Glee: Only Telling Some Gay Stories

I agree with everything said in this Tumblr post. (go read it; I’ll be here when you get back)

But…

You can’t tell all the gay stories with one gay character.

You can’t tell all the gay stories with eight gay characters.

Hell, all the straight stories aren’t told yet and they have had millions of characters, over centuries of being able to publish stories far and wide.

We have a lot of catching up to do.

It’s normal to want to see ourselves and our experiences and our aspirations played out on our television screens. And for many of us, that’s tough luck.

It’s not surprising we have a lot of rage, like Santana.

Because there are still very, very few gay characters in general. And even fewer on Glee itself.

I do like seeing gay characters who have a great go of it. I like seeing young gay characters whose parents are awesome. I like seeing them find romantic partners of the appropriate gender at young ages. It’s wonderful. But it’s also really interesting to see other stories too, like stories of gay kids who are happily in relationships, but really have issues being affectionate in public, and who have really good reasons (having both been assaulted in the past). And it’s great to see that the environment is more threatening for some gay kids than for other gay kids. (Yes, it can be easier for girls, especially gender conforming girls, because straight guys think it’s hot, not threatening).

I want to see all the gay stories told too. But Glee are telling only a handful of them now.

I’m certain more are to come.

But I can’t imagine we’re going to see Kurt and Blaine making out in public in Mckinley. It’s just not their story. And that’s sad, but that’s the point.

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9 thoughts on “Glee: Only Telling Some Gay Stories

  1. I’ve been arguing here and there — AfterElton is one place — that Kurt and Blaine are very wary of public displays of affection. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to see them kiss, it just means that I wish they were more often in private settings where they could display affection. A lot of what happens in Glee happens in the hallways of the school or in the choir room, though, so we get to see much more with the straight couples making out. I liked how “Heart” deconstructed the double standard. I thought that was pretty clever. The readers of AfterEllen were pleased by the Brittana kiss at the end of “Nationals.” I’m happy about the visibility of the characters on Glee. I wish for more, but you get the sense that a good amount happens with the characters off-screen, too.

    Emilie

  2. “But it’s also really interesting to see other stories too, like stories of gay kids who are happily in relationships, but really have issues being affectionate in public, and who have really good reasons (having both been assaulted in the past).”

    This is absolutely true, and it’s a story I want to see – if it’s acknowledged. Even if we had just seen a background shot of one boy pulling the other out of the hallway and been given those blanks to fill in. Even if we’d just seen a glance, a smile; either boy on screen, doing anything, in that sequence. For example, I’ll defend the scene with the flowers post WSS auditions, because even without dialogue, you saw on their faces and in their body language why those boys couldn’t touch. The more I think about this the more alternatives I think there were, and the more I think pretending Kurt and Blaine didn’t exist in that moment was the worst possible choice.

  3. Did you see the hockey player hug Kurt and the look on Kurt´s face? It´s no wonder they disappeared. (And in the last few episodes they have been emphasizing things that people often missed – remember when Kurt wore a lot of layers, didn´t touch even his friends and cringed when one of his closest friends hugged him? A lot of people didn´t notice he was suffering from PTSD even after his reaction to Karofsky on Valentine´s Day.)

  4. Ok, that’s interesting… it’s entirely possible they disappeared. But I think Anna’s right too, that we should have been given some implication of where they were.

  5. Yup, see this is my problem, not that we’re not seeing the physical affection (and there’s no reason for us to follow them into sexualized private spaces unless those private spaces contain narrative drama, and that hasn’t been how they’ve been framed, which is fine, every couple has different issues0, but that when we’re not seeing it, we’ve — in the last two episodes, haven’t been given the split second thing that reminds us of why they can’t. I’ve been the biggest defender of the lack of PDA between those two as a necessary intradiegetic situation. But they’ve gotten sloppy with reminding us of why as a bad time (the end, and the recent drama between them).

