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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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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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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Equality Report 408 “Thanksgiving”

  • Kurt and Blaine have a conversation about their relationship and its future. Kurt finally has the opportunity to share his feelings, and they are honest and believably conflicted.
  • In “Let’s Have a Kiki,” Kurt initiates physical contact with a straight guy, confidently leading Brody into the dance. After being branded toxic and experiencing rampant effeminophobia at McKinley High School, we see Kurt flourishing in a more accepting environment. Achievement!
  • Wade was grouped with all the girls during the pre-Sectionals talk by the “Unholy Trinity” of Brittany, Santana and Quinn, even though he was Wade and not Unique in the scene, and no issue was made about Wade’s presence there.
  • Unique returns as herself for Sectionals, and makes a powerful statement about her identity and self-worth.

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Equality Report 407 “Dynamic Duets”

A significant number of the LGBT characters were absent from this episode, and only one LGBT relationship (Kurt and Blaine) was featured. Therefore, this report is briefer than usual.

  • The flashback to Blaine’s encounter with Eli C shows him as a sexually active gay teen, just as a flashback to a straight character’s indiscretion may be expected in similar circumstances.
  • Sam responds with kindness and sound advice to Blaine’s telling him about hooking up with another male while in a committed relationship. It’s the same reaction Sam might have in a similar situation involving a straight friend.

  • Hunter made the point quite clearly to Blaine that he isn’t “even remotely bi-curious”. While the comparison to Sebastian as the former captain of the Warblers could make this point relevant, we question why it was necessary to be made.

  • Kurt’s continued absence from the story of his break-up with Blaine is disheartening when compared to other current and past break-ups on the show where the audience has been allowed to see events from both characters’ sides of the relationship.

Watching Brief:

  • We will be watching to see if Kurt will get to say more about how he is feeling about Blaine and his relationship with him. We want him to have a voice in a story that is half his. It’s also a surprise that none of the characters at McKinley or who have returned to McKinley who were previously close to Kurt have voiced support for Kurt and how he might feel.
  • We are curious to see if Unique will return as herself or as Wade at Sectionals, or if the objections hers parents had for “Grease” still apply.
  • Sebastian Smythe made an appearance in this episode, but in contrast to how he was characterized last season, no reference was made to his sexuality and he made no attempt to flirt with Blaine. We wonder if the fact that Sebastian is gay will return as a plot point in future episodes.

Do you want Glee to do better? Write FOX:

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

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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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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GEP’s response to “The Break Up”

Tonight’s episode was a huge emotional hit for many GEP supporters. Like everyone, we’re going to need some time to process the events of “The Break-Up” and to try to separate out the equality issues from the narrative issues. We will do our utmost to be fair in our equality report, to be true to the spirit of our campaign commitment: “Fans working for equality in the portrayal of Glee’s LGBTQ characters & relationships.” But you guys understand this is going to be a hard one…and we’re only human, only fans of these wonderful characters like everyone else. And we can only promise to do our best with the hand we’ve been dealt in the episode.

If you want to make your voice heard on the events of “The Break-Up,” and express your hopes and fears for our LGBTQ characters and their relationships in the future, write FOX:

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

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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