Last week I wrote about Gay Tragedy. There’s also the Gay Tease.
This is when a TV show or movie claims that a character is gay, but doesn’t actually DO anything with it. There are two versions of the Gay Tease.
1. The director, producer, or writer says, “Oh yeah–he’s gay. He’s always been gay,” but there’s nothing on screen or on the page that definitively says so. J.K. Rowling, for example, created waves when she “revealed” that Dumbledore is gay, except in the books there’s no hint of it. (A “deep friendship” with another male doesn’t cut it.) This happens all the time, and the only reason for it is to keep the slavering homophobes happy. If a large group freaks out about the idea of Character X being gay, the producer can wimp out and claim, “What I mean when I said that was that you can IMAGINE the character as gay if you want.” It also allows them to have a gay character without having a gay character. And it’s total crap. You wouldn’t do that with a straight character.
2. The show or movie has a secondary character who pops up and says, “I’m gay! This is my husband!” and nothing else happens with it. We never see the husband (or boyfriend, or fiance, or . . . ) We don’t ever see the actual relationship develop (though there’ll be a couple-three straight relationships on the show that get extensive attention). We never see anyone dealing with the ramifications of a same-sex relationship. Just the occasional, “Don’t forget that I’m gay!” reference, and that’s it.
THE FLASH has one of these. Barry’s police captain is married to a man. We even saw the husband once. But that’s it. We get the occasional “Don’t forget I’m gay!” reference, but no actual stories. And the character is so minor, he may as well not exist. Certainly we haven’t seen him in the current season. The Pied Piper is another example. He makes a couple of reference to being gay and (stereotypically) into leather when he shows up, but no actual development of it.
This allows the show to claim they have a gay character on it without actually having a gay character, in case anyone objects. Such a character is a castrated gay man, really, because he never does anything sexual or sexy or romantic. He never gets his own storyline. He never goes on a date or fights with his boyfriend and makes up or goes to his husband with a problem after work. Instead, he’s the non-threatening gay character thrown in as a sop to the LGBT community who also is also supposed to keep the right wing happy. It’s nothing but Gay Tease. We know it for what it is, and we’re tired of it. Hollywood needs to change it now.
–Steven Harper Piziks