Are Gay Stereotypes Are Keeping Us From Making Progress?

Is there a "right" way to be gay? In a story for Newsweek, Ramin Setoodeh writes: "…If you want to be invited to someone else's party, sometimes you have to dress the part… even Rachel Maddow wears lipstick on TV."

Setoodeh argues that between Perez Hilton, Adam Lambert, Kurt on Glee, Marc on Ugly Betty and "the dozens of squealing contestants" on Projet Runway, it seems that one stereotype — "fey" — is the only kind of homosexuality represented. Back when Will & Grace, The L Word, and Queer Eye were on, there was a more multifaceted image of what it means to be gay. He adds:

Lesbians face a different problem. They are invariably played by gorgeous, curvy women straight out of a straight man's fantasy-Olivia Wilde on House, Sara Ramirez on Grey's Anatomy, Evan Rachel Wood on True Blood-and they're usually bisexual. How convenient.

Should we even be worried about fictional characters? Actually, yes: According to Setoodeh, "A survey by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found that of the people who say their feelings toward gays and lesbians had become more favorable in the past five years, about one third credited that in part to characters they saw on TV."

While it's true that there have been serious setbacks — Maine and California reversing existing laws legalizing gay marriage — is toning it down the answer? Setoodeh says"maybe": "It's not that gay men and women should pretend to be straight, or file down all their fabulously spiky edges," he writes. "The key is balance."

What I don't like about this argument is that it makes being intolerant of gay people a problem for gay people. When really, if you're intolerant of gays, you're the one with the problem — and it's everyone's problem.

Kings Of Queens [Newsweek]