Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer

Glee: Stepford Gays

Filed By Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer | December 06, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Christian beliefs, FOX, Glee, LGBT, Stepford Wives

Glee lets the world know that it's okay to be gay. If you're a robot.

At this point, the only thing that will redeem Glee is if, in the end, we discover that fundamentalist Christians are killing high school students and replacing them with perfectly lifelike robots whose sole purpose is to keep the gays happy with soulless, nostalgic entertainment while they take over the world.

Dear God, I know you don't exist because if you did you would spare me this reactionary nightmare we call gay culture in 2010.

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I know that queer "edgy" is anti-gLee... I also know that I'm a dyke mom w/5Philistines [kids] and they LOVE the show. It's not suppose to change the world, represent the ENTIRE umbrella of individuals in the LGBTQRXY & Z.

And the Phils first question is this:

Why would anyone be anti-gLee? I mean they don't like the show, it's not for them... I get. But I don't get what's so wrong w/seeing two gay guys singing a traditional Xmas song?

THAT is how some of the youth are reading this post. 5teenagers ranging from age 19 to 15 don't "get" what's wrong w/some nostalgic fun?

Save the "edgy" for the other 11months of the year... some kids actually want to believe in something this month.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | December 6, 2010 11:47 PM

I had the same reaction your kids did, and I don't even watch Glee (Just not my genre).

I just keep thinking maybe these teens are learning it's just not a "big deal" to see two gay guys sing a traditional/romantic/nostalgic xmas song and wondering why... WHY? Anyone would have a problem w/it, being straight, queer or lez/gay ID'd.

It's NOT a big deal and just actually plain out... fun and sweet.


It isn't about reality. We have enough of that in just keeping a job, marrying a spouse, having a fucking roof over our head.

A little sparkle... a little sparkle this time of year means something to a lot of people who just want to watch something they haven't seen before.

Two gay teens singing a romantic/fun/carol w/no shame in prime time. It isn't "edgy"... but there are enough edges for the kids, the rest of the year.

theflyingarab | December 6, 2010 9:40 PM

I don't know why I watch this show. My thoughts, in no particular order:

1. I notice they cut out the verse where Blaine sings, "your lips look delicious" and then he sings "your lips are delicious" and I'm GONNA GUESS it's because the World Isn't Ready or whatever. (Though I guess the world WAS ready to see him get pretty much assaulted by the football player dude?)

2. But they left in the "what's in this drink" part. Creepy.

3. WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO KISS? Are we gonna have to wait for a facebook petition and some lame explanation from the writers about Blaine having a PDA problem? Seriously, it's like Philadelphia all over again.

4. Why is Brittany still dating Artie?

LOL Steven. There is no redeeming this show.

Glee is a very effective show. 15 million happy viewers. This show has accomplished more than all of the LGBT advocates and activists this year. They have people thinking and learning. Not much else has done that this year.

I think the author of this post is mixing gay culture with queer culture. Glee isn't about "queer."

Well, yeah, the show is popular. If it weren't, I wouldn't see much point in critiquing it. If 15 million people are "thinking and learning," many of them teenagers, I think it's important to ask ourselves: what are they learning?

battybattybats | December 7, 2010 1:22 AM

And Glee is transphobic and intersexphobic.
It has reinforced that it's ok to be transphobic, that you don't have to include Trans characters even though there's at least as many Trans people in the world as there are gay and lesbian people and potentially as many as there are bi people and that its ok not to include intersex characters even though theres more Intersex people than there are Gays or Lesbians. (GL = 2-3%, TS = 1 per 500, I = 4%, B/SSA = 20%, nonTS TG = 2%-20%)

It's like saying it's ok that the Jetsons had only white characters because the show was just for white people. Sorry it was racist when black people were disproportionately absent on tv and i'ts just as bigoted not to see Intersex and Trans proportionately on tv either.

And of course Trans and Gay culture have been intermingled and have influenced one another for a very long time, Stonewall and Compton being good examples. There is an overlap, a shared connection, a heritage that links Trans and Gay culture and is part of both. So by omitting the Trans part of Gay culture an act of not just Transphobia but of Homophobia is committed.

And there's no excuse which justifies it.

This show has accomplished more than all of the LGBT advocates and activists this year.

Yes, Glee--that standard-bearer of trans advocacy.

I am so over pretentious queens trying so hard to be "au courant" and bitching about "Glee." It's a television show for crissakes.

What the hell is wrong with two gay men singing a flirty song to each other -- I have lived many years watching straight couples play coy, it is refreshing and a hopeful sign of the times to see two gay teens singing a sexy, silly romantic song to each other on primetime TV. Lighten up!

