I'm not sure how many people caught the Tyra Banks show last week when her topic was "Gay In The Hood", but the show is getting quite a reaction across the gay blogosphere. I know I'm a little late on this one but I had to share my thoughts after my friend Jeff was kind enough to send me the entire show to watch.
Tyra travels uptown to Spanish Harlem to meet Richard, a gay teen who suffers from low self-esteem and is repeatedly subjected to anti-gay slurs and violent attacks in his neighborhood. She stages an intervention with Morgan Jourdan, a drag queen and mother of the House of Jourdan in order to expose Richard to an environment that will love and accept him unconditionally.
We listen to "the children" talk about the difficulty of being openly gay in the inner city, many of whom were shunned by their family and forced to make it on their own, and then of course there's plenty of vogueing.
My mixed reaction:
It seems Tyra Banks is determined to be a gay icon, shouting at the top of her lungs, "I love the gays and the gays love me!" Well, okay Tyra. I'm always excited to see any representation of the LGBT community on television as long as it sends a positive message. While I don't think this show was negative or even intended to come across as such, I do think it walked a fine line and may have even crossed it. Gay houses and the ball subculture is apart of our community and is an element that fosters creativity and provides a safe space for so many at risk gay teens. Yet I couldn't help but wonder if this show made us look more like circus clowns than human beings worthy of acceptance and respect. I'm sure you'll let me know.
Here's what folks are saying via Jezebel:
"Yeah, this is going to totally stop that kid from getting his ass beat."
"He seemed at home in the Jordan House but it's only one view of gay men after all, the flamboyant fashionista style gay man. But that's Tyra's world and it's all about Tyra."
"Ugh, I hate when people do that "the gays" thing--they would never be like "black people love me!" but it sounds just as dumb. Not all gay men are swishy vogueing ferocia pomade-obsessed gym bunnies. Ick."
"I think it meant a lot to that kid, and I would think any outcast, no matter where they live, would be relieved and thrilled to be introduced into a community environment where he can be himself and not fear for his safety. That is why those "houses" exist."
Watch clips from the show at the links below: