Saturday, February 21, 2009

Open Forum: "I Hate Being Gay" Program on Tyra Banks Show

The Tyra Banks Show has hosted a program called "I Hate Being Gay" and the program is split over 5 clips that can be seen below, please double click the videos to see it in full screen.

The program has received a mixed reaction from the gay community, some feeling that the show is a trophy for the right wing which seeks to demonstrate how psychologically damaging the "gay lifestyle" is, and to reintroduce terms like "sexual orientation disturbance". Others feel that the program highlights serious issues many gay people face at some point in their lives and that it is a healthy discussion to have.



The program begins by featuring one young man who finds being gay disgusting, he hopes to become "straight" by the age of 30 in hopes of having a family. He feels he can be emotionally attracted to women, but not as sexual as he would like to be.

The next clip shows a guy who feels very intimidated by gay men. Tyra sends him out to meet with some gay men and helps increase his confidence and he reported feeling better about his identity.

Following that a man is introduced who identifies as gay but has fallen in love with a woman and decided to marry her. The couple occasionally brings an additional man into the bedroom, and they are unsure as to whether their relationship will prevail.

Finally, the last man is conflicted about being gay because he also desires a family. On the request of his father, he attends an "ex-gay" seminar only to find out that it takes years and thousands of dollars and would only help to possibly supress his desires as opposed to change his orientation. He seems conflicted as to which path in life he will ultimately take.

Tyra Banks has traditionally been very gay supportive, and always says "the gays love Tyra and Tyra loves the gays." But, recently she had a program on "ex-gays" and now this program also toys with the idea of "orientation conversion." Tyra Banks continually throughout the show makes positive statements about how orientation cannot be changed and that these men should accept themselves.

Some in the gay community are outraged that Tyra is showing a few "dysfunctional" people and that this reflects poorly on many in the community who never questioned their identity. Should we shun the voices of those who are struggling and pretend everything is just fine, or is it ok to discuss openly how some people are struggling and how some experience sexual fluidity in the hopes of making the public more aware how ingrained in our lives sexuality is and how complicated human sexuality really is, regardless of orientation?

13 comments:

Dr. President said...

I tried to email this to you, but it didn't get through: George Mason University chooses Transgender Man for Homecoming Queen

minami-neko said...

I think that if there weren't ever any "positive" gay portrayals on her show, it would be one thing, but that's clearly not the case. I don't watch much of "Tyra" but I watch ANTM all the time, and the show has many happy, well adjusted gays on it. (Hello, the Jays?)

Tamara said...

This was a great show! Tyra made it a point to let her guests know that they didn't have to feel bad about themselves or there situation. Plus the title of the show was a little misleading because the only person who actually hated being gay was the first guy. Furthermore, there are a lot of gay people who need to have these conversations so they can move into a healthier place.

Ross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cerberus said...

It almost seems to highlight sexual fluidity and the Kinsey scale of bisexuality that we've been ignoring in our culture a lot less than the intense cultural homophobia in our culture that makes such an honest debate harder. The first guy especially seems to be adopting a ton of homophobic assumptions (including marrying a woman will totally solve all issues by magic of vagina) and highlights how a lot of men, even if Kinsey 5 will cling to that little bit to playact straight (indulging themselves through the many sites for "straight men" to get surreptitious dick).

I'd like to see an honest debate about the realities of the Kinsey scale, negotiating homophobia while coming out, and a cultural platform to point out the fact that there is no "one right way to be gay" which is a message that desperately gets drowned out.

I don't think she fully succeeded in bringing those out as much as she should have, which I think is why she's being criticized for "giving our enemies fooder". Though personally I think those criticisms are unfair. The lying Right will take absolutely anything and a lack of material has never stopped them before. Besides the first guy is pretty much his own best counter-example as its so clear he isn't really "secretly straight" or even genuinely disgusted as he is intensely suffering from internalized homophobia.

Which is oh so common for a lot of people coming out.

elaygee said...

Tyra Banks and shows like her only show dysfunctional people of all kinds. No one wants to watch any guests come on the show and say "everything is fine and life is good"

Isaac said...

