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.”

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Equality Report 409 “Swan Song”

  • Kurt was shown as a strong and triumphant young man, and his plot in this episode showed no hints of the effeminophobia that has clouded his portrayal in the past.

  • Unique is back, but makes the point that her reason for joining the floor hockey team is to ‘slip a wig under the face mask [so] nobody will be the wiser,’ allowing her to be herself while simultaneously hiding from the world.

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Reaction Post 409 “Swan Song”

In this episode, Brittany reminds us that “love is love,” but is that what they show us? We are very disappointed with the double standards displayed on Glee in its depiction of same sex versus opposite sex romantic relationships. The Brittany/Sam storyline makes these double standards abundantly clear.

A quick reassurance: we are NOT saying that Brittany should stay single or only date girls. This is not a shipping campaign, and Brittany is bisexual. We encourage all Glee fans to not be guilty of bisexual erasure in their commentary on this issue.

However, there are some clear examples of Glee’s double standards in the way this relationship has been portrayed. Brittany and Sam sing a duet together, share private conversations, and kiss in this episode, the same episode in which they first showed romantic interest in each other. These are all things that Brittany/Santana fans had to actually fight for, for months, to see on screen with the two girls. It took Santana and Brittany 10 episodes to kiss after becoming official (and that’s not even counting Seasons 1 and 2, when they were having sex with each other but not “official”). Brittany and Sam? 1 episode. Brittany and Artie back in Season 2? 1 episode. The contrast for Santana and Brittany is stark. Santana and Brittany didn’t even have one single private conversation in Season 3, when they were in a happy and stable relationship. Their only private conversations in Season 4 thus far served their breakup. This is unequal treatment, and a double standard.

We also note that Brittany is allowed to explore a new relationship with a guy but there is no evidence of Santana doing likewise with a girl. We have barely seen Santana this season, and there has been minimal focus on her romantic life. There are no indications so far that this will change in the immediate future. Glee seems happy to show a new heteronormative relationship but not a new lesbian relationship? This is an example of lesbian erasure.

Finally, Glee has provoked fans deliberately with the meta statement in this episode about "lesbians of the nation…for whom it means a lot to see two super hot popular girls in love" in this episode. Given Ryan’s previous negative interactions with Brittana fans on Twitter, this is, at best, insensitive and, at worst, malicious in their dismissal of fans’ concerns

Love is love, but that’s not what we have just witnessed on Glee.

Please look out for our Glee Equality Report on Monday and, in the meantime, we encourage you to let FOX know of any concerns you may have.

DO YOU WANT GLEE TO DO BETTER? WRITE FOX:

Kevin Reilly
FOX Broadcasting Company
10201 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035

We always encourage you to write FOX as that has more impact than email, but if you send a copy of your letter to askfox@fox.com your voice will be heard right away. Be sure to include a one-sentence summary of your email (or letter) at the top to ensure your key message gets through even if it gets only the briefest skimming, e.g. GLEE: unhappy, Brittany/Sam pairing, heterosexual versus lesbian relationship double-standards

Equality Report 406 “Glease”

  • With all four individuals from the two recently-broken up LGBTQ couples in Lima, each ex-couple interacted and spoke about their relationships.
  • The audience saw Kurt’s pain and anger in the aftermath of his break-up with Blaine in this episode. He was allowed to express his feelings and make decisions for himself.
  • Kurt and Blaine spoke about their relationship briefly, but alone in an almost empty corridor
  • Brittany and Santana had an honest conversation about the romantic feelings that they still share for each other. But in that conversation, Brittany stated that she is not dating anybody new, boy or girl. This acknowledges that either would be possible for her.
  • Brittany was included in a girls’ slumber party without any question or awkwardness about her sexuality.
  • When Kitty tried to resist the idea of Unique joining the girls’ slumber party, Marley spoke up in Unique’s defence.

