More than ever before, homosexual characters and situations are being featured on television.  Needless to say, the lay of TV Land is overwhelmingly favorable: cheery, cuddly, cute, and camp.

The first of such programming originated in the formerly Great Britain, either imported directly (East Enders, Absolutely Fabulous) or adapted to the American small screen (All in the Family).  This, the French would note, is only to be expected.

Interestingly, a six-week series called Metrosexuality ran in the United Kingdom back in 2001, a good two years before Howard Dean stumbled across the term during his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Between 1961 and 1970, there existed exactly one American homosexual television character.  Between 1971 and 1980, 58 materialized.  Between 1981 and 1990, there were 89.  Between 1991 and 2000, 306.  Since 2000, the rate of unnatural increase has only accelerated.

Does this mean that there are 300 times more “gays” in our society than there were 40 years ago?

The answer to this question depends on one’s theory of homosexuality.  In my view, becoming homosexual is primarily a function of flawed embryogenesis: Stress on the mother interrupts the vital action of testosterone upon the male fetus, leaving his brain insufficiently male.  This theory explains why there are so many fewer “gay” women than men, why so many lesbians are discretionary or situational (á la Anne Heche), and why the homosexual orientation (inversion) is so deeply, intractably rooted in a person’s very being.

By the light of this theory, there are now probably no more—and very likely fewer—homosexuals per capita than heretofore, if only because so many of the neurotic women who would have unsexed their male infants in the womb now have abortions instead of children.

Homosexuals, like the poor, have always been with us, a fact of life neither to be celebrated nor hidden, but, in the past, they “passed,” like Cole Porter or like Tennessee Williams, who spun heroines out of his own psyche and its cravings.

The present abundance of homosexual material in the media results, in large part, from the quest to titillate, of course.  The problem is that homosexuality, unlike other outré sexual situations, is a turnoff to the vast majority of viewers.  So, while it may function briefly as a lure, forbidden fruit, to generate buzz for a show, in the long and even the short run, it does not deliver an audience like such truly prurient fare as The O.C. and The Sopranos.

An even greater part of the reason for the increased visibility of homosexuals in the media is politics, propaganda, and p.r.

In November 1987, the homosexual magazine Guide published an article by Marshall Kirk and Erastes Pill called “The Overhauling of Straight America.”  A sort of Protocol of the Elders of Queer or Mein Camp(f), this document preaches the creation of a cult of “gay” victimization and then

the desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights.  To desensitize the public is to help it view homosexuality with indifference instead of with keen emotion.  Ideally, we would have straights register differences in sexual preference the way they register different tastes for ice cream or sports games: she likes strawberry and I like vanilla; he follows baseball and I follow football.  No big deal. . . .


In no time, a skillful and clever media campaign could have the gay community looking like the veritable fairy godmother to Western Civilization.

A charm offensive very much like that proposed by Kirk and Pill has, in fact, been conducted via TV (and movies to a lesser extent).  Virtually the only negative portrayal of homosexual behavior has been on Oz, an HBO prison drama that depicts homosexual predators behind bars.  The majority are straight out of the civil-rights movement’s victimological playbook.

One of the first sympathetic portrayals was in 1994, on General Hospital, where an actor playing a homosexual activist melodramatically perished of AIDS, both on screen and off.  Such soaps as All My Children have provided bathetic story lines for homosexual characters since the 1980’s.

The long-running British soap opera East Enders (1985-present) is famed for introducing characters drawn from the margins of London life, such as Pakis and West Indians outspoken in their lack of gratitude for the blessings of the British social order.  So the show’s pioneering use of multiple homosexual characters, male and female, is all in the game.

Armistead Maupin’s insipid Tales of the City, originally a San Francisco newspaper series, inspired a British-financed dramatization in 1993 that did not spread to the United States until later.  In the course of three endless sets of tales, it provided employment for quite a few happy campers, including Lance Loud (the homosexual son of the family that pioneered reality TV) and Sir Ian McKellen.

The Clinton years were a bonanza for “gay” characterizations.  Northern Exposure not only situated itself in an Alaskan town founded by two lesbians but, in 1994, staged one of TV’s first “gay weddings.”

Beverly Hills 90210 had several homosexual characters, as does Melrose Place (1992-99), Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which boasts lesbian witches), ER (series regular Dr. Maggie Doyle came out in 1997), the salacious teen soap Dawson’s Creek, The West Wing, Ally McBeal, MTV’s The Real World, and Six Feet Under.

On the otherwise macho Nash Bridges, Nash’s sister is a lesbian.  Several reality shows, such as Survivor and Big Brother, have featured homosexual participants.

Queer As Folk is a British television program that first aired in 1999 with a cast of urban homosexual friends that include a lesbian couple and their “son.”  After testing the waters across the pond, the series begat an American version, transposed from Manchester, U.K., to Pittsburgh, PA, which has been shown regularly on cable since 2000.  In the Life, an extremely graphic talk and variety show for homosexual audiences, began airing as early as 1992 on PBS, where it may still be found.

