Alex, 19, USA
Let me start by saying that I have no idea how to even compare to some of the stories on here. I’m not very eloquent and I’m straight, so the lgbtq+ issues, while important to me, haven’t directly affected me, just my friends. But as I tried to think of something to write for this amazing project, I thought of something that hasn’t been touched on very much, one of the top fights people use for why Sam should be straight: the straight ally excuse.
Now I don’t even know how or why it happened, past just wanting to be a good human being, but I’ve always been an ally. My first memory of being a straight ally was seeing an issue of Time or Newsweek in the stack of my dad’s magazines that proclaimed on the cover that George W. Bush was trying to ban gay marriage. At age eight or so, I knew I was against Bush right then and there. I’ve never questioned it, even though I grew up in one of the most conservative cities in the nation, Overland Park, Kansas.
I’ve also been surrounded by the lgb part of the community basically my whole life. As a major musical theater nerd, it’s not a surprise that, stereotypically, I’ve come across many gay men, closeted and denying and out men alike. My best friend, the one person I can turn to for anything, is still deciding if he’s bi or gay, and while the announcement shocked me (he’s a lot like Sam and Kurt combined), I’ve never once felt anything but love for him since. I was one of the founding members of a group for lgbt youth and their allies, the only straight one. I’ve never questioned supporting the community at all.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that as a straight ally, I’ve never needed someone on TV to be there and be supportive but still straight. There’s no need to make a whole bunch of characters to represent that aspect of me in the media, especially on a show where there are already straight allies.
Mercedes, Tina, Rachel, and Quinn, while you can discuss their sexualities for hours on end in the fandom, are portrayed as straight allies. Puck, Finn, Artie, Mike, and even Mr. Schuester, while their sexualities have also been debated, they’ve all been portrayed as straight allies. And let’s not forget Burt Hummel, the stereotype of a straight male in America, who, while not quite sure how to do so all the time, supports and loves his son with his whole heart.
But oh, the debater cries, Puck and Finn used to bully Kurt! Mr. Schuester and Artie have said slightly homophobic things! They’re not straight allies, we need someone who has been supportive since day one!
I won’t deny it doesn’t help, seeing someone be non-homophobic just because, but think of the inspirational stories that actually change lives. If someone were, say, addicted to a drug, they won’t get inspired by someone saying, “I was never addicted to anything and have a great life!” That doesn’t make you try to be a better person. When fitness magazines want to inspire people to lose weight, they don’t run articles about people who have been fit forever, they show people who have lost the weight they had. That is much more inspirational and makes me want to make a change, seeing someone turn their life around. I know it’s not exactly the same, but I’d argue seeing Puck and Finn turn from bullies to supportive friends of Kurt is much more likely to make someone change, because they can see that even if you’ve had one viewpoint doesn’t mean you can’t change.
And if having someone who’s always been supportive is so helpful, check out Mike Chang. He has always been in the background approving/supporting Kurt. And Artie never had a problem being around Kurt in season one, supporting him from the get go. We don’t need a third straight ally who’s been supportive from the get go.
What we need is a gay man who isn’t a stereotype, a guy who’s just, for lack of a better term, a “normal guy.” We need someone who loves typical guy things as well as other guys. We need Sam.
Right now Glee represents lesbians who aren’t stereotypes with Santana, but can you name another major hit network show where a “normal guy” is gay? Where a gay man isn’t a stereotype or is homophobic to cover it? If you have any idea, please let me know, because I would like to see it.
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