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Equality Report 405 “The Role You Were Born to Play”

WADE/UNIQUE:

  • This episode is as much about how the other characters react to Wade/Unique and her gender identity as it is about her feelings. Those reactions are all over the spectrum, and are portrayed realistically and effectively. Wade thinks of herself as a girl and has no internal conflict on that score, but is keenly aware that conflict arises from external sources, in that the outside world needs to catch up and adjust to this presentation.
  • The scene in Figgins’ office is a pretty fair summation of the issues, complete with ambiguous and fluid gender identifiers:
    • Figgins has seen Wade/Unique dressed as a female and takes her gender at face value. He doesn’t seem to have made the connection to Wade, so has no problem in accepting what he ‘sees’ as fact.
    • Sue knows that Wade/Unique is biologically male and, therefore, discounts any possibility of Unique being female. For Sue, the knowledge of Wade/Unique’s physical gender impedes her ability to accept Wade/Unique’s presentation as anything other than drag. The clothes do not maketh the man (or woman) in this case.
    • Will is open-minded. He sees both Wade and Unique and deals with each on a personal level, treating Wade as male and Unique as female. But he hasn’t quite got past the gender knowledge when discussing Wade and Unique with others (hence using ‘he’ when speaking of Unique in the scene).
    • Finn is totally accepting of Wade/Unique’s gender identification and doesn’t need the added visual stimulus of clothing to make the mental leap. Finn sees both Wade and Unique as female (as indeed they are), while still understanding that others are going to judge her based on outside identifiers like clothing. Finn gets a ‘Thumbs Up’ for his non-preachy acceptance here. He gives her the role of Rizzo and sticks up for her against Sue.

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Season SitRep: Episodes 1 - 4

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING FOR & HOPING FOR WHEN GLEE RETURNS

Four episodes of Glee have aired thus far, and the five week hiatus comes to an end in the U.S. on Thursday, November 8th. There have been big changes for all of the LGBTQ characters. We’re curious to see where their new journeys will take them.

Reminder: We are a spoiler-free zone, so this post is safe for spoiler-phobes

THE COUPLES


We ended last season with many couples intact, and within the first four episodes of this season, it seems they have all broken up (with the exception of Will and Emma). Some of the couples (both LGBTQ and straight) may never come back together, while others could reunite in the future. Individual characters might move on to new relationships and stay in them or break up again to go back to their former partners. Whatever the pairings, familiar or new, we hope to see communication, affection and intimacy portrayed for any LGBTQ couples in the same manner as their straight counterparts.

We do NOT want a repeat of the double standards that plagued Season 3. We hope to see important personal conversations take place in private. We hope to see the couples not needing chaperones.

On balance, so far, Glee seems to have made an effort not to shy away from displays of affection among the LGBTQ couples in Season 4, the glaring exception being Kurt and Blaine getting neither a kiss goodbye nor a private goodbye scene in 401. The lack of a private scene about their break up in 404 also falls into this category. We will be watching how the show progresses from here with interest.

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Equality Report 404 “The Break-Up”

A reminder of our position on break-ups:

Is the GEP just about the Brittana and Klaine ships? What if they break up?

Our campaign is not about shipping specific couples. It’s about glaring double standards we’ve noticed in regards to the portrayal of LGBTQ relationships on the show. If any of the LGBTQ couples break up, we hope the breakups will be treated equally to those the straight couples experience. If they move on to other relationships, we support seeing communication and affection happen in those without the double standards that plagued Season 3 portrayals.

What we don’t want to see is a situation where the straight characters move on to other love interests while the gay characters become the only gays in their village, lacking entirely in romantic plots or options. Breakups should happen because it makes sense for the characters and the changes in their lives, not to remove the pesky problem of how to portray LGBTQ relationships on television.

  • The conversation between Santana and Brittany where Santana talks about the problems of long-distance relationships is realistic, and treats their relationship and feelings respectfully.
  • Kurt and Blaine, and Brittany and Santana, are allowed to kiss in the same episode. Usually, if one couple kisses, the other does not. Achievement!
  • Despite the troubling context of cheating and relationship breakdown, we do acknowledge that in terms of equality, both Blaine and Kurt are presented as sexual beings. Their sexual intimacy as a couple is acknowledged when Blaine speaks of missing “messing around” with Kurt, Kurt agreeing that he misses it too.
  • When Blaine surprises Kurt by coming to visit him in New York, they greet each other with a kiss, their first since 305 “The First Time.”
  • Chase Madison is shown to be completely accepting of Kurt’s sexuality.

