Five reasons why “Glee” bridges the Great Gay Divide

 
 

2) We know what it’s like to hear New Directions jeers.

The lesbian and gay community knows a little something about being outcasts. Whether you’ve always been different (Artie), or you only recently discovered something that sets you apart (Finn), or you just have an unnatural attachment to show tunes (Rachel), you’re not the same as the rest of the world. When lesbian and gay people talk about their childhoods, they often say that they didn’t have the language to describe their sexuality, but they just sensed that something about them was different.

Whether that difference is an internal one (the turmoil of not being attracted to chicks/dudes like your buddies), or an external one (the lack of civil rights equality), the lesbian and gay community sees itself reflected in the characters on Glee. It resonates because it’s real. And, like Mr. Schuester said in the second season premiere, what we really want is to go from a small rebel force to a great wall of sound!

3) We’ve taken a Slushie to the face — repeatedly

One of my personal frustrations with Glee is the one-step-forward, two-steps-back trope that seems to plague New Directions in every episode.We have enough members to compete at regionals! Oh, wait — no we don’t! Oh, wait — yes we do! We’ve formed a family out of a band of ragamuffin singers! Oh, wait — no we haven’t! Oh, wait — yes, we have! Sue is evil! No, Sue is heroic! No, Sue is evil!

But perhaps my frustration is only an extension of my frustration over the equality dance I face every day. Gay people can get married! Oh, wait — no, they can’t! Oh, wait — yes, they can! Openly gay people can’t serve in the military! Oh, wait — yes, they can! Oh, wait — no, they can’t!

The lesbian and gay community understands what it’s like to gain and lose popularity over the short span of a 42-minute show (or 24-hour news cycle). The lesbian and gay community understands what it means to be granted the same rights as everyone else, only to have those rights jerked from our hands.

And we keep stepping out into the world with bright eyes and fresh faces, hoping that this time, no one is holding a Slushie.

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