I have to agree. Bilerico has been particularly offended by every move Glee makes, forgetting that without it, there would be little else queer on TV at all.

And you know what, I knew kids like Kurt in high school. My boyfriend was a Kurt in high school. Its unfair to blast Glee because it doesn't paint the kind of queer robots YOU'D like to see, even as it is painting the picture of a kind of real queer kid that exists and has probably NEVER seen an image of himself reflected in the media.

Kurt is a dynamic, 3-dimensional character, who pisses me off and infuriates me some weeks, and then really pulls me in others. But at least he's there. Like it or not, some little gay kids are brave, queenie, fashion-conscious, theatre-loving, cupie dolls, and really they deserve, as much as the rest of us, to see a positive portrayal in the media--a portrayal that depicts them as flawed but strong, and growing into confident, conscientious grown men, despite the bullshit the world puts on them (including the bullshit from our own community).

Steven, after your other amazing post, blasting the "straight acting" Guardian post, I'm very disappointed, you're guilty of doing the very same sort of dismissing. A view of what's 'good & queer' ought to be very broad, not extremely narrow.

I'm sorry you're disappointed, Phil, but you're projecting a lot onto my post that simply isn't there. I happen to love "brave, queenie, fashion-conscious, theatre-loving, cupie dolls."

I'm not surprised you all love Glee. It's a very persuasive and reassuring show. But for your information, human voices don't sound like that. Those vocals, and much of that dancing, was manufactured in the editing studio, just like the 1950s worldview that Glee crams down your throat every week.

Phil, you know I love you, but, really, I don't think it's fruitful to go down the "You're a femme-phobe!" path with Steven. It'd be like someone going on Betty's post from this morning (on the same topic, opposite view) and accusing her of being anti-gay for liking Glee. (For the record, I met her last week and had a great time with her, and I don't think she's homophobic, it was just an example.)

Well, let's see, Phil. William Shantner in "$#*! My Dad Says" has a gay house keeper, who also works at a gay-owned restaurant. In the SyFy show "Caprica," the main hard-ass mobster is a gay man with a partner, and Clarice, a primary character is bisexual. SyFy also has a gay character in "Eureka." "Gray's Anatomy" has a lesbian couple as primary characters, though they just broke up. I'm sure I missed some others.

Camile Wray and Sharon Walker on "Stargate Universe". One of the best couples currently on TV.

Yes! How can I forget them? Of course, "Modern Family" and Sue Heck had a gay boyfriend in "The Middle," only she couldn't figure it out.

Phil I agree with you on many levels. So many people are attacking Glee. I am a 22 year old gay man when I was in a teen struggling with I like men oh crap the only THE ONLY show that had gay people is a non negative light was Will and Grace and so many people attacked it for being high income, unrealistic and having Jack as to hyper sexual and on and on.

Yet how many millions of Americans tuned in to watch and get into dilaouges about LBGT people even if it was not perfect in having only the white gay males? It was not perfect but it was the best in LBGT TV to date. Today we have Glee addressing bullying, gender expression, race, gender, disability, youth issues, is it the perfect all inclusive show no but how many shows are topping it in the inclusiveness?!!

I think the gay community is getting to demanding and not recognizing the amazing strides this show is making. Last week I presented to a graduate class of future public administrators, teachers, social workers, on Anti Bullying policy and civic engagement THE issue of bullying in Glee got brought up by straight people who otherwise would have little to no connection, and sparked a great dialogue. It made change, and isnt that what we want from out shows, inclusiveness, progress and growth!
So to all the attacks on Phil for shame on address hey folks this is good thing having Glee lets think please.

Yeah, I hate Glee. I need someone to notify me when this thing between Blaine and Kurt actually gets started. I've already watched a show where the gays made super slow romantic progress and in the end were broken and sad. I'm over it and I'm not gonna support a show that does it. Newsflash: Kurt and Blaine are not the first gay couple on television.

Why were they so far apart? I get that it's a back and forth song, but there was distance or the fucking couch in between them to keep them from...what? And then when they do touch, it's platonic after the suggestive song? No holding hands or anything? Let the hets fuck around and get pregnant and have their sex drama. The gays will be drinking hot chocolate and breathing the same air. Is their relationship even supposed to go anywhere at all?

Although (I do have something positive to say!) I do like both of their voices. My girlfriend has some Glee songs from the first season, but this one is definitely my favorite Glee song I've heard.

"without it, there would be little else queer on TV at all."

I hardly ever even watch TV and I know this is not true. Every reality show has a queer character of some kind, there are queers in commercials fairly frequently, Ellen is on every day, not to mention talk/news shows are constantly doing stories about queer people and queer issues. Queer is ubiquitous on TV these days.