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Equality Report 403 “Makeover”

  • It is established that Kurt and Blaine are maintaining frequent contact; talking, texting and Skyping as much as possible. The narrative shows the very different challenges each of the boys are facing as individuals, how their lives are diverging, and how this is beginning to have an impact on their relationship.
  • Blaine and Sam were shown to be friends. There was no squeamishness about having a straight boy undress in front of a gay boy. The matter-of-factness of this scene dispelled any notion of the ‘predatory’ gay stereotype.

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Equality Report 402 “Britney 2.0”

  • Brittany was allowed to have feelings and talk about how she misses Santana. She also talked to Santana in private (albeit via Skype).
  • A reference to “scissor Skype” was used as shorthand to establish the welcome fact that Brittany and Santana are maintaining a sexual relationship.
  • Unique is Unique throughout the episode without anyone batting an eyelid (also she refers to herself as a girl. Given this, we at GEP have decided to do the same) and she was shown talking to Marley about cute boys. They didn’t desexualise the trans* character nor did they depict her sexuality as threatening.

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Enjoyed our Equality Report on The New Rachel and want to do more?

Thank you! We certainly will have a report after every episode on the Monday. Some supporters have politely tweeted these links to Mr Murphy and FOX and that is great. Also, please don’t forget to write and call FOX with your concerns. Here is the Campaign Kit at our lovely new site that joins our tumblrTwitter and Facebook as ways to get your views out there online. Lastly, please take the time to write public comments at our new site after each Equality Report. Politely expressed views need to be out there on public view. Thanks again.

GEP Equality Report 401 “The New Rachel”

  • The inclusion of a likely trans* character in the choir room.
  • It was shown as wrong for the characters to tell Wade/Unique to conform in the name of retaining status/popularity.
  • Wade/Unique was shown agreeing with Sugar that Jake is sexy. They didn’t desexualise the trans* character nor did they depict hir sexuality as threatening. Achievement!
  • Glee continues to highlight a loving father supportive of his gay son’s dreams and ‘difference’ in the form of Burt Hummel. The difficulties of small town life for LGBTQ teens was referenced in his conversation with Kurt.

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Oops, they did it again.

As we’ve come to expect from Glee, Kurt and Blaine did not kiss or have a private scene in the season opener. We have a lot of thoughts about the opener in general, and we’ll be sharing those in due course, but we believe this warrants more immediate comment. Narratively it made no sense for there not to be a kiss or a private scene between these characters in the episode. They’re a loving couple facing a lengthy separation. They’re committed to making their distance relationship work. In every story like this in the history of basically ever, the young lovers cling to one another, kiss, cry, and say their tearful goodbye. They would definitely kiss. It’s only natural.

Not on Glee.

On Glee, a gay kiss is avoided, once again, by setting their conversations, and especially their big goodbye scene, in public and in a highly homophobic environment. Forget that they have cars, bedrooms, and even empty classrooms, Kurt and Blaine talked briefly about this big decision in a crowded courtyard and shared a hug goodbye.  

We’re disappointed, but after all this time we’re not very surprised. They’ve been in public, chaperoned or fighting since the last time they kissed. How long has that been anyway?


That’s over 300 days in real world time. No straight couple on Glee has gone that long without a kiss. It’s over half the length of their entire romantic relationship. It’s also a glaring double standard. We’re not asking for naked make out sessions. We’re asking for equal portrayals that make sense in the context of the stories being told.

This isn’t equality.

A gay hug does not equal a straight kiss. It didn’t in season 3, and it doesn’t now. We’re not impressed.

Stay tuned for a more complete review of all the LGBTQ portrayals, positive and negative, in our Equality Report on Tuesday.

Advocating for Wade/Unique

An addition to our updated and extended Frequently Asked Questions.

Concerned about Wade/Unique?

We are very concerned about Wade/Unique’s portrayal on Glee. Now it has been confirmed the character returns in Season 4, we will be looking at hir portrayal. Thus far it has been unclear if Wade is trans* or has a drag performance persona. We hope this will be presented more clearly going forward, or at least acknowledged as a confusion Wade/Unique is struggling to come to terms with. Teenagers often don’t have all the answers, so we understand the struggle can be part of the journey to understanding and acceptance.  We plan to use gender neutral pronouns for Unique until the show tells us what hir favoured pronouns are.

We want to advocate for Wade/Unique sensitively and respectfully; if you feel you can help advise the GEP on trans* issues, we’d love to hear from you.