....well, not sex ed classes. At least I didn't.
I've heard a lot of media banter lately about how great it is that "kids these days" see all of these diverse expressions of different kinds of relationships portrayed in the media. How queer kids can finally see others like them! How amazing and fantastic and rainbow-delightful it is that there are queer and trans people on tv these days.
But it got me thinking how, well, things may be a little different but I'm not sure how well that is really showing LGBT folks about how relationships are done, or what they can look like.
So where are you getting your information? How do we figure out the best type of relationship for ourselves?
I was just commenting to a friend today that, looking back, I have no idea how I figured any of that stuff out (though I seem to have done ok on my own). My sex ed classes never really mentioned queerness or gender diversity. My parents and I didn't have that conversation. There was one other out queer person in my high school and he was treated horribly so that was not really a point of solidarity or guidance for me.
But I'm interested to know how you've managed those moments and experiences for yourself and in your own lives. Is the media hype right? Does seeing a queer person on tv REALLY make all the difference in how you sort out your identities and relationships?
Posts: 384 | From: Philadelphia, PA | Registered: Sep 2008
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The only queer people I remember seeing on TV around the time that I started to come out were those on ;Will & Grace, and Jack's character on Dawson's Creek. The former was a bit useless in terms of relationship advice, but the latter did make me feel all warm and glow-y.
Luckily, I went to an alternative high school with an unusually large amount of openly non-straight folks, so I did have actual role models and people to talk to. I had a lot of really close friends who where gay and dating, so even before I felt comfortable enough to date, I'd seen a lot of gay relationships around me and had some good reference points.
I'm trying, now, to think of any sort of realistic representation of a gay couple of TV, and can't think of one. Willow and Tara on Buffy were portrayed very realistically, but of course that was a few years ago. Now, most of the shows I can think of, the gay character is the token Gay Best Friend. German daily soaps had a bit of a gay theme last year, but only one of them made any effort to be realistic about it.
On a similar note, Germany copied Britian's "I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here" format, where ten c-list celebrities are sent into the Australian jungle and filmed doing all sorts of gross challenges, and this year one of the 'celebrities' that went was a mtf transsexual. I watched most of the show because I was interested in how they'd treat here, and came away really disappointed. They were all gushing about what a great person she was, but in the single interviews, most of the men expressed feeling uncomfortable, and most of the women talked about her like she was some freaky science experiment. Overall, nothing outright mean and disrespectful was said, but you just got the sense that no one was taking her seriously. Like, a couple of years ago she was a man, and now she wants to be a woman, what's she gonna come up with next??
The point of all this rambling, I think, is that there really aren't many (if any) realistic examples of queer people and queer relationships on TV. Sure, there are non-straight people, but they tend to fall into neat little cliche boxes (the effeminate gay best friend, the really butch lesbian, etc) and aren't actually treated like real people with diverse characteristics and interests.
[ 02-16-2009, 02:44 AM: Message edited by: September ]
-------------------- Johanna Scarleteen Volunteer
"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005
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For me working out how to navigate a queer relationship has been to do with accepting difference but the nuts and bolts of communication are something I've noticed in all relationships... so realistic depictions, for me, are just varying depictions.
My parents are straight... but I got an idea of how different behaviours effect everyone by living with them which is cool...
I know a lot of people can find it difficult to translate those dynamics to queer relationships... so maybe it doesn't work like that for everyone...
I'll say what I've learnt most from are relationships themselves, experimentation and just find out what works.
This one time I walked in on my dad having sex with another guy. I was very traumatized by it and it was my first experience with seeing gay people. I told my mom and she said she knew and they were already getting divorced (For another incident). But to this day I never forgave my Dad and I've always had a warped view on gay people.
Don't judge a group by the actions of one person. Your father, personally, himself, did something which was wrong. This only applies to him, not to gay people, men, people of his ethnic or age group, or any other sub-section of humanity to which he belonged.
Posts: 475 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2007
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Goingcrazy, I'm so sorry you had such a traumatic experience!
quote:Originally posted by mizchastain: Don't judge a group by the actions of one person.
I'm not sure Goingcrazy necessarily said there was anything wrong with homosexuality. Just that their own view was "warped".
To know that a traumatic experience gives us an adverse tendancy to feel threatened by homosexuality is probably actually very good. Especially if we allow ourselves to say what we believe to be true logicaly, even when we're still susceptable to an emotional bias.
quote:Originally posted by Goingcrazy: I know that is what I tell myself, but I was quite young at the time, because I had no views of homosexuality the first impression rather scarred me.
It is ok to feel like that and it's not surprising given thr circumstances. It is possible to start working on what we think about subjects before progressing the slow process of feeling different. It sounds to me from your words about conflict that you already have worked out what you think, beyond those difficult feelings.
I feel that there is a huge gap between how something makes us feel, and what we know about it. They don't need to match up... just because one foot is behind the other, it doesn't mean we're not moving forward.
I grew up in quite a homophobic household, and at school homosexuality was a HUGE part of bullying, it was probably the top thing someone would get accused of if someone wanted to discredit them. I know this has left lasting effects on me. I'll flinch from homosexual contact far more easilly than heterosexual.
In my own sex-life, I have to grapple how uncomfortable I feel about something due to inherited homophobia... same-sex interaction which I'd like to feel good, doesn't always feel good, and I have to allow myself those feelings and just stop until I feel comfortable.
But when I discuss how I feel on a subject, I know my biases come from a personal place, so I try and construct my understanding from my wishes for other people's happiness and from how that slots into equality, and things I've read, and discussions people I've met and what I've learned to understand logically.
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