Glee is known for its excellent and sensitive portrayals of gay characters and storylines.
So why the fuck are we hearing the words “predatory” and “gay” together?
And yeah, spoilers for last night’s ep. Which aren’t really spoilers, unless you live somewhere other than the US.
I get it. Like most of the Glee characters, Sandy Ryerson is a mythical creature. He’s not real. I mean, predatory types don’t call themselves that. And there’s no doubt that he IS in fact predatory. We learned that in the very first episode. And yes, he’s gay. Rachel called him a “closet case” in the pilot and in Acafellas, he was stalking a famous guy. So if he’d said, “I don’t care; I’m predatory.” It would have been funny. Did Mister Vocal Adrenaline describe himself as a sleazy straight? Er, no. Because skeevy, predatory, sleezy are all things that are totally unrelated to our sexual orientation.
A commenter who calls himself “Ulysses” on After Elton said it perfectly:
Predatory middle-aged gay men in a high school will never ever be something I find amusing. Never.
Unfortunately, Sandy Ryerson is the image that has been thrown in our faces for the last 30 years (I can’t vouch for anything before that, so I’m open to clarification). We’ve been told that the problem with us (LGBT) getting our rights is that it means they won’t be able to fire predatory teachers who victimise children. And more recently, that has slowed down on the gay side of things. Mostly now we hear that it’s “men in dresses” who will want to use the women’s toilet in schools, and that’s why trans rights need to be halted.
But it’s always about LGBT people who have contact with children. It’s always the image that LGBT people shouldn’t be around children, because who we are as LGBT is also bound up with predatory behaviour. Have we internalised this? I know people who won’t teach because they’re gay and they just don’t want to be accused of anything. I mean, wow, this is 2011. And maybe this bit was in there because in lala land, they think this stuff is all in the past (if so, they have VERY short prop 8 style memories), but it isn’t. The world is still struggling with the fact that gays are no more or less predatory than your average straight person.
But while that conversation is still happening, is it too much to ask that we stop shooting ourselves in the feet?
Aside from everything else, I was really hoping I would never have to add a “homophobia” category to this blog. But there ya go.