Friday, January 28, 2011

The 21st Century: Entertainment and Increased Visibility

Visibility and Religion
The early years of the twenty-first century saw immense gains in visibility of gays and lesbians. Out homosexual men and women began to hold positions of importance in politics and the business world. Similarly, great figures in entertainment, such as Rosie O'Donnell, began to out themselves. Religion also saw change in the visibility of LGBTQ individuals. In 2003, openly gay Rev. Gene Robinson (pictured below) was elected, consecrated, and then placed as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire. The Anglican Church was enraged, and soon other religious leaders and churches threatened discontinued relations with the church. Archbishop Rowan Williams, leader of the worldwide Anglican Church, appointed a commission to review the issue. Williams proposed that there be a two-tiered membership to the Anglican Church with gay-friendly churches playing a smaller role in worldwide religious power. This issue still divides the church.

The 2000s also saw a huge increase in queer film and television. In 2000 America introduced its British inspired Queer as Folk, a show that explored the lives and sexuality of a group of gay friends. The show was a hit and continued until its final episode in 2005. Television also brought attention to lesbian culture with the show The L World, a television drama about a several lesbian friends. In 2003 HBO aired its queer-themed film Angels in America and LGBTQ-interest television networks such as Here! and LOGO were formed. Another successful television show was Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a reality show in which five gay men helped straight men in fashion, decorating, and cooking. Though the show was well received by heterosexual audiences, the gay community was torn by its depiction of stereotypical queer roles. 

In 2005 film Brokeback Mountain was released, a movie that would become one of the most influential queer-themed films in American history. Brokeback Mountain depicted the relationship between two sexually curious men who struggled with accepting their sexuality. The film opened up discussion on homosexuality and was the first time in which the American public acknowledged that homosexuality did not entail the stereotypical roles formed in the late 80s. 

Additional/Relevant Reading:
Gay America: Struggle for Equality -- Linas Alsenas, pg. 146-148
Implications of Brokeback Mountain --

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