En­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive in­flu­ence on LGBTQ so­ci­ety

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY - Ger­ard Veld­hoven

Through­out our life­time, we lis­ten to mu­sic, watch the lat­est in movies and tele­vi­sion shows, search the in­ter­net for in­for­ma­tion, and gen­er­ally sat­isfy our cu­rios­ity in so many ways. What we see and hear in­flu­ences us in var­i­ous ways, and that is what makes us re­act in a pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive man­ner.

In the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, the in­flu­ences vary, and Hol­ly­wood’s idea in por­tray­ing cer­tain char­ac­ters may not be at all the best in­flu­ence. LGBTQ char­ac­ters, his­tor­i­cally, have been por­trayed as out­casts, placed in a comedic vein and many died in movie end­ings. Hol­ly­wood had been in­flu­enced by the right and could po­ten­tially lose mil­lions of dol­lars. The Ro­man Catholic Church and evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians car­ried much weight in Hol­ly­wood and so, at the ex­pense of gay char­ac­ters, the in­dus­try paid at­ten­tion and was game to min­i­mize gays in films.

Dis­crim­i­na­tion was ram­pant and the gen­eral pub­lic sided with the stu­dios, caus­ing the on­set of real por­tray­als to be de­layed for decades. In a world where equal­ity for all is but a dream, our en­ter­tain­ment peo­ple have slowly evolved into a more “dar­ing” in­clu­sion of LGBTQ folks into story lines.

We are by no means at the end of this fi­asco. Some movies have re­ceived some sort ac­cep­tance by the gen­eral pub­lic, as was the case with the re­lease of Broke­back Moun­tain in 2005. The story told of two cow­boys who fell in love against an in­tol­er­ant so­ci­ety in the “Wild West.” As one watches the on­go­ing love story, it be­comes quite clear that per­haps this tale may af­ter all end in a pos­i­tive way. No, it does not, as Jack sud­denly dies be­cause of a se­vere beat­ing. The end­ing has En­nis search­ing for a sort of “clo­sure” to the re­la­tion­ship.

Many cried at the neg­a­tive end­ing that could have been pos­i­tive with the two men liv­ing their lives as a happy cou­ple. Even with Os­car wins, this story of for­bid­den love left a de­cided neg­a­tive.

Count­less LGBTQ char­ac­ters have been part of story lines, but most with neg­a­tive end­ings. Tele­vi­sion has been a lit­tle more in­clu­sive, but had a rough start. Many may re­call the pro­gram “Soap” where a gay Billy Crys­tal char­ac­ter at­tempts to be ac­cepted by fam­ily and peers. Again, this story is in a comedic set­ting, and did very lit­tle to con­vince LGBTQ au­di­ences that this was an earnest at­tempt to “nor­mal­ize” gay char­ac­ters as part of our so­ci­ety.

We must, how­ever, dwell on the present, and with that we have some real progress with en­ter­tain­ment. “Will and Grace,” the TV show that has been run­ning for years, has the won­der­ful con­cept of two gay friends, not lovers, who share their friend­ship with two won­der­ful fe­male char­ac­ters. Even as this is a com­edy, the char­ac­ters seem real.

The other TV pre­sen­ta­tion is a rather new ad­di­tion to prime time and that is “Trans­par­ent,” a mov­ing, a po­ten­tial real-life story that tells the trau­matic jour­ney of a mid­dle-aged woman deal­ing with fam­ily and friends. This out­stand­ing drama is a ter­rific, pos­i­tive story of this woman de­ter­mined to live her life as it is sup­posed to be lived. Out­stand­ing per­for­mances, es­pe­cially by Jef­frey Tam­bor in a role that tran­scends all pre­vi­ous per­for­mances by this won­der­ful ac­tor, is a joy to watch. These are the sto­ries of real peo­ple in real life sit­u­a­tions. The pos­i­tive trumps the neg­a­tive.

Com­ments and in­for­ma­tion: lgbt­con­nec­tion­sgv@gmail.com

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