Such churlishness here! Sorry; but I'm siding with the pro-Gleeks. This is not a PBS documentary we're watching... Light tv fare such as Glee has ALWAYS included unrealistic portrayals of dumb Dads, smart Moms, bratty teens,
senile grannies, and the like. Even teens know that tehy're not watching 'the real thing', as far as the gay characters go. I wish Kurt's character was less disdainful and fashion-obsessed than he is, but like him anyway. And Blaine? That boy has already done wonders for my erectile dysfunction! :)

Now if they showed the true lifes of gay teens, what audience would watch it?! Likely a small segment of the LBGT community and that would never then stay on the air!

So how do you get 15 million people to watch and attempt to address everything from bullying, gay teens (yes we only show white gay males here), women of different gender expressions, body sizes, personsalities, people with disabilities, races, and so much more?!

Glee is so far the farthest we have come now is it perfect HELL NO, do we need to improve it YES! If we are so gay friendly have we not seen any actual dating for Kurt and Blaine? I mean just holding hands would be a start of a cuddle!

For LBGT why have we not had a person of color, a women, a bi, a trans?

Also how about we show the low income and middle class realities of people, the show highlights Kurt in a outfit that costs half my closet and he has half a dozen of these a episode. What middle class working family affords this?!

Again its not perfect but lets get real that its the best we have gotten to date and so we take what we have and we work to improve it not tear it down.

I personally have no problem with Glee and I believe it's very Queer for the mere fact that Kurt's character has a high voice and sings music traditionally sung by women. I don't know about anyone else, but I've never seen that promoted on television before...EVER!!

Yes, men have tried to sing with high voices on American Idol, but did anyone notice how often they were ridiculed for crossing that boundary? And yet here's Glee promoting Chris Colfer's voice in a positive light. I was also impressed that despite him being an effeminate character, they DIDN'T have him play Frankenfurter for the Rocky Horror episode. In my opinion, that would have been too much of a stereotype and contrary to what Rocky Horror was about.

So right now I see more good coming out of this show than bad, including this video. In fact, I think the producers choosing such a flirtatious song for them to sing is actually more provocative in more ways than one, lol.

Having him play Frank-n-Furter in the Rocky Horror episode would have been closer to what that show was about than casting a woman in the role would (which is what Glee did). It takes all the meaning out of a show about a cross-dressing male who seduces a heterosexual male if you replace the cross-dressing male with a woman.

I'm not going to disagree with you exactly Steven (if you will allow me the familiarity of using your first name) Glee is in many ways a very problematic show. Its relationship to Transgender and Transexual issues has been abysmal for example. Kurt is without a doubt a rather stereotypical representation of a gay teen. Yet he is a well written and fully realized character, which is very rare.

Yet,I think the "Dalton Academy" where this song takes place is supposed to be a Stepford kinda place. Its supposed to feel plastic, rigid, and ultimately fake. It lacks all the vitality, complexity, wonder, and horror of the real world. Its a sanitized ultimately whitewashed place. Eventually the character will realize that as will the audience and he will return to the messy problematic real world as represented by McKinley High. So there is a message here a deeply subversive message. That I think you maybe missing.

That's just my reading of course. I think Glee is really too problematic to be read as simply "good" and too productive and subversive to be read as "bad."


I have to side with Dieks. The mere fact that we have a wildly popular TV show that portrays gay teens positively and often sympathetically IS a big deal.

My kids really like the show and even more shockingly so does my former wife who proved herself anything but gay friendly during our divorce.

Sometimes, it's better to be happy with something that may not satisfy everyone's desires just to have a more or less gay positive show on the air. It might just work to open a few minds more than we might think.

gregorybrown | December 7, 2010 10:31 AM

I've avoided watching GLEE since seeing about 17 minutes of an early episode. But then, I didn't watch WILL AND GRACE regularly. I haven't seen much TV that I like for years, except maybe silly and sexy SUPERNATURAL. This string of comments makes me wonder if I should give GLEE a second chance, forgetting the fantasy Lima setting.
Early on in my days as a librarian I despaired over "young adult/teen" fiction that seemed to divide equally among unrealistic upper-middle class characters and desperately poor one, whether they were queer kids or otherwise. Over the years, authors developed more nuance and better characters, whose lives were more diverse and realistic and accessible to young readers of all kinds. The evolution in books was slow, and I don't expect speedy progress on TV unless it happens in one of those scenarios favored by Steven Jay Gould in which there's a sudden, unexpected burst of change to move the leisurely processes of natural selection along.

Wolfgang E. B. Wolfgang E. B. | December 7, 2010 10:40 AM

Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer wrote, "Dear God, I know you don't exist because if you did you would spare me this reactionary nightmare we call gay culture in 2010."

