Christmas is the time of year for Peace on Earth and good will to all humanity, and who could use a little bit of that more than the gay community? As far as their treatment in film goes, homosexuals may have had it worst of all. Women haven't always had it easy but strong female characters have existed since the silent era and while there is still room for improvement, the way people of color are treated today is definitely a step or a thousand up from The Birth of a Nation.
However, feminism and racial equality are not exactly things that happened overnight. It was the result of decades, perhaps even centuries, of people challenging the established norm step by step. The feminist movements were already in play by the studio era, and depictions of race have gradually improved over the years with increasing changes in society. Meanwhile, gay rights is an issue that really didn't begin to surface until somewhere in the mid-late 20th century, and it's only very recently that there has been any concerted effort to improve depictions of homosexual characters in the media.
During the studio era, when actresses like Katherine Hepburn managed to play strong female characters and occasionally there was even a black character treated with some respect, movies weren't allowed to so much as acknowledge the fact that homosexuals exist (which famously caused problems during the production of A Streetcar Named Desire). Later movies would be slightly more open (though usually preferring to imply the character as being gay over actually stating it) but generally would see the person in question "punished" or somehow "cured" of their homosexuality. I've brought up before that Goldfinger had a scene where the hero somehow "cures" a woman of being gay by raping her.
It's only very recently we have seen any effort to improve the representations of gays in the media, and the majority of them have happened over the past fifteen years. So to show a little bit of love, why not draw attention to some of the strong gay characters we do have on film? They've shown up in a variety of forms with couples both male and female, many of them in the very same country that once refused to acknowledge their existence. Others have shown up around the world as well, and I think it is worth highlighting some of the best examples we can find of strong gay characters.
The dynamic of this blogathon should be simple enough. It works more or less the same as my Women in Film Blogathon. For those of you who didn't participate, it was quite simply an event meant to emphasize strong female characters. Each contributor would pick a woman from a movie of their choice and make a case as to why she was a strong female character. It was a huge success and I received a lot of very in-depth articles describing a wide variety of excellent female characters. If you have some time it's certainly worth looking at to see what people came up with.
Really, at its core that's all this blogathon is except with one slight alteration. For the purposes of highlighting strong female characters I enforced a rule saying that you could only write about one woman per submission. This time, however, you have the option to write about a gay couple instead of just one person.
- Pick one gay character or couple to write about from a movie of your choice. If you wish, you can do multiple articles highlighting different characters or couples.
- Once you have made your choices, you will need to make a case for why you think they are strong characters and a positive image of homosexuality.
- No stereotypes. Writing about a "camp gay" or any other stereotypical image of homosexuality will not be tolerated. If you do so you will be disqualified.
- Include a banner with your post. There are several to choose from below. If you wish, you can design one of your own provided it includes the title of this blogathon and imagery fitting to the subject matter.
Once you've written up your entry there's a few ways you can submit it. The easiest would probably be just to post your link in the comments, but you can also send it to me through my Twitter feed or by e-mail. In keeping with this tying into the emotional side of Christmas, the deadline will be set at December 25. Submissions will be posted below.
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