Most programming has been aimed at homosexual men, but it is interesting to note that the first show with an “out” homosexual star on American TV was Ellen, broadcast from 1994 to 1998.  Ellen DeGeneres formally came out at the end of the 1996-97 season; her series was cancelled because of low ratings less than a year later.

The fate of Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show (highly rated until its star began to make a nuisance of her homosexuality), coupled with the fate of Ellen, suggests that, while audiences may feel less threatened by lesbianism than by male homosexuality, they also find it less attractive, less “must-see.”  Survey after survey has shown that, of all groups, lesbians have the lowest sex drive and the fewest “partners.”  But why let facts get in the way of the agenda?  Showtime is producing a series called The L Word, full of beautiful lesbians (played, for the most part, by straight actresses) who “sleep around” nonstop.  The (lesbian, of course) reviewer for the New York Times notes this “fantasy” level of sexuality and manfully adds that she’s “not complaining”—but she is, no doubt, wondering where these dames  have been all her life.

The first show to feature a homosexual lead after the Ellen debacle was Will & Grace on NBC.  Airing from 1998 to the present, it features Eric McCormack as Gay Everyman Will Truman (nice name), Debra Messing as Grace, Debbie Reynolds as Grace’s Jewish mother, and Sean P. Hayes as the series’ resident (and contrasting) flaming femme, Jack.

An episode that aired on December 11, 2003, suffices to convey the flavor of Will & Grace.  “The only thing getting me through the holidays,” whines Will, is good tickets to the Barry Manilow concert.  To get to meet “the Manilow,” Will flirts with the stage manager, whose quid pro quo is that Will come with him on a “date” to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

Apart from flogging two conceits that demonstrate sitcoms’ origin in a simpler, more human time—first, that, in a large city, you will run into everyone you know in the space of one block and 15 minutes; second, that strangers will chat you up amusingly rather than pretending, successfully, that you do not exist—the episode manages in only one half-hour to vamp on Debbie Reynolds, make light of “gay” sexual blackmail, and mock “the holidays” (“The holidays are all about misery . . . and obligation . . . ”).

“She’s the yin to my yang—I just can’t actually put my yang in her,” quipped Will & Grace star Eric McCormack when interviewed on Bravo apropos of his costar Debra Messing, to much appreciative laughter.  Bravo is the premier “gay” television network.  Its movie choices reflect this, as does its original programming (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) and the first homosexual reality-dating series (Boy Meets Boy).

In terms of creating a warm and fuzzy image of homosexuals for mass consumption, Queer Eye is sheer brilliance.  Carson, Todd, and the rest of the Fab Five appear harmless, adorable and oh-so-helpful—like Mammy in all those Hollywood fables.  You would never dream what they would like to do to the unsuspecting straight whom they are salvaging for his wife or girlfriend; only a few random, mocking hints in the aftermath of the makeover remain to suggest the great divide between “breeders” and those “in the life.”

If proof were needed that homosexual themes are critical—not popular—favorites, the AIDS-apotheosizing miniseries of Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America has not even been released theatrically but made it onto 2003’s top-ten lists of several influential film critics and, of course, dominated the Golden Globe Awards.

Two recent publicity coups have given heart to homosexual media activists: the openly homosexual Richard Hatch’s win in 2000 of the Malaysian round of the reality show Survivor, and the prominent role of openly homosexual Sir Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf in the wildly successful Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Sir Ian has been so emboldened by his celebrity that he actually appears at rallies crying, “Come out!  Come out and join us!” to all and sundry.  Yet his performance as Gandalf clearly shows he is aware that, if there were anything the least bit lascivious about the wizard’s affection for hobbits, audiences would recoil in horror.

It is one thing to flirt with young actors on a movie set; it is quite another to imply that underlying Sam’s devotion to Frodo, for example, is sexual desire.  At the end of The Return of the King, as Frodo embraces Sam for the last time before he departs for the West, deeply kissing his brow, the scene’s power depends on the purity and spirituality of their comradeship.  So does male bonding in the real world of power.

In the end, that is just what homosexuals cannot fathom: They really do not understand that normal men do not have, as Andrew Sullivan has expressed it, “the deepest emotional need” for sodomy.  Thus, having the hero suddenly kiss his buddy on the lips is not exciting but repulsive.  No matter how many times you show it, it just does not make any converts; in fact, the less you show it, the better.

What is fueling the homosexual makeover of American culture?

Societies with an excess of men are reputed to be undemocratic, rigidly hierarchical, and ruled essentially by homosexual cliques.  What of societies with an excess of women?  There are, in the United States, 28 million single women over age 30, compared with only 17 million single men.  How do 11 million excess women affect the social order?

Simply put, men can be as pathetic as they want and still find eager female takers, at every stage of life.  Part of being “pathetic” is toying with homosexuality, metrosexuality, whatever you want to call it.  The truth may not be that men are more passionately interested in other men than they used to be but that men are less passionately interested in women than they used to be—a matter of supply and demand.