I strongly agree Cerberus' remarks about sexuality fluidity, Kinsey scale and homo-normativity.

I watched these videos with an ace eye and I could recognize several issues which rise among asexual people. I'm not surprised by it, since a gay guy is asexual w.r.t. women. For instance, the first guy seems to be biromantic homosexual; he had an asexy relationship with a woman, and I think he is capable of achieving his goal if he realized that love and sex need not come together. The third gay guy, who is married to a straight woman, has developed devices which would not seem odd on AVEN boards. My conclusion is that they could learn a lot from the asexual community, since asexy features are not exclusive of asexual people, and take advantage of the ace toolbox.

libhom said...

The third guy definitely sounds bi.

The notion of sexual fluidity is a myth. One would expect that bisexual people would have varying degrees of interest in members of different sexes based on the individuals they are attracted to.

Queers United said...

I disagree that sexual fluidity is a myth, how do you explain someone who for all their life 30 years has been attracted to one gender and all of a sudden becomes exclusively attracted to the other or both?

Allan said...

QU 11:12 p.m.: Opportunity? Your question could be answered by libhom's statement that I agree with, if a person is actually bisexual it could easily appear that their sexual attractions changed all of a sudden when they simply found an individual(s) to whom they were unusually, uncharacteristically, genuinely attracted. IMO, there is a certain amount of sexual fluidity built into most, not all, people, which becomes less "fluid" as one ages.

QU asked: "Should we shun the voices of those who are struggling and pretend everything is just fine, or is it ok to discuss openly how some people are struggling and how some experience sexual fluidity in the hopes of making the public more aware how ingrained in our lives sexuality is and how complicated human sexuality really is, regardless of orientation?"

IMO, we should not shun or hide their voices, we should not pretend, and it is okay to discuss openly that people of all sorts struggle in many, many ways with their sexual attractions.

The danger is when shows focus only on us when there is no need to. It is an unnatural twist to a broader set of human problems and even fools us into thinking we are so unique that a show focusing only on a few sexually (psychologically?) dysfunctional people who happen to have some degree of same-gender attraction.

That just provides too big of a target on our backs for our truly dedicated enemies to use against us in continuing the brainwashing of their herds of sheeple.

Tyra needs to pay close attention to make sure she doesn't think she automagically knows what it is like to be "the gay" because she isn't "the gay" AFAIK and her taking us for granted (not yet, but the risk is there) can easily lead to big errors in the ranks of the shows producers, etc.

Allan said...

shoulda finished sentence (end of 4th paragraph): some degree of same-gender attraction is less than a tabloid approach for the ratings.

Anonymous said...

I think it's cool that finally someone in the public eye is willing to talk about something that I hear a lot in private from many who know how to put on a great looking show to the world that they're fine and dandy being gay when in secret it's a lifestyle that has not brought them any happiness or fulfillment. It's typical of the "gay community" to soap box that this is more right-wing BS. I think it's ignorant and judgmental of the gay community to deny the feelings and experiences of those whom they say they support, but once again they only support them if they have zero issues at all, ever. The gay community seems to have this inflated sense of being owed something for being gay and that any thought or emotion other than fabulous all the time is a crime and will call you right winged. That's why I would never want to be linked to such a close minded and harshly judgmental community. It's nice to see those who are against it speak out as there is never just one side to an issue as those are the more realistic and honest people you will run into and aren't concerned about the gay pop-culture and it's shallowness rule their decisions like Logo would like them to. It's ok to be gay-IT'S ALSO OK TO NOT LIKE BEING GAY! The fact that that statement goes against conventional wisdom is even better as who said you HAD to run with the pop-culture crowd in order to be worthy in society? The shallow and useless want you to believe that. Gay life is all about style and zero substance if you buy into what the gay community is trying to sell you.

Queers United said...

Any sense of unhappiness is due to societal ignorance and shame attached to the sexuality. There are many gay people who are quite happy when they get away from the people like yourself who judge them for the way they are.

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