GRRR...

However, I have known a "Jack". The character isn't even over the top compared to the guy I knew. I, also, realize that this is supposed to be a comedy and the straight characters don't come off looking so good either. The difference for me- and I KNOW it's not a "fair" one- is that straight people can afford to look bad. Gay people really can't.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'd like to see more of a balance of gay characters. Stereotypes are usually rooted in some fact (God help me, but I love showtunes! LOL), but they don't represent ALL that a group is.

If anyone is interested, my favorite 'gay' movie is Big Eden. It's just plainly a good movie; the main character just happens to be gay.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:50

oberon, hav u ever seen a movie 'before night falls'?
its about a gay poet who died of aids. its a good movie, has some softcore gay porn in it too!

and also thats one thing i dont understand, y do they show straight sex on tv all the time and then people get grossed out by 2 gay guys kissing?


Posted: 02 Oct 20:51

for some reason I can't remember the name... but does anyone watch the show on HBO about the family that runs a funeral home? I want to say the name is Six Feet Under, but I'm not positive. Anyway, there is a gay couple on that show that seems to be the only fair representation of the gay community (at least of the homosexuals that I know).

another question: How do you feel about terms like "the gays", "homos", "dykes", "queers", "carpet muchers", etc. ? When, if ever is it okay to use these terms? Are some of them like the "N" word, in which I mean that its okay for you to say it if you are one, but not okay if you aren't?

If I have offended anyone, it wasn't my intention. I'm just curious because I don't really have the opportunity to discuss some of these topics with my friends/family.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:51

i think will and grace is friggin halarious.. and serious if you see it JUST for the gay parts in it... then your gonna probally find it offensive.. but.. i duno Karen.. LAUGHS shes pretty damn funny... i duno.. i think people about Gender.. and about sexuality are too much in an up roar about it, if they would just CHILL, both sides.. taht is.. just chill out and realise it for what it is.. and what it is.. is an equal.. just like color and the SHOW, serious.. its just a SHOW.. we all know that isnt what ALL gay men act like.. but in the show they show BOTH sides.. of a gay man.. or what you might see.. you seea really flamboyant one.. and a more masculine and not flamboyant..? like i think there is a contrast there.. to show.. that you CANT tell.. just cause they might talk girly or something doesnt mean they really are.. i duno tahts just what i think, then again i dont think about it because.. to me its just a show...
and SERIOUSLY.. when i see to men.. i feel weird.. like i dont like seeing it? but i accept it and i think its cool, like good for them lol whatever its no different but to me MENTALLY.. i dont like seeing it.. its like.. "well.. thats kinda weird" LOL cause to me.. i see most men as masculine, i've always seen them WITH a WOMAN.. u know? then seeing them.. being masculine with another man? who might seem more feminine.. its like.. in my mind goes wtf? and with women for some reason it doesnt bother me...? and i honestly don't know why.. but the guys kissing almost creeps me out when i know it shouldnt! well im done ranting i kinda forgot whats going on.. i've been drinking HAHA


Posted: 02 Oct 20:52

Sorry, Lady, but not everyone knows this. You would be amazed at some of the ideas, comments, and questions that people have concerning gay people.

I said I realize this is just a tv show, BUT some people don't seem to understand that. Heck, there are people out there who wanted a rescue party formed to save the castaways on "Gilligan's Island". The fact is many people will take what they see on tv and believe that is what ALL gay people are like. When those portrayals reinforce bad stereotypes, then real people suffer.

Yes, Howard, the show is "Six Feet Under", and I do think it is a better portrayal of a gay couple.

Okay, the "bad" words... Hmmm... It usually takes a lot to offend me, personally. It can be a matter of "it doesn't matter what you call me, it's what I answer to". It also depends on the context in which the word is used. You are correct that it does also make a difference as to who is using the word.

I, certainly, don't find your using the words to ask a question offensive. Nor do I find them particularly offensive when used by friends (gay or straight) in a joking manner. Ex: After work one evening, I was freshening up and spritzed myself with cologne. A lesbian friend questioned, "You carry cologne around with you?" I showed her that I actually had three different types. To which she responded, "You f@g!" I found that funny.

I do find them offensive when used as a put-down or an attempt to be deliberately rude. The examples that I can think of here: "That's so gay!" to indicate that someone has done something badly. It's an obvious derogatory comment. Then, of course, there are those that think it's okay to walk around carrying signs that read, "God hates f@gs".

LOL... yes, Girl12, I've seen "Before Night Falls"... I AM gay, after all...LMAO. It's still novel enough to have a gay movie or television show that whenever one comes out, we tend to know about it and tell our friends.

It was okay... it falls into that "gay/AIDS" catagory that sometimes gets on my nerves. If you look at the movies out there that feature gay characters, too many seem to center around AIDS- in my opinion.

That's one of the reasons that I love the movie "Big Eden". It's just a love story. Pure and simple.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:54

Hi Soulmates,

If you don't want to offend anyone and yet want to cut down on the typing (lol) the correct term is "gay". It's not "flip" or rude.

I, personally, don't like to be referenced as "homosexual"... not that it's rude or offensive, it's just that most straight people who disapprove of gay people tend to use the term. For some reason, they don't seem to be able to just say "gay". Whatever. It doesn't offend me... just when I see it, I tend automatically to think the person is anti-gay.

Finally, the other thing that I noticed is you refer to it as a "preference". Most of us don't think of it that way. It implies that we had a choice. The only choices you have in your sexuality are how you deal with it. Not who you are going to love/be attracted to. If you want to be inoffensive, then the term is "orientation".

