“Why Glee isn’t as Good for LGBT Youth as Most People Think” …..by Cody Hecht

There are two things I believe a television show can do to be good for gay youth. Glee succeeds in one and fails miserably in the other. These two things are: being able to show kids that it’s ok to be gay, the other (which is often overlooked) is showing all kids that you don’t have to be a stereotype to be gay. Gay people come in all shapes and sizes. I think most people can guess which one Glee succeeds at, and where it fails.

My main issue with the show lies in the character of Kurt. He simply is not a good example of what gay people are actually like. He is an overblown, almost cartoonish stereotype. This is bad because it does nothing to convince the bullies that gay people are just normal human beings like anyone else. Most people don’t consider this, but changing the bullies’ minds about gay people is just as important as boosting the confidence of the gay kids themselves. If you change the bullies’ minds, it becomes almost unnecessary to boost the confidence of gay kids because they are not being tortured every day at school.

Furthermore Kurt is portrayed as someone who is really weak. He breaks down and cries in what seems like every other episode. I think that gay kids all over the country need a strong confident role model, and Kurt just doesn’t seem to be it. I will admit that the introduction of the character Blaine helped; he isn’t a stereotype and he is a pretty strong character. If Blaine was the main gay character on Glee, I would be extremely happy with the show. He is a strong confident role model, whereas Kurt is not.

A show that I think is much better for the gay community is Modern Family. I think it portrays a side of the gay community that needs to be depicted. Cameron and Mitchell are in a monogamous relationship, raising a child in a stable and loving home. And while they may be slight stereotypes themselves, they are showing in a way that’s never been shown on television before that gay people are just like anyone else. They fall in love and have children just like straight people. I think that this is the most important lesson we should be aiming at the youth of the country. Gay people are just like you and me, all they’re looking for is happiness.

I believe that Glee has the potential to be good for the gay community. All it needs is to become more like Modern Family in the way it portrays gay people. Gays need to be seen as strong independent people. Because that’s what we want to inspire gay kids all over the country to be. The character of Kurt is weak and fragile, and that’s the opposite of what we want to be inspiring gay youth to be.

22 comments

  • I agree with this and disagree vehemently with this post. Some gay teenagers like Kurt (some are not, of course) – where I live I know many gay men who seem inhabited by Kurt’s spirit. And that is perfectly fine – they shouldn’t have to act any differently to be regarded as “normal human beings like anyone else.” They are “normal human beings,” and no one is exactly “like anyone else” – that’s such an insulting and narrow-minded statement.

    The price of being free from bullying should not be having to avoid acting in ways that make bullies uncomfortable or threaten them with the unfamiliar. The price of acceptance shouldn’t be having to act in a stereotypical “normal” way and not like who you really are. I think Kurt is a good role model for gay youth precisely because he is who he is and doesn’t change himself to fit norms or to make others happy. No one – not a straight person or even another gay man – should be asking someone to act like or be something different than (or she) is – even if that’s a stereotypically-gay-acting, frequently-crying teenage gay boy – in order to make the rest of the world comfortable and be free from hate and bigotry.

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  • I don’t watch Glee, nor do I want to, but Kurt seems to be very popular among straight females, at least in my circle of friends
    Modern Family however, I might check that out

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  • Well, Kurt is a teenager. I think it’s unfair to compare him to fully grown adults. And I’ll blame his being emotional to the writers. Season Two is kind of great for him especially when he met Blaine but Season Three is a real disappointment for me.

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  • Not all gays are stable, prim and perfect, I don’t see why an emotional-broadway loving gay should not be represented. In your post you also forgot about the character of Karofsky, who has a real struggle and definitely shows that gay people coma in all shapes and sizes. Just like Santana being a lesbian.
    I think showing gay people with the same problems and faults like everyone else, is a lot better and a lot more normalising than showing gay people as always prim and proper.

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  • I only watched few episodes of Glee so can’t really comment on the specific characters arcs, but I totally agree with you Cody that strong confident role models could only be a good thing. I really need to start watching Modern family. Thank you for your post.

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  • Does make you wonder what the new season will bring now that the seniors have graduated. What characters we’ll see next?

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  • This season was so bad. I’m tired of making Kurt miserable all the time. I’ve only watched it for Darren Criss and Blaine’s character. He had pretty hard life as well (unsupportive father, gay bashing, douchebag brother), but I still can see him as a fighter and he gave me hope.
    And the double standard is so annoying. The stable and loving gay couple, who dated for 29 episodes kissed in only two of them. But hey, when the alpha straight couple was making out in front of the teacher and entire glee club, they were allowed to glanced at each other, so I guess I can’t ask for more.

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