The Out rant, titled “In the Reign of the Gay Magical Elves,” was prompted in part by the media response to the recent coming out of basketball player Jason Collins, whom Ellis writes is being treated “as some kind of baby panda who needs to be honored and consoled and — yes — infantilized.”
Ellis goes on to criticize “gay self-patronization in the media,” which in his opinion celebrates “the Gay Man as Magical Elf, who whenever he comes out appears before us as some kind of saintly E.T. whose sole purpose is to be put in the position of reminding us only about Tolerance.”
At fault, according to Ellis, are organizations that marginalize the gay man “who doesn’t want to represent, doesn’t want to teach” and who “makes crude jokes about other gays in the media (as straight dudes do of each other constantly).” This, Ellis writes, amounts to “corporate PC fascism.”
Welcome to the fight, Bret.
I covered many of these same themes in a guest column published 12 years ago by the Los Angeles Times.
I’m Gay, Therefore I Must Love Show Tunes and Barbra
It comes as no surprise that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) gave awards to Showtime’s “Queer as Folk” and NBC’s “Will & Grace” for their “positive portrayals of gay and lesbian issues” (Morning Report, May 1). But for this gay malcontent, it’s a tad disturbing, something akin to if the NAACP had handed out an Image Award back in the 1950s to “Amos ‘n’ Andy” for its contributions to African Americans.
I’m assuming the producers of “Queer as Folk” and “Will & Grace” would argue that their shows are not meant to reflect all of gay society. Fair enough. But, as “Amos ‘n’ Andy” was in its day, theirs are the only shows in town. And whereas African Americans justifiably expressed outrage toward the clownish, shuffling duo, the gay community has embraced its own stereotypes. Instead of fried chicken and watermelon, we have Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler. After all, what gay man doesn’t worship the two “divas”? …
In truth, the gay community has only itself to blame. Could it be we’re suffering the consequences of elevating one too many lightweights to hero status, just because they’re gay and famous? And where’s the indignation over repeatedly trite media characterizations of homosexuals, as if it’s a given that we’re all theatrical and melodramatic, with a show tune in our hearts?
Ellis writes that he’s been tarred as a self-loathing homo for challenging the queer establishment. Consider it a badge of honor.