Despite all the bitching and moaning we — me and you and everyone who has even a Seussical understanding about how stories work — do about Glee, it is the most paradigm-shifting show on TV when it comes to its portrayal of the LGBT community. There is simply no way to measure the resounding positive effect Glee has had on dialogue about gay and lesbian people. For all the ways it flip-flops, Glee remains fully, unabashedly, substantively queer. And that’s something to celebrate. So this week I’m counting out the seven times* Glee really out-gayed itself.
(*I’m not including Brittany/Santana or Kurt/Blaine relationship milestones because I’ve already counted down Brittana’s best moments, and the last two seasons of Glee have been one long Klaine countdown [in the best possible way].)
Kurt and Santana come out to their families.
Kurt’s coming out was one of the most moving moments I’ve ever seen on TV, especially because his dad — who ended up being one of the greatest TV parents ever — spent most of the episode trying to squash the “gay” stuff out of him. It was tender and lovely and ultimately so triumphant. Santana’s coming out to her abuela was just as beautifully done, and her grandmother’s reaction, while heart-wrenching, was so very real to so many people. In fact, I think a lot of TV viewers need to see that kind of ugliness and intolerance and ignorance reflected at them, so they can examine their own attitudes within the context of a story, where it’s safe and they can change and the world can get better.
Brittany doesn’t come out to anyone.
While I think coming out stories are important — because most LGBT people will need to go through a coming out process at some point in their lives — there are some people for whom sexuality is a non-issue. Brittany never questioned her affection for Santana. Never, ever, ever. Brittany is attracted to a person, not a gender, and because her attraction to Santana felt as natural to her as breathing, she never wrestled with her feelings. Brittany’s story is a true one too, one that’s becoming even more common, and it hints at a future where love is love is love is love, and everyone is as at ease about it as a flag-waving unicorn.
Kurt opens his mouth and a little purse falls out.
Despite the fact that I am a gay lady who spends half her life writing for the largest, most popular lesbian website on the internet, it drives me bonkers when I hang out with gay people whose personality and identity and every bit of speech is just “gay gay gay gay gay gay gay.” So when Mercedes ends up at Breadstix with Blaine and Kurt and hears their conversation like this, it makes me double over with laughter every time.
Glee hammers home the “Born This Way” message.
Sure, Glee has given us a Lady Gaga-themed episode and the full-on “Born This Way” video, but my favorite born this way moment was at the roller rink/karaoke cabaret where Kristin Chenoweth‘s April Rhodes took to the stage for a couples’ skate and shouted to the dudes, “Grab a gal. Or grab another fella if that’s the way the good Lord made you!”