Gay culture in the media

Luke Fontaine
Mirror Essay

I grew up living the American life. My dad was in the air force, my mom was a stay at home mom for the most part of my childhood, and we lived in a good catholic home. There, however, was one part that didn’t fit into the American dream. This particular part was like a cloud hovering over, not sure what was going to come out of it until finally when I realized, and told my parents that I’m gay.

At first it was difficult for my mom to come to terms with it. This vision of what she wanted my life to be like, one that we talked about, but now will never come true. My dad was surprising relaxed about it. At first he thought that it meant that I wanted to become a girl, which to me made it even more surprising with how relaxed he was, but after we explained to him what it is to be gay; I’m happy being a boy, I just like other boys. What I think was the hardest for my parents though was knowing the hard road it is to be different. The adversity I would have to face for just being who I am. The only things I knew about the gay life style where what I saw on tv and in the media. At the time I came out as being gay, there wasn’t much presences of the gay culture in the media. Most of it controversial, and now that I know better, ignorant.

Being gay use to be portrayed as a lesser person in the media. The media put out this image that there was something wrong and abnormal with gay people. Having such a negative portrayal in the media sparked violence and hatred from people who misunderstood. Many gay men use to be “gay bashed” just for being who they were. Already facing a hard lifestyle having such an image in the media only lead to more hardship for gays. Matthew Shepard was a gay youth who had faced the hardest road. He was a gay college student who back in 1998 who was beaten and killed for being gay. Two of his classmates targeted Shepard and beat him, which lead to his death, just because he was gay. (Mathew Shepard Foundation). Gay people have a history of being discriminated against in awful ways all because of their sexual orientation. There was this idea in the media that there is something wrong with gays, something that was unnatural and needed to be fixed. Worst off, they were seen less as their straight counter parts.

One of the biggest media forms we see in our current times are television shows. The most iconic and media changing trend I’d recognize with the gay community would be the running of the sitcom Will & Grace, circa 1998 to 2006. The sitcom was focused on two roommates in New York, one a gay man the other a straight woman, their friends, and the gay lifestyle. The sitcom brought up gay culture and put it into the living room of Americans. Using jokes and the comedic theme of the show they spear headed the change of gay media. The show pushed the boundaries of gay media in the open with clever lines in their show like “[Will and Jack have bought a place in the country and are now trying to escape their crazy neighbors]
Will: Come on, Jack, let’s try the back door.
Jack: Will Truman! Coming on to me at a time like this!”(Will&Grace).
I find it to be a creative way how the producers of the show decided to introduce this tidbit of gay culture in the media. They had a lot of fun developing a show that was campy and light hearted. Slowly throughout the series as Will & Grace was on the air, they started to introduce more serious topics. In their own way the show fought for gay rights, and posting the image of gay culture in the media. They were the ones who put out in the media, we’re gay and we deserve equal rights and opportunities.

Imagine Me & You is a movie that cares a great deal of meaning to me when it comes to gay culture. First the movie pulls at my heart strings. It’s about two women who meet, fall in love, and fight to be together. Like most movies this one throws a few curve balls at you, for instants one of the woman is married to a man. In the start of the movie she claims herself as straight. This is what I really connect to in the movie, watching her through her struggle of realizing that she’s gay, and coming out. Coming out is this far off idea that’s hard to relate to for whose who haven’t had to go threw it. Straight people don’t understand the confusion of realizing who you are, and getting the strength to be that person. This movie shows all that. It shows a woman who has spent years thinking she knew who she was, she set her life up trying to live as who she wanted to be, not who she is. The woman has to give up everything when she meets a woman she falls in love with. Being gay isn’t always understood, nor easy, and that’s what I love about this movie it’s relatable to those who have gone through this adversity. Having a successful movie like this out in the public is a big step for gay culture. It’s developing the culture and adds resources into understanding this lifestyle. Imagine Me & You makes the coming out process real to provide a resource to straight people who don’t understand and relatable emotions for those who have gone through it. (Imagine Me & You).
Another new revenue we can see the impact of gay culture being portrayed is in print. Out Magazine is one of my favorite magazine subscriptions. They focus on many different aspects of gay culture from fashion to gay rights movements. Out magazine always have great features in it with gay celebrities focusing on their success, the road they’ve traveled, and the support from the LGBT (lesbian Gay Bi Transgender) community. The magazine has a great style section, giving tips for new looks, and how to perfect your transition of your casual day time look into a fun but sleek evening attire with the help of a few accessories. Working in the fashion industry and being a patron to trends it’s a nice change to see in a magazine that men can also be a fashionista. Usually men have low expectations with only a pair of jeans and a t shirt acceptable enough, and accessorizing being “too much”. Out magazine is much more than a fashion magazine though. They also stay updated on important news, most of it being focused oh equal rights, but first and foremost they have the idea of the informed reader, telling stories that are important to know in the media and politics. Out magazine is changing the culture of gay men, they’re stepping up and showing the importance of staying informed, and professional. I felt before there weren’t high expectations for gay men, but with the magazine they raise the standards in many ways. They also have a section, mostly on their online web page, about travel information for business that are openly gay friendly. This form has put the pressure on business from the gay culture to open their minds and forces them to serve all equally. This magazine has become a great resource for gay men and a benefit to gay culture pushing us in a positive directions and lifting societies harsh prejudges on a lifestyle that’s different from the norm. (Out Magazine)
I came out as gay a lot earlier in my life than most of my peers. Since I’ve come out, in that relatively short time, I have already seen gay culture going through a big transition from something that’s misunderstood and not talked about to having their own tv network and putting pressure in the business world for equality. There’s still a long road to travel for the way gay culture is portrayed in the media, but we’re on the right track. I was lucky enough to be raise in the upwards swing of gay culture in the media. If we continue to build this image of gay culture we’ll live in a world where gay culture is understood and accepted all over, business won’t have to promote their open acceptance to gay customers, because it’ll be the standard.

Works Cited
“The Hot List 2014.” Out Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2014. .
Imagine me & you. Dir. Ol Parker. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2006. .
“Our Story.” Matthew Shepard Foundation Home Comments. N.p., 2 Feb. 2004. Web. 10 May 2014. .

“Will & Grace.” Mutchnick, Max. 15 Mar. 2004. Web. Transcript.


2 thoughts on “Gay culture in the media

  1. Hi Luke!

    I was very impressed by the amount of media and sources you had in your essay, it really helped make your point. Being apart of the LBGT community myself, I can totally relate to the movie Me&You that you discussed, I would really like to see it. I enjoyed your personal stories you attached in your essay, it made me want to read me. I also might want to get that magazine you discuss. Your essay had very good points and topics.

    Good Job!

    • Hey Emerald,
      Yes i’d really recommend that movie!! it’s a really sweet heart moving film. You should go to the out magazine web page and check it out, look into their offers of subscriptions,
      Being in the LGBT community now a days had become just that, more of a community. It’s a nice reminder that there are resources for us to connect with that side of our identity. Thank you for your compliments!

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