Why the Best TV For Gays is By Gays

Source: AP
Source: AP

Does anybody else hate-watch Glee? I can't be alone. I eagerly await the next episode, and when it airs (okay, when it becomes available on backwater corners of the internet) I gnash my teeth through the whole thing. Kurt and Blaine do not need to color-coordinate their outfits! Santana does not to need to bash bisexuals every chance she gets! Also, stop singing! For crying out loud. 

When I first started watching Glee, I desperately needed it. I was 17, this super-awkward farm girl who was terrified of my own sexuality and totally confused about why I needed to see gay people on TV. Finally I found the box sets of seasons 1 and 2 of Queer as Folk in the back of my parents' closet. (Is there some sort of closet-related irony here? Must be escaping me.) I binge-watched the show. It was a revelation. Okay, so I was totally grossed out by all the intimacy and gyrating, but something in there spoke to me: it's okay to have a sexuality. It's okay for your sexuality to be an important part of your life. 

And that's the thing, you guys. Queer as Folk spoke to me in a way that Glee doesn't because QaF was designed for gay people. It wasn't about "including diversity" or "representing a minority." It didn't try to appeal to a straight audience. It represented queer life (okay, cisgender, white, urban queer life) in a time when that had never been done. It was also wildly oversexualized and represented stereotypes of gay men and women we wouldn't mind escaping, but when I was 17 and lonely and scared, I didn't notice that part. 

Eventually I exhausted the first two seasons of Queer as Folk and, about that time, Glee came on. (Also about that time, my step-mom figured out I was a lonely gay-wad and handed me three terribly written lesbian sexybooks, beaming in a way that made me want to crawl into a hole and die.)  I used to love Glee. But somewhere along the way I got the feeling that Glee wasn't for me: it just sensationalized my identity to get ratings. 

Which is why I'm super psyched about HBO's Looking. Set to air in January 2014, the show will be set in San Fransisco and will feature three gay guys navigating their professional and personal lives in the gay metropolis. The actors are mostly gay! It features locations of real San Fransisco queer culture! 

Jonathan Groff, who I totally hate-watched in Glee but am psyched to see in Looking, told Out, "We’re trying just to keep it real — which means humor. Some of our sex scenes are very emotional and very beautiful. Some of our sex scenes are awkward. We’re trying to get as close to reality as we possibly can. Hopefully, when people watch it, you’ll think, 'Oh, I’ve had that exact experience. I know what it feels like to be intimate with someone in that way.' This is going to be something some lonely kid out there is going to see and think, 'So I'm not alone.'" 


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Sydney Boles

Sydney is a writer and feminist working on a Bachelors Degree in Global Studies. She is interested in too many social-justice-y things for her own good. She enjoys making marginally edible smoothies, and can be found in New York City. Follow Sydney on Twitter @sydneyboles.

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