Approval of Gay Marriage Means More Representation in TV and Film

The landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage in every state means there will be a higher representation of gay characters in television and film.  Along the way, comedy helped the cause.

So, writers… start writing.

If you’re a screenwriter, you know about the The Vito Russo Test.  You can’t simply add a gay character for set dressing.  It has to be a real character that is defined by something other than his or her sexuality.  And he or she has to be tied into the plot.

C’mon… start your engines.  You can do this.

When I was growing up in the 70s, one of my favorite characters was Billy Crystal’s character on the TV show, “Soap.”  We watched that show as a family.  I never thought twice about his character being gay, I just thought he was funny and probably the smartest in that bunch.  At the time, it was groundbreaking television.

I now think of landmark characters such as the Tom Hanks’ character in “Philadelphia,” Angelina Jolie’s character in “Gia” at HBO, or Michael C. Hall and Matthew St. Patrick’s characters in “Six Feet Under,” also on HBO.

There are more great characters, but more often than not, they are written as exaggerated caricatures instead.

GLADD has recommendations to the TV and film community and I expect the Supreme Court ruling will have an impact on the future of all Hollywood productions.

I have lots of gay friends.  And my gay friends are far more thoughtful and caring than my straight friends (sorry, straight friends… I know you’re busy).

I have conducted many funerals in Los Angeles for people who happen to be gay. After pastors have turned down those funerals solely because the decedents were gay (the pastors admitted this fact to me), those services were offered to me and I have always said yes.  Every life story is equal in my eyes and so are the rights of all human beings. So, representation of those life stories should see equality as well.

The time is now.  Put pen to paper.  And start writing great characters.

If anyone wants to get married, I’m also a minister.


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