Take care.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:54

Oberon - thank you. not to mean i dont care about people, so when i say i could care less who folks are sexually intimate with, i mean it does not matter to my opinion of the persons worth or value or think more or less of them - be it white with black, girl with girl .... in my mind my sexual orientation (thank you for that descriptive term) is "gay" to them. btw - what is the term you would say i am? straight? just wonderig, cuz really never gave any bodies difference in lifestyle than much thought. who am i to say? whos right is it for me to be judging things other folks do?
very good that you remind us that it is not a choice like decide coffee or tea. i for one forget that just like me didnt just wake up one day and think a conscience thought to date a guy - you all didnt eitherr. its "built in" and not like some event said to you - i dated a gal and that relationship was so awful i'll only date guys now on.... THAT has to be the hardest part to get thru our brain. im a wee bit bipolar, my brain is "wired" that way, notthing I did, no event, no thought oh today im start seeing life thru a brain wired this way.... i dont KNOW another way! i cant be "normal" cuz my normal IS to me just as yours is to you. rather bad annology cuz i take meds to "make me more "normal" and meds for gay... but....
i have wondered tho cuz bro-in-law is "gay". always growing up, all up til he got married to a gir!!! they divorced and he - he what? went gay again? or married a gal to try straight or??? not bisexual like my hubby and me 3some w/a gal.... he was not interested in gals ....
may be what gives folks the thought its a choice, one day girl, one day guy - ... cuz we do see others in that types of thing and if guy is with guy, gay - same guy wih gal next date.... hu? we see gay/straight/gay/straight rather than 3some stuation. may be thats how we reason you choose mates by preference as opposed to being orientated one way or other.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:55

Hi Soulmates,

I knew what you meant when you said you "couldn't care less..". I wish more people had that attitude. As for how I, personally, classify sexual orientation, this is from another topic:

As for your brother-in-law, it sounds like he was a gay man who tried to cover by getting married. Because of prejudice, too many gay people end up doing this. It just means people getting hurt.

Yeah, it's a joke among gays that there are only three roles gay men have in Hollywood. You're either dying of AIDS, your the friend of someone dying of AIDS, or you're the female leads funny best friend. lol. One of the sad things is I believe (apart from not wanting to upset the conservatives too much), Tease is right, if they didn't do it this way, no one would know who the gay characters were.

I keep having to remind myself that we've come a long way in a fairly short while. Twenty years ago is was still pretty dangerous to come out. Now- while not 100% safe- at least there is a chance you'll be accepted. Small steps. *sigh*


Posted: 02 Oct 20:56

Damn..i go on vacation for a week and miss all this good posting! hahahah

Ok..as you ALL know, i'm also a gay man (in an 8 year LTR).

I guess i'm more practical than emotional on this subject. YES, it sucks that mainstream TV has to resort to the stereotype of what gay men are like. I won't recount all the examples that were stated in the posts above, but yes, it does suck...but throughout the history of TV, much of societies ablity to accept others (blacks as equals, single mom's, etc) have started out being sterotyped on tv. To the weak minded and intolerant...nothings going to change......but for the vast majority of viewers....the fact of exposing mainstream america to gay men is a GOOD thing.

It takes time for society to modify it's perceptions about many stereotypes....but history show's that the change DOES happen!

Look how much has happend just this year alone, from gay marriage in MA and CA, to the Ellen show - i mean, c'mon....you think that 99% of those watching her don't know she's a lesbian? How about queer eye for the str8 guy? The number one rated show on BRAVO and many episodes have even been shown on NBC!

So, yea, it can be irritating at times when you see the stereotypes on tv....but overall....the more exposure we see, the better it will be in the long run!


Posted: 02 Oct 20:56

Hi Rawbob!

I wondered what your take on this would be... it's very similar to something I've heard before.

I once heard Harvey Fierstein say, "I don't care what the parts are as long as we are represented. Bad publicity is better than no publicity at all."

I STRONGLY disagree with that! Now, most portrayals today are only mildly annoying to me, but in the past anyone that was even hinted as gay was a tragic or evil figure. Think Sal Mineo in "Rebel Without a Cause" or, Katherine Hepburn's son in "Suddenly Last Summer". I, personally, feel that if they want to portray gay people as serial killers or child molesters, I'd just as soon remain anonymous. People DO tend to take what they see on television as "real life".

Gay people have never really had role models. I think we deserve to see some positive examples of the gay community. Someone that might inspire those teenagers who might otherwise commit suicide because they see being gay as the end of their lives.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:56

Going to grab my soapbox here....

The only thing with television is money and they don't care who they really hurt. Seriously how many of these sitcoms have a real plot? Its just one situation after another after another and to be honest I personally find them not only boring but without merit and point. Bring a same sex relationship into play and now it becomes more intresting only because it's something different to the "average" viewer. I wonder if the long term portrail of same sex relationships are going to do more harm than good in "society" and while we are at it what is "society" anyway? A pack of rules for everyone to live by? Gotta recycle and act like the neighbors or you're considered "deviant"? Something that comes to mind when I think of "society" and that is We The Sheeple that is subject to a transvisual brainwashing by a large glass tube that shows moving images that we can identify as the norm or something we could never grasp.

As a gay man I sometimes find these shows as being so far out in left field it could never be understood. Not every gay is a flamer and the truth is many gays would never be pegged as gay in the first place. I might be the exception having raised a son however many are straight acting either by choice or by their nature. The other side of the coin is how one sees a gay person, some think they are "gross" or some other bad term but if you really think about it what does a persons sexuality have to do with the overall quality of a person to begin with? I dont feel it makes them bad at all but then again I don't recycle like my neighbor nor do I care for Seinfeld or any of those sitcoms in the first place.

I consider the television as a "moron scope" who sets its sight on We The Sheeple for a lifelong brainwashing.


Posted: 02 Oct 20:57

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