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Is Hollywood Out of Touch With Gay Characters?

EW just put out an article lamenting the lack of movies with strong gay lead characters, musing that with the success of Brokeback Mountain, many people thought the way would be paved for more gay-centric films. The article goes on to state that perhaps the movies could take their cues from TV, where there are more and more storylines involving gay characters on even mainstream shows, like Ugly Betty and Brothers and Sisters.

Then again, as certain studio heads point out, it's easier to have a gay character in an ongoing series and have that be just one aspect of the character's life, while in movies it always seems to be The Big Issue for the character, their one defining characteristic.

One of the reasons suggested for this is that many movie studio execs are older and less comfortable with homosexuality in general, whereas TV execs tend to be younger, part of a "Will and Grace generation."

What do you think? Is Hollywood stodgy and out of touch? Or does it make sense that there aren't more gay-centric stories out there?


Join The Conversation
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
I really don't think most television viewers want political correctness and other peoples' agendas shoved down their throats. Especially those with minor children. Television is beginning to lose viewers because of the increase in adult themes during prime time, and I believe they know it. One of my favorite new shows (on BBC America) has been ruined for me because every week seems to have a new and different gay theme or relationship. It detracts from the usually interesting main plot lines.
mrskrismendoza mrskrismendoza 9 years
I think there should be more gay/lesbian/bi/trans gender films, but people are too afraid.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
It seems that television is more open to having gay characters on their shows, but in movies it's much tougher to find. It may be because there's a lot more money at stake behind making them and earning that money back.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i agree with KerryG - I think there should be more gay characters. Why must there be so many heterosexual ones? i mean, isn't that just catering to heterosexual viewers (if one looks at homosexual characters as being "added in" as some have said, just to appease the few homosexual viewers)?! the one major movie with main characters who are gay portrayed them as mostly straight with some "tendencies" if you will - and of course, they were played by heterosexual actors! what i would like to see is a movie or 12 where someone happens to be gay, like mentioning it in passing - because being gay is not the only thing about them! it isn't always a struggle to just be. it isn't always about things different from heterosexual lives. it seems so many mainstream movies like to deal with the so-called problems of homosexuality or like to place stereotypes on the characters, perhaps because that is what people expect to see?! I also like juju's comment about asian characters not necessarily being added or portrayed in a non-stereotypical way all the time. I hope things do continue to change in that way! I really hate that people need to stereotypically portray their perceived culture, as well - like a person who looks Indian must acknowledge their culture whereas the masses need not do so and can just be. the same can be said about homosexuality/heterosexuality.
juju4 juju4 9 years
I think that the EW article came up because there is a much higher gay population in America than is shown on american television and in american film. Many other minority groups have voiced frustration that they either aren't equaly represented in TV and movies, or that when minorities are used it is part of a sterotype. I recall reading another article in EW about the lack of Asian characters, and how when asian actors were used, they were usually very stereotypically protrayed. Which was true....but since I read that article I have been very aware of things slowly changing. A producer will cast Lucy Liu in a role where her ethnicity has nothing to do with the role (Cashmere Mafia), where 10 years ago she was cast as an asian sterotype (like on Allie McBeal). I think that this type of social discussion is GOOD for the entertainment industry and helps us move forward.
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
Ok, so here's the thing. While I agree to a certain degree that there should be gay characters who aren't comic, I agree more with the fact that if there are gay lead characters, the movie shouldn't be about "being gay". There are other aspects to the lives of gay people, being gay is not all they think about. They have other issues that would make interesting storylines, just like straight people. And no, I don't think that they should start trying to think up storylines for gay people. That will just lead to some really dumb, forced storylines. You want a good storyline involving gay people and gay issues? How about a buddy film, where there's a group of guys and one of them is gay. Detail each of their lives and the problems they're facing. Make it funny and touching and real. That would make a great movie. /rant. lol
sugarbox sugarbox 9 years
i think it's getting much better. look at last night's episode of ugly betty with mark, i mean 'hollywood' is working on it. obviously the content is not perfect right now, but i think it's going to take time...
musiclvr224 musiclvr224 9 years
I do not care if Hollywood does or does not have any characters that are gay in movies or show. If they do thats fine and if they do not that's fine too. I thought Brokeback Mountain was INCREDIBLY boring and too long. IMO, the only reason is was considered to be such a wonderful movie was because it featured 2 gay men.
syako syako 9 years
what are we frightened of? Honsetly - advertisers and investors pulling out of a project. That's it - the bottom line.
KerryG KerryG 9 years
I agree that it's really quite annoying to have the Token Gay Character shoved down our throats, nor do I think that there should be a quota, a certain number or percentage of gay-centric movies and tv shows. But I also think there's currently a severe shortage of sensitive and realistic portrayals of gays and lesbians (and an even more severe shortage of bisexual characters who aren't played strictly for titillation) in mass media entertainment. We need more "Oh, and by the way, Dumbledore's gay" moments - gay characters whose sexuality fits them, but does not exclusively define them. Ten percent of the population is gay or lesbian and, by most estimates, a much higher percentage is bi. (Some would say everybody is bi, to one degree or another.) The universal heteronormativity of the vast majority of popular entertainment is unrealistic and sometimes outright ridiculous. What are we so frightened of?
ElizabethRae ElizabethRae 9 years
Obnoxious. I hate it when you can tell they forced a gay person into a plot just to be equitable.
Cymone Cymone 9 years
I love the gay brother on Brothers & Sisters and his story line is just as interesting, if not more, as any straight characters'. There does need to be more like him!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Why does there have to be a certain amount of gay oriented movies? Why should there be a requirement? Are writers supposed to cater to the gay community and just stick a character in to appease them? There arent alot of Norwegians in films but you dont see me moaning about it.
theboyslover theboyslover 9 years
I do think america needs to become more diverse TV friendly. Let's see more shows with lead characters with different sexualities, races and social status'. Everybody doesn't live like Ugly Betty or Gossip Girl or the Cosbys. make some shows for the people that are in between!
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