Glee

There is a sweetness in the air today. Seth got up early and hung out with HT while he got ready for work. They had breakfast, while Riley and I slept.

I came downstairs to a fed, happy boy. HT had already left. Doggies wagged with glee at my appearance.

Glee.

Last night on Glee, there was a first kiss. It was between two teenage boys. Hats off to Glee for the handling of this. It has been a slow, steadily progressing relationship between the two characters on the show. Both are upstanding, honorable, and very sweet young men.

When I think about images of gay men in the mainstream media, what comes to mind is raunch. The television loves to show snippets of gay pride parades, it’s always a guy in a belly top and daisy dukes, or drag queens vamping for the camera. They tend to be dancing in the street, half-loaded. I don’t begrudge anyone their fun, but those images don’t represent most gay people.

When I was a teenager, I remember seeing a movie where a young Will Smith kissed another man. I was very uncomfortable. I think my hands actually flew up to cover my eyes. I’d never seen anything like it. I’d lived in a small town my whole life. I didn’t personally know any gay people (actually I did, but I didn’t know it about them yet).

It took going to college, where my RA had a gay uncle and gave all of us a good education on how hurtful throwing words like “queer” around was,¬†and after that, living in a major city hugely affected by HIV. I met a person who would become a dear friend, whose family was forever changed by one of them having to hide his bi-sexuality. I volunteered with children affected by HIV.

The AIDS quilt covering the entire National Mall in DC literally brought me to my knees. Panel after panel, after panel, after panel… put together by people who loved someone who had died. Sons. Husbands. Friends. Daughters. Lovers. Little peoples’ daddies. I was not prepared for seeing that quilt. Faceless silent volunteers handed me tissue after tissue. No words between us were necessary. No words would suffice.

Gay rights are human rights, civil rights. At this point my knee jerk reaction to homophobia is the same as it is to racism. I have no tolerance for it. But I do remember what it was like to be uncomfortable in that movie theater so long ago. Ignorance is ignorance. You don’t know what you don’t know. But the world is changing.

My kids love Glee. We TIVO it, and screen to see if it is okay for them to watch. Often it is too sexually explicit, so they only get to watch bits and pieces. They have all the CD’s. They have mad crushes on some of the characters. They talk of Glee all the time.

Riley is not awake yet, but when she comes downstairs she’ll be greeted by me and her brother and two dogs happy to see her. She’ll lean down and nuzzle Jingle and then look up at me. I guarantee, the first question she’ll ask is, “Can we watch Glee? Was it appropriate?”

I’ll smile at her and say, “Yes, baby. It was.”