  6. But I don’t think that they need to remind us all the time. In the previous episode they showed them being happy and comfortable together and then reminded us how Kurt has felt about touch. Even in Tina’s fantasy they looked more affectionate only in the choir room and Kurt didn’t try to touch her to help her get up. In Chicago they danced together and hugged on the stage. They were scared after returning to WMHS, Kurt standing in front of Blaine didn’t seem accidental, noone was as shocked and disbelieving when the slushies/confettis came. Blaine’s smile during the hug looked really forced and the whole situation incredibly stressful however happy they were. It was clear they were waiting for something bad to happen all the time – just like the viewers according to every episode reaction I read. So it didn’t seem necassary to me to show why they weren’t there or didn’t touch. People get it.

  7. You cannot please everybody… Just because there has been some heterosexual same race kissing, then there should be an equal amount of heterosexual interracial or homosexual kissing. Almost nobody cried foul because Mercedes and Sam were not kissing in this episode. Besides the fact that Blaine and Kurt had story of violence in their past, I have a different theory and it has nothing to do with their sexuality, but more with Kurt’s character.

    Kurt seems to be a very ambitious teen and might be more striving for success first and love later… Just like in the movie Evita (with Madonna and Antonio Banderas)… When Evita’s husband won the presidential elections, she did not want to seal the victory with a romantic night in bed with her husband because she was enjoying too much the “adrenaline high” that comes with the win.
    I think Kurt may be a bit like Evita as well…
    He was enjoying the adrenaline high of the win of nationals.. This was his last chance to have such glory and he got it… He could finally show the whole school that he can be respected. Must have been a wonderful feeling. He can always kiss Blaine the next morning.

    One of Kurt’s big goals in teenage life is winning “Nationals”.. I still remember at the end of the episode of the “first Klaine kiss” in which Kurt and Blaine were standing at the dead bird’s grave and Blaine was being romantic and at least trying to be empathetic towards Kurt. However Kurt’s thoughts were only with the fact that they lost regionals.This ambitious aspect of Kurt was stressed again when Kurt wanted to throw away the certificate of participation of that same regionals in which he lost.

  8. I wouldn’t argue about Kurt being ambitious. He’s had a few overarching storylines swirling about him. He wanted to get out of the small town he was living in, and wanted the jocks to stop treating him like trash. He also was shown as wanting love. Those are three things established from very early on in Kurt’s arc. Part of Kurt’s damage is that he was told in no uncertain terms by the bullies that he wasn’t supposed to touch other guys, or look at them, or even be anywhere near them. The bullies felt free to touch him to harass him. The effects of that were long-lasting. I think Blaine’s gone a long way to heal that, but Kurt’s still got emotional scars from it, in my opinion. Then you have Blaine, taunted at his old school and gay-bashed for trying to bring another gay boy to a dance. Kurt and Blaine feel, and it’s not unreasonable that they do, that it’s not safe for them to kiss in public. Sometimes they hold hands, and sometimes they hug.

    Kurt never tried to turn away people who genuinely wanted to be his friends. He appreciated other singers for their talent without wanting to destroy them. He forgives people easily after they’ve treated him wrong — though he doesn’t forget what happened. In my opinion, Kurt’s desire for friendship and love is well up there in importance to him. His years’ long longing to get out of Lima hasn’t changed, but he found respite from the bullying in ND and with the second season Warblers.

    Kurt’s desire to survive high school has developed to give him a realistic escape plan. He’s gotten friendship and love along the way. I think that’s all important to him, especially the love. I wouldn’t say that his long-held ambitions are less than they were, but his emotional ties to people in Lima are strong, too. It will be much harder that way for him to leave than it would have been three years ago.

  9. Funny for me to see how much is discussed about the public display of affection (PDA) , especially because I live in a country where PDA is more the exception than the norm.

    Agree about the emotional scars and friendship thing… felt fuzzy when in the final episode Kurt sang “I’ll remember” , especially to the guys… Knowing Kurt as an ambitious guy, it pained me to see him move back to square one. Oh well, I would watch Season 4 again, despite everything… but I wonder how many dissapointed Kurt fans would tune in for Season 4 again.

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