It’s a Minstrel Show, Folks.

My friend Lori posted some thoughts on the new season of Queer As Folk, and this caught my eye:

interesting – the showtime website has a question in the FAQ – “Which of the cast members are gay in real life?” Showtime’s answer: “Some of the actors are gay, and some of them are straight.” – not mentioning who’s who….i found a larry king interview with the cast, and it turns out only two of em, Randy Harrison and Peter Paige are truly fags…just seems a bit strange that there’s this huge queer show and only 2 of em are really gay… not good strange, not bad strange, just strange….

Here’s my two cents: it’s bad strange. I challenge you to go to any restaurant in Califor-ni-ay and not have your food served by a gay actor. There are thousands of them out there, if not hundreds of thousands. So it’s not just strange that 98% of all gay characters on TV and in the movies are played by straight actors, while the gay actors wait tables. It’s happening because of discrimination, for the same reason that Amos and Andy used to have black characters played by white people in black face. Because people aren’t comfortable knowing the the guy playing the gay role is actually gay. But it’s okay if it’s all pretend.

Case in point: Several years ago, Spin City has a gay male character kiss a straight male character as a joke. It got huge laughs, and played in prime time with no objections. That same night, Ellen Degeneres’ character kissed a straight female character as a joke. It did not get huge laughs. It was pushed back to a later time slot, and it got a parental advisory warning. What was the difference between the two? On Ellen, the actor playing the part was gay. On Spin City, the actor playing the gay character was straight.

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