The love shown to Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right, plus popular television shows like Modern Family and Glee, have revealed a new, open-arm policy to gay themes and culture in Hollywood. It's an advancement that's led USA Today to state: "When it comes to gay marriage and gay families, politicians are still bickering and courts are still deliberating. But in entertainment, it's all over but the shouting."

The piece goes on to note the many changes in the representation of gay characters, transitioning from what David Hauslaib (Queerty) calls "from minstrel acts and punch lines to relatable everyday characters." He sees this as a "new era where [being a gay family] is no longer a significant part of the story." Now films like Kids are showing gay families in everyday scenarios, rather than simply doomed through ignorance and hatred.

It is -- for sure -- a step in the right direction. Or, better put, a leap in the right direction, but should we go so far as to say that the fear is gone?
While everyone is battling over Proposition 8, Hollywood is being cast as this mecca of gay themes. But while better, there's still a long way to go. Yes, there's a new-found casual feel to lifestyles that expand beyond heterosexuality, but I'd argue that much of media still fits into the old, ridiculous notion that girls-with-girls are cool, and boys-with-boys are blech.

While Hollywood is open to showing gay households and families, I can't help but think of how gay male sexuality is framed on screen. For every tongue-lashing Wallace Wells gives out in Scott Pilgrim, there are the chaste storylines where gay lovers must show restraint in their physical love. I adore Breakfast with Scot, but it takes romantic affection back to the 1930s. Less than two years ago, The Washington Post even published a piece about the "ick" stigma attached to gay male kissing. Sure, some time and more advancements have come since then, but just think back to my February post on the art of de-gaying, where the marketing for both Valentine's Day and A Single Man made their gay characters appear heterosexual. (Not to mention that some familial kissing could be seen as steamier than the affection shown between Bradley Cooper and Eric Dane in the former. It was the blandest reconciliation and romance I've ever seen on screen.)

I'll be much happier with this open-arms hypothesis when regular romantic affection between all partners is equal. We've come a long way since the days when the MPAA gave But I'm a Cheerleader an NC-17 for gay themes, but Hollywood still has some growing to do.
categories Movies, Cinematical