Neil Patrick Harris

Rant: Time Magazine, Neil Patrick Harris, and Images of Gay Men

Well, they did it again. Time Magazine, for all their liberal efforts to save the world, insulted gay men just like they did it the last time I wrote about them, here. Only this time it was with a subtle comment, in a small piece written about Neil Patrick Harris. I used to think Time did these things to spark controversy. But now I just think they’re stupid.

I’m not going after Neil Patrick Harris in this post. I like his work and I think his public image is wonderful. And he has no control over what is written about him. However, this past week he was mentioned in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people issue and the comment made about him, though nice for him, insulted the lgbt community once again. In this issue of Time, where they list 100 influential people, the comments are written by people who either know, or have worked with, the influential people listed. It’s a grand lovefest that often leaves me wondering, and it could be the reason why Time Magazine is growing thinner by the week, losing subscriptions by the day, and pissing people off by the minute.

In any event, the comment made about Neil Patrick Harris suggested that he’s such an influential man (simply because he’s gay, not because of the work he’s actually done), he’s partially responsible for changing the image about the way gay men are perceived in the world. This isn’t a direct quote. But that’s the gist of what it says.

And I’d like to know what’s wrong with the image we already have as gay men? Or, better yet, do we even need an image? Because what this comment about Neil Patrick Harris is suggesting is that there’s a negative image, obviously created by other gay men, and it’s somehow not right according to the image “they” want for us.

But more than that, what truly amazes me is that no one ever picks these little discriminatory remarks up on the mainstream. If someone made a public comment like this about any other minority in America, bombs would go off, heads would roll, and someone would be apologizing all over the talk show circuit.

For me, it’s just another reason why I’m not renewing my subscription to Time Magazine. Though I like him, I don’t need Neil Patrick Harris to set an image for me, nor do I need Time Magazine to suggest this is who I should be. Gay men (and the entire lgbt community) are all different. We’re not an image, we’re not a stereo-type, and to suggest that we should be is as insulting as so many comments we used to hear about other minorities in America.