Social Question

Kardamom's avatar

HGTV shows seem to embrace gay people, why doesn’t the rest of TV?

Asked by Kardamom (32760points) February 28th, 2018 from iPhone

I watch a lot of home improvement and house hunting types of shows on HGTV. It’s very common (not in a novel way) to show gay couples looking for a home, or having a home built. Also, some of the hosts are gay.

On the rest of TV, showing gay characters is still kind of a novelty. Even though Will and Grace was a big hit 10 years ago, and is now a delightfully refreshing and funny (and relevant) show as a comeback in 2018, gay characters are still very rare, and still often a novelty.

Orange is the New Black kind of broke down some barriers, although the gay characters on that show are prisoners, not exactly main stream characters.

Yay for shows like Ellen (which is hosted by a real life lesbian) and Modern Family, which shows a fairly normal, albeit funny and slightly neurotic, gay couple, and one of the actors in the couple is a real-life gay man, Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

My favorite new show, Grace and Frankie, depicts gay people “of a certain age” hooray! But OITNB and Grace and Frankie (a Netflix original series, depicting an older gay male couple) is on a subscription cable channel.

It seems kind of funny that HGTV, a very tame network, seems to be the calm pioneer in showing real gay people on TV.

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20 Answers

Kardamom's avatar

I guess the reason I am asking is because I live in Southern California, where being gay, isn’t a big deal. I live very close to one of the biggest “gay communities” in the United States, so being around gay people, and transgender people, just seems fairly normal. I have lots of gay friends IRL, and I work with quite a few gay people. It just seems kind of weird, in 2018, that being gay, is still sort of considered a novelty.

Aethelwine's avatar

I don’t watch broadcast tv that much but everything else I watch has many gay characters. I’d make a list but it would be long and I’m going to bed soon. The shows are out there. Take a look at cable, Netflix, Hulu, etc..

Kardamom's avatar

I do watch cable. That was kind of my point. I just think it’s odd, in 2018, that a network that is watched by mostly women, and older folks (probably plenty of grandmas and grandpas) is completely embracing towards gay people, not as a novelty, and not as “characters” but that fact is kind of under the radar. Being gay on HGTV is simply a normal part of life. On other networks, it’s still a novelty.

I mentioned the shows that I watch that have gay characters.
Are there tons of others? I’d love to see your list. I don’t think most people are aware of them.

My main point was to say that I think it’s pretty incredible, in 2018, that gay people on TV, except for HGTV, still seems to be a novel idea.

johnpowell's avatar

Yeah.. I watch a lot of tv.. Like 10 hours a day and I loathe HGTV.. Gays get a lot of airtime. Which is fantastic. The LGBT community is represented. There was Celebrity Big Brother on CBS in Prime-Time and a gay guy came in second.

I’m not saying everyone is considered equal. But we have come a long way compared to when I was a kid. So keep fighting for progress.

Zaku's avatar

I don’t watch HGTV and don’t get TV channels, but from the shows I do watch via Netflix, Hulu, HBONOW, etc., there seems to be a pretty steep increase in gay characters and acceptance.

Aethelwine's avatar

Here’s a list of the ones I can think of:

The Walking Dead.
Survivor always has a gay cast member or two, or three.
RuPaul’s Drag Race. RuPaul is getting a star in Hollywood on March 16! :)
Any show on Bravo.
Any cooking contest on Food Network.
Andy Cohen.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Doctor Who.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Game of Thrones.
The Fosters.
The 100.
American Horror Story.
The Magicians.
Mr. Robot.
House of Cards.
Master of None.
Difficult People.
Orphan Black.
Survivor’s Remorse.
Legends of Tomorrow.
How to get away with Murder.
One Mississippi.

There are also gay characters on daytime soaps.

Kardamom's avatar

Thank you @Aethelwine. I don’t watch any of those shows, except the Food Network contests, although I never noticed a proliferation of gay people on those shows, but maybe it’s just that the contestants weren’t presented as being gay.

Zaku's avatar

Adding to the above list:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1990’s)
Xena: Warrior Princess (1990’s)
True Blood

Seems like there are very many, and have been for a while… let’s see… yep, look at these

Aethelwine's avatar

@Kardamom They aren’t presented as gay but they might mention their partner when the judges question them and ask what they would do with their winnings.

KNOWITALL's avatar

And the Olympics skating announcer, Johnny Weir, watching by millions.

Kardamom's avatar

Ha ha, I guess the gays are all over TV. I just don’t watch those particular shows, save for the Food Network.

And here I was thinking that I watched a lot of TV.

Now that I think of it, I’ve been watching Young Victoria on PBS, and there was a gay, male couple.

Kardamom's avatar

@KNOWITALL. Yes! Skating, but that has been like that ever since I was a kid. I guess no one ever cared, because people that have problems with gays, usually don’t watch figure skating. Love me some Johnny Weir : ) I just looked up a bunch if his old programs, because of him being an announcer. What an awesome skater!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Kardamom That show is fantabulous, I LOVE it! And yes, in that repressed atmosphere it was an interesting concept to see played out.

I barely notice anymore tbh, it’s so common for me unless someone points it out, I just go on. Plus I don’t watch a ton of tv anymore and refuse to pay for brain trash/ cable…..haha

We just got our first local gay tv host on a local tprogram and that has expanded to an Antiques Roadshow spin-off for our area. We may be a red state, but we’re making progress!

Patty_Melt's avatar

I would say it is perspective.
I am big into the new show 911.
Last night much of the show involved a relationship between two women and (gasp) an uninvited third. Oh oh.
Modern Family, The Voice, Dharma And Greg…
That is the best I can do at making a list today.

Aethelwine's avatar

It is good to see them represented more. Survivor recently had a transgender cast member who had a very moving story. It was amazing to see him receive so much support from other cast members and the public.

I’m having a more difficult time trying to think of shows where there isn’t a gay character.

kritiper's avatar

Because they know that not everybody is on that page. Why alienate your audience?? The advertisers might not like it either, and it’s what they want that pays the bills.

DarknessWithin's avatar

Clearly, you don’t watch much television outside of HGTV.

Food Network welcomes all orientations as well. I’ve seen gays, transgenders, and transvestites in their programming such as ‘Chopped’ and ‘Worst Cooks in America’.
Hell, there is even a gay among the iron chefs, Cat Cora.

Fictional television has included multi-orientation characters since at least the mid 90’s when it was less acceptable.
Some examples are:

- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
– Quantum Leap
– Desperate Housewives
– Friends
– Cold Case
– Glee
– Modern Family
– Bones
– Once Upon a Time

Kardamom's avatar

@DarknessWithin how could I have forgotten about Glee? I loved that show!

I do watch quite a bit of TV other than HGTV, probably too much, but most of it is on Netflix, or lately the news, and come to think of it, Don Lemon, Anderson Cooper, and Rachel Maddow are gay too. So things are looking up.

Another show, that a lot of people may not remember, My So Called Life, had a young gay teen character. That was in the days when it was still very taboo to even think about gays on TV. That was a terrific, slightly dark coming of age story.

Last year, I saw 2 really good movies on Netflix about transgender teens, one male, and one female.

Boy Meets Girl:

And 3 Generations:

kritiper's avatar

@Kardamom Buck up! The way things seem to be going, the whole world will be gay before long!

Aethelwine's avatar

A meme I came across today: You can’t just “turn gay.” It’s not some werewolf shit like “oh no! The full moon is out. It’s happening! I…I’ve…become…Fabulous!” :)

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