So, what exactly is "gay culture?"

I've lived out in flyover country all my life, so please excuse me if I seem a little out-of-loop. All the other gays and lesbians I've met over the years were just part of the surrounding culture. In the small town I live in now, I regularly hang out with a handful Gs, Ls, Bs, and Ts, but there is no culture that is specifically gay or GLBT. At most there are distinct progressive and conservative cultures here, but individuals on both sides frequently intermingle as friends.

I really don't understand this need to "critique" ad nauseam every single little thing in the world. Even though I don't watch "Glee," I still think the mere fact that there's a TV show on prime time that depicts GLBT teenagers in a positive light is a wonderful thing. It portrays us as human beings rather than as lonely, pathetic, creepy, diseased or drug-addicted. For teenaged kids struggling with their sexual orientation or living in places less welcoming than, say, New York, a show like this can be a lifesaver. And for straight people, it can be an eye-opener. I can still remember when nearly all portrayals of GLBT people on TV and movies portrayed us as the butt of jokes or as villains; needless to say, that didn't build my self-esteem as a gay teenager.

I mean, what would you rather see? A show in which a 40-year-old bisexual vegan Muslim transwoman in a C.R.A.S.S. T-shirt and drenched in patchouli spends 30 minutes each episode denouncing gay white men, neoliberalism and Israeli apartheid? Or would you find something about that to critique as well?

A show in which a 40-year-old bisexual vegan Muslim transwoman in a C.R.A.S.S. T-shirt and drenched in patchouli spends 30 minutes each episode denouncing gay white men, neoliberalism and Israeli apartheid?

I didn't know Yasmin Nair had a tv show.

ps I love Stephen Cheshire DeMilo's articles -- it's so refreshing to hear from young queer teens like Stephen about their lives.

I've never watched an installment of GLEE ... and if I have to work this hard just to figure out if I like it or not, I hope I never will.

I tell you, folks: Stick to PBS! Even if you do have to stay up 'til 3 AM just to watch In The Life ...

There was a time when there was little if anything on TV which represented Gays as valid individuals with thoughts and feelings.
Less than forty years ago, we were still labeled mentally ill by the American Psychological Society. In the 1970's when the term
homosexual was used in a leading magazine that was viewed as a step forward. We have made great progress. Glee simply adds to our overall validity.

Of course, sometimes I do not feel the media is going far enough in providing true representation of all members of the Gay community.
On a personal note, my Partner and I never or rarely see any Gays like the men we know (doctors, lawyers, members of Congress, police
officers, sheriffs, border patrol and active military).

Nothing wrong with nostalgia.

I'm as nostalgic as the next queen.

Nostalgic for what used to be called 'camp:'

A sensibility that communicates the understanding that the same tacky pop culture that has inescapably shaped my own tacky dreams is built on a series of exclusions - that, in fact , it excludes me,( as well as many others.) So that even though my own real longings are bound up in those dreams, my relation to them can never be uncomplicated.

I am nostalgic for expressions of that sensibility , with it's humanizing warmth, wit, and intelligence. Rather than the sensibilty I see so often today, which I would describe as a brain-dead , mean-spirited, beady-eyed , triumphalist acquisitiveness in relation to certain 'retro' trappings and gestures, without any apparent understanding of what those trappings and gestures mean, or may have meant in the past.

Plus, this clip is plain unsexy for the basic reason that the singing is terrible: thin , colorless, breathy , unsupported. If you want to croon , do it right, please. [ croon, v. see under Dean Martin , Nat King Cole.] Otherwise the mannerisms are just cringe-inducing....MEOWW

You've nailed why I can't stand this show. It's just plain bad. The writing is lazy and the musical numbers are completely drained of blood by the overuse of Autotune and other effects. I don't know about the two guys in this clip, but some of these kids really can sing. I saw Lea Michelle on Broadway in Spring Awakening and she was radiant.

Glee SHOULD be good. It has a great setup for a sitcom, some very talented performers, and Jane Lynch who I think is insanely funny. That's why it makes me angry that it fails to be interesting or complex or subversive or even entertaining. It's depressing.

There is no such thing as gay culture. It is just another invention to put gay people in a box.
The fact that some gays have happened to create a "culture" and try to sell it as "gay", is ridiculous.
A group of gays that likes Physics are also entitled to gather around their interests and try to sell Physics as gay, labelling gays who don't like Physics as straight-acting, self-hating, or whatever.
Likewise, there is no LGBT people. To refer to a gay man as LGBT is just as abusive as to refer to an English man as EF, just because we decided without consulting him that every time we speak of English people we should speak of French people.
Homophobia comes in many flavours.