11 December 2008

SHOWTIME GOES "WAY OUT"

UPDATE: 08/23/2015
"Homophobic? Maybe You're Gay"
(Original post and updates, after the jump)
ORIGINAL POST: 

Showtime announced today that it was developing a new reality show called, "Way Out," which would trace the lives of gay people as they work through their sexuality and reveal who they are to their loved ones...
A link to the story is here.

At this moment, it is not yet known if the show will actually air as it is still in development. But, if the show in any way facilitates those closet doors swinging wide open, then kudos to Showtime. It may not be so simple.

Showtime is playing with fire.

"Way Out," produced by the same guy who gave us "Intervention" on A&E, has the potential to do more harm than good here. Putting a spotlight on a very personal moment of someone's life could very well backfire with little or no warning. A person's sexuality isn't something as black-and-white as drug addiction, which the show "Intervention" tackles.

There have always been many ways for a person to accept and be comfortable with who he or she is in life... gay or straight. For some, it happens when they hit puberty; for others, it comes later; and for others still, it happens much later. And for some, it doesn't happen at all. But, no matter what, it remains a very personal process for the individual.

With cameras in the mix, this process may lose all the privacy that - by definition - this personal voyage requires. This show may end up leaving the newly-out gay person very exposed - perhaps too exposed - too soon. Remember the Jenny Jones tragedy?


And though we, as a society, have collectively evolved since 1995, "Way Out" would be capturing the moment on a very personal level... the same personal level that ended in the murder of that unsuspecting "Jenny Jones" guest.

That said, in an effort to examine further the complex nature of coming out... It's worth noting the tragedy on the other side of the spectrum; coined here as staying in.

Staying In.

No, I'm not talking about watching a classic movie next to a cozy fire in your living room on some snowy night. 

I'm referring to the choice made by gay men and women to conform to the straight life. The life they believe is the life they are supposed to live, by Jove!

Through human history, a common misconception among the general public emerged: being gay is a choice. Gay men and women have been accused of expressly choosing the gay life... as some kind of masochistic gesture of social defiance... or deviance.

Although there is no science that comprehensively explains the origins of sexual orientation and gender identity, it is crazy to think that we homosexuals would willingly select this.

As a friend once pointed out, "it was a much of a choice for me as it was for that straight person to choose to become a heterosexual." Well said.

But, there are homosexual people out there who willingly choose to suppress who they arePerhaps the bit about choice wasn't far off in these cases. Because there is indeed an important choice being made here. But it's not the gay person choosing to be gay. The tragedy of staying in is that the gay person has chosen (for a variety of reasons) not to be gay. As a result, this person is likely living an angry and lonely life.

And rooted in that anger, by the way, is a deep loathing for the broader LGBT community.

The true adversary of the LGBT community is not the straight community. Nope, our enemy is the  portion of the LGBT community that has chosen to stay in; and resent the community and its march towards equality. I'm talking about the closeted guy who 
would instigate a fag-bashing joke (i.e.: "How many fags does it take to screw in a light bulb?") at the bars on Monday nights to ensure no one catches on that he is gay himself. 

Let me just say this: a self-hating closet case is like a galactic black hole... you'll get sucked into a very sad, dark world. And no one wants that.
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05/05/12 UPDATE: There have now been studies that "provide empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire." That's from the New York Times article, "Homophobic? Maybe You're Gay." (04/27/12).