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Remember the old movies where white men painted their skin black?

I’m going to be short and sweet.

Okay, I’ll be short.

Remember how I gushed, well maybe not gushed, but praised the movie I love you Phillip Morris? It occurred to me while I was reading Huxley’s A Brave New World, that I may be brainwashed.

Except, who ever is cleaning my gray matter isn’t doing such a thorough job, because I am finding unidentified thoughts around the corners of my mind, and damn, I think they’re actually mine.

Okay, I’ll try sweet instead, because this short thing isn’t working.

Forget sweet. I’ll be bitter and long. I’ll be A Mel Gibson movie.

I have been conditioned to believe that Hollywood is the trampoline, the stepping stone, the lever from which queer culture elevates itself. Okay now, those people over forty and slightly more intelligent than I, please roll your eyes in exasperation. I know, I am very naive that way. But, I’m coming around folks. Yes, I am.

So here’s the pesky question which has been buzzing around my ears in the last days: why is it that every commercial queer movie out there features a straight man or woman in the main role? Why is it the public feels more comfortable seeing two straight men kiss, knowing the actors are ABSOLUTELYCOMFIRMITWITHMYVERYLOVINGWIFE straight, and therefore, probably not enjoying this tongue on tongue action with another male? Why does the public step out of these movies and exclaim: “My Sandra, didn’t so and so pull it off? God, it was almost has if he was gay! What terrific acting ability!” Lately, it almost appears as if “straight” actors are seeking out these “fringe” roles to prove their grandeur. Their ultimate versatility. Hey, to play gay is now cool. And what about gay actors who have been playing straight, for like, hmm, let’s see….FOREVER. I can almost hear Trenton or Taylor reading the script to Milk, screaming out to his boyfriend from across the hall: “OH FUCK! I gotta have this role! I’ve been playing the beautiful, non-threathening doctor on every fucking daytime crap show for a decade, now’s my time to shine. FUCK, this is Milk man. I can do this. I know this.”

But three weeks later, Trenton or Taylor gets the call: “Sorry dude. We gave it to Penn. You’re way to gay for Milk.”

The public does not want to see Trenton and his boyfriend walk the red carpet on Oscar night. No, they want Carey and his new very not gay girlfriend smiling for the cameras. “So Jimbo, how did you do it? How on earth did you pull this off?”

“Oh, you know, love is love.”

So on so forth.

Yeah? Love is love?

Who stars in the The kids are all right?

Why don’t we see more leading queer people take on their own existence on the silver screen?

Was I long and bitter enough?

Okay so maybe I’m not a Mel Gibson movie. Maybe I’m just a bad episode of The Simpsons.


About Mel

Montreal queer fiction writer.

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