Was Friends Homophobic
The interesting thing about looking back at hit TV shows sometimes is that we see how the times in general were so different. In the case of Friends, now that it’s twenty years old, we were living in more progressive times for LGBTI people, but there was still a great deal to learn about what’s homophobic or not. In fact, we’re still dealing with that today in many cases. The article I’m linking to is an interesting study done that gives a few examples of how Friends might have been interpreted as homophobic, and how it could also have been helpful to gays.
Here’s an example of some comments that were probably homophobic…or would definitely be homophobic by today’s standards.
The ‘no homo’ moments between Chandler and Joey often come across as really, really lazy.
Chandler is often assumed to be gay. That would be fine, but he’s often insulted by it.
The name Amanda (A-man…duh!) was effectively ruined for everyone for at least a couple years.
Ross: ‘In much the same way that homo ergaster is now thought to be a separate species from homo erectus…’ *Rachel laughs* Joey: ‘Erectus?’ Rachel: ‘Homo!’ This is deeply uncomfortable.
Here are a few that could be interpreted as pro-gay.
Most of the jokes made in the video show the characters being foolish. Like when Joey is asking whether homo sapiens became extinct because they are ‘homo’. It’s more of a joke on his stupidity, rather than his views on gay people.
Friends was one of the first TV shows, ever, that showed a same-sex wedding.
A lot of people don’t like the ‘Phoebe’s ice dancing ex-husband comes out as straight’ scene. But it is a parody, and it’s funny.
These are just a few examples and you can read the rest here.
There is this romance web site I don’t like much for two main reasons and a million little ones. It’s elitist in the sense that in the quest to be so politically correct and superior it usually winds up offending everyone without even realizing it. It’s also without humor. There’s not an ounce of humor…unless they are making fun of someone who, get this, isn’t a politically correct elitist. These elitists wouldn’t know a parody from an asshole. In pop culture people don’t interact that way. I think Friends handled the gay issue as well as anyone else in the 1990’s. I watched it and didn’t feel offended, at the time. But it’s interesting to note that I cannot watch it in reruns no matter how hard I try. For me it just doesn’t work anymore. Maybe I need another twenty years to pass.
Philly Gay Attackers Identified
Because I live in New Hope, PA, a northern suburb in the Philadelphia area, this astounded me. In short, two young gay men were walking through one of the safest sections of Philadelphia and were attacked and brutally beaten by a well-dressed group of white straight people from the suburbs on their way to a restaurant in Center City. They may have been leaving the restaurant. I’ve read conflicting reports on that. The attackers beat these two gay men while calling them gay slurs and left the gay couple for dead, but not without getting caught on surveillance tapes…and they posted a group photo of themselves at the restaurant that was published on social media. I’m not sure what’s worse, the hate or the arrogance.
From the way it sounds someone posted the group photo on twitter through a friend of a friend and it started to garner responses from others who identified the restaurant in Philly. And, through facebook status updates by the attackers they’ve supposedly been able to name everyone in the photo. I think it was a high school group meeting for some kind of reunion, but don’t quote me on that. They’re still publishing the information.
You can read more here. Needless to say, this has started a huge firestorm in the area and nationally, and everyone’s talking about how they want these people to pay for what they did.
This next article goes into more detail.
Events developed quickly Tuesday after Philadelphia Police released surveillance video of up to 12 people it identified as suspects walking through Center City on Thursday evening near the time of the attack. Within hours, former Real Housewives of New Jersey castmate Greg Bennett tweeted this photo that he claims — because of similarities in clothing — includes some of the alleged suspects in the hate crime that happened on Thursday in Center City.
You can read more here, and there’s also a fairly long video about it taken from a local Philadelphia morning news show that I happen to watch every morning myself.
Police are crediting social media this time for helping them find the suspects. One guy’s being called a twitter hero. I have a feeling there’s a lot more to come with this one, and partly because I also heard something about hate crime laws in Pennsylvania…there aren’t any.
While many are calling the incident a hate crime, Action News has learned that even after the suspects are caught, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office says the incident cannot be prosecuted as a hate crime.
That’s because sexual orientation is not on the list of hate crimes in Pennsylvania.
The state did pass a hate crime law in 2002 that covered the LGBT community but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck it down on a technicality.
Legislation was re-introduced in 2009 but failed to make it out of committee.
You can read more about that angle here.
Travolta Gay Allegations
I don’t post on this topic often because I always find myself torn. On the one hand I don’t like forcing people out of the closet. On the other, I don’t like gay accusations of any kind because the underlying intention is to show there’s shame that goes along with being gay. I don’t believe gay people should be ashamed about anything. But this is the first time I’ve seen John Travolta discuss the gay allegations at all. It’s interesting.
Here are two questions Travolta was asked during a much broader interview:
You are a high-profile figure, and as such, it seems like you get targeted a lot more than anyone else with these types of allegations.
Also, I don’t care that much about it. Other people may attack it back more than I do, but I let all the media stuff go a long time ago because I can’t control it. I think that’s why it persists, to some degree.
Do you find it offensive?
I found it most offensive with the loss of my son. I felt like that was the lowest I’d ever felt. Sex stuff is always going to be interesting to somebody, but you stay away from family. You really should. With that, I always felt like the media—not all of the media, but parts of it—went too low there.
That’s really all Travolta says about the gay allegations.