GEP Stocktake: Where are we now?

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In our Mission Statement, first published in the summer of 2012, we said:

“What we’re looking for is expressions of affection, moments of privacy and intimacy, and important conversations to happen between the young gay and lesbian couples in the same way that they happen for the straight young couples. What we’re looking for is simple. It’snot more than any of the straight couples get. It’s just the same treatment. It’s equality.”

The precise couples we referred to might not be together anymore, but the sentiment is just as valid as ever. We said as much in the Watching Brief in our Equality Report for Episode 414 “I Do”. We believe the show has improved in its depiction of LGBTQ characters and relationships, as demonstrated in that episode. In fact, over the course of this season we have posted nearly double the number of ‘thumbs up’ points (47) as we have ‘thumbs down’ points (27) in our equality reports.

In that Watching Brief we also said we would still be watching: that as long as Glee is in production there will be a need to watch and judge whether the show is meeting expectations. This hasn’t changed. As fans, we will be watching as long as Glee is in production.

After the hiatus, however, we will no longer provide weekly Equality Reports after each episode. Unfortunately, recent and upcoming real life commitments for several members of our steering team mean that it is not possible for us to maintain the reports for the time being.

This does not mean we think the show has addressed all of the issues we have identified since we started posting on equality issues. This does not mean we think the powers that be, whether they are the creators or FOX, have “learned their lesson”. This does not mean our mission is complete, nor that we are disbanding.

We are still here, and we still believe passionately in the equal depiction of LGBTQ characters and relationships on Glee.

We are still watching, and we continue to encourage all Glee fans to call or write to FOX with any concerns they have about equality issues on the show.

We would like to thank our followers for their support to date. You are the Glee Equality Project, and your continued support and advocacy of equality issues on social media and through direct contact with FOX are important.

Thank you.

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wake-up-kid:

On February 20, in Hong Kong, one of my closest friends spoke at the U.S. Consulate to a group of 100 high school juniors about American Popular Culture. His presentation discussed America’s social movements for equality and included the battle for women’s suffrage, Martin Luther King Jr., and the importance of icons like Oprah and Michele Obama in the increasing recognition of the value of women of color. The above photo of Glee’s Kurt and Blaine was second to last in his presentation. He used it to demonstrate America’s changing values and increasing acceptance of LGBT equality in our popular culture.

Representation matters. It changes minds, hearts, and often policy all over the world. Some people contend that Kurt and Blaine’s relationship doesn’t matter or ask me why I care so much about them and “gays on television.” From now on, when they do, I’ll be sure to tell them about those 100 school children in Hong Kong and how when they went to the U.S. Consulate to learn about America, Kurt and Blaine helped represent the best of us. They’re an example of our ability to love, accept, and change for the better. For 100 school children in Hong Kong, Kurt and Blaine are now the image of America’s movement toward LGBT equality. I, for one, am proud of that. 

Equality Report 414 “I Do”

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In an episode involving dancing, kissing, flirting and sex between numerous pairings, gay and lesbian characters were treated equally and honestly.

  • Kurt and Blaine were shown making out in the backseat of a car, hot and horny for each other
  • Kurt and Blaine slow-danced together on the dance floor among several other slow-dancing couples of differing configurations
  • Santana and Quinn slow-danced together on the dance floor among several other slow-dancing couples of differing configurations

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Well, so Kurt and Blaine climb out of the car, legitimately trying to hide their boners — like, that’s actually a thing that is happening on-screen that is not my imagination. Gay guys like to have sex and also they have erections and there’s no reason not to talk about it because it’s as normal as every other sex thing you see on TV every ten minutes, is what Fox just told me.

The finale montage is “Anything Can Happen,” and after seeing Glee give gay and lesbian viewers the equal sexytime treatment they’ve been begging for for ages, I’m actually starting to believe that might be true.


AfterEllen’s Glee 414 recap

Exerpt from AfterEllen’s “Glee” Recap 4.13 

Sometimes I’m preachy and always I want what I want, because what I want is: Queer visibility. When I started writing for AfterEllen, there was barely enough lesbian pop culture news to fill a weekly column. We went an entire year without a major lesbian character on broadcast TV. I’m talking like five years ago, that was the reality. Not one single major lesbian character. And gay guys weren’t all that present on broadcast TV either.

Here’s what we know about queer representation on TV: It changes everything. It changes things for straight people who have never met a gay person in their lives. It humanizes us. It opens the door for us into the living rooms of “mainstream” America and we sit down with these people who don’t know us and we have dinner with these people who don’t know us and we make them laugh and we make them cry and they come away knowing that there’s one kind of folks.

And it changes everything for gay people too. We are, all of us, born with an ancient need to stretch ourselves across the fictional universes of other people’s stories. If they can be heroes, we can be heroes. If they can find love, we can find love. If they can crash and bleed and break and claw their way back to redemption, well, then, so can we. If a young gay boy can get thrown into a dumpster and crawl out and come out and sing his way into the most prestigious fine arts school in the country where he can banish his bullies with a song in his heart and a smile on his face, we can really believe that it gets better. And if a young gay girl can break through walls she spent a lifetime building, stare down her deepest, darkest fears, and find the courage to crack open her own heart, we can be brave enough to love out loud too.

When I call Glee out on its misogyny, on its double standard of gay/straight physical affection, on its unwillingness to commit to its character development and tell us their real truths, it’s not because I’m jaded and cynical and like the sound of my own angry voice. It’s because when Glee does it right, it does it better than anyone. It heals us on a soul-balm level. I’ve written before about how constellations are nothing more that stories, the joining-up of unrelated points of light by people who wanted to make sense of the universe. When we look at the night sky, it’s not a jumble of glowing chaos. It’s Orion. It’s the Big Dipper. It’s Leo the Nemean Lion. And when we look at our own lives in the context of the stories we’ve been told, we’re not lost and alone and abandoned in a turbulent world without hope. We’re Blaine. We’re Brittany. We’re Santana. We’re Unique.

ETA: Correct link and source

Equality Report 412 “Naked”

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  • Blaine was a very supportive and helpful friend to Sam in this episode, despite the crush we learned about in the last episode (more on that in our Watching Brief below). We’re pleased to see this friendship between a gay boy and a straight boy continue to develop, especially how Sam felt comfortable hugging Blaine in gratitude for Blaine’s support and friendship.
  • Brody isn’t at all perturbed by the presence of a gay male in the room as he eats his breakfast completely naked.

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ALT-BRITTANA-PR: Though it’s been several days more than the 5-day gap between the posting of the Finchel and Klaine relationship scrapbook cards, GleeonFOX has not, as yet, posted one promoting Brittana’s journey. This is what we think a Glee on FOX scrapbook card for Santana and Brittany could have looked like.

Ryan Murphy, in a 2nd January 2013 NPR broadcast, said “If you’re going to show a straight couple kiss, show a gay couple kiss. So that they feel like, okay, there’s hope for me, there’s a way for me. I’m worthy of that happiness.”

HELP GLEE ON FOX GET THAT MEMO BY TWEETING:

  • @gleeonfox
  • @20thcenturyfox
  • @foxbroadcasting

ALT-KLAINE-PR. This is what we think the Glee on FOX scrapbook card for Kurt and Blaine could have looked like.

Ryan Murphy, in a 2nd January 2013 NPR broadcast, said “If you’re going to show a straight couple kiss, show a gay couple kiss. So that they feel like, okay, there’s hope for me, there’s a way for me. I’m worthy of that happiness.”

HELP GLEE ON FOX GET THAT MEMO BY TWEETING:

  • @gleeonfox
  • @20thcenturyfox
  • @foxbroadcasting

The Glee Double Standard

hall-and-totes:

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The above charts (along with the one I posted last week) are more evidence of Glee’s obvious double standards when it comes to the writing of female/female romantic relationships. The data was collected from seasons two, three, and four of Glee.

 

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*hall-and-totes isn’t affiliated with the GEP

Equality Report 410 “Glee, Actually”

  • It was upsetting seeing Kurt once again bullied for his sexuality, even if only in Artie’s fever dream.

  • We thought that this would be the episode where we would hear a good deal more about Kurt’s point of view regarding his relationship with Blaine. But the promised “heart to heart” has yet to take place. Despite that, Blaine comes to NY to see Kurt, at Burt’s invitation. Kurt as a character needs to have more agency in his life, and to be able to express himself.
  • Santana continues to be erased from the narrative while her bisexual ex is allowed to date and even marry (at least in intent) a male – something Santana and Brittany would not be able to do. Brittany seems to have forgotten she even ever dated, let alone loved Santana – even when she thought she only had four days to live she did not mention Santana once.

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