By now, you may beÃ‚Â sick of all those year-end best-of lists (I know I’m experiencing list fatigue). So this one’s a bit different. There are only five items on this list, and they’re the top five things I’d like to see happen in entertainment in 2007. I hope that a year from now, when I’m putting together a best-of list for 2007, some of these things will have come to pass.
1. An openly queer contestant on American Idol. The sixth season of the nation’s top-rated reality show, American Idol, premieres on Jan. 16, 2007, and in the previous five seasons, not one single contestant has been openly gay. Even though some contestants appear to be openly gay in their everyday lives, their sexual orientation remains hushed up on the show. Lesbians are all over reality TV these days, and teen lesbians have become almost ordinary on prime time, from The O.C. to South of Nowhere. There is no reason other than persistent homophobia — marked by the judges’ inability to accept those who present themselves as outside of traditional gender norms — for Idol‘s continued exclusion of LGBT contestants. I hope that in 2007, this changes.
2. A regular lesbian character on a major network show. ER’s Dr. Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes) isÃ‚Â currently the only recurring lesbian character on prime time network TV, and if Innes departs the show in the near future as some are predicting, there will be zero regular or recurring lesbian characters on broadcast TV. As Brothers & Sisters (ABC) has shown, there is room for complex portraits of gay characters on network TV. It’s time for a lesbian to get the same treatment. My suggestion: Insert a lesbian into Heroes, which has badly disappointed LGBT viewers by the way it de-gayed the character of Zach.Ã‚Â Heroes‘ admirably multicultural cast is the perfect place for a queer woman.
3. A lesbian Brokeback Mountain. I’m not demanding cowgirls who look like Jake Gyllenhaal, but after the homophobic farce of Notes on a Scandal, it’s high time for Hollywood to deliver a film with major-name stars that tells a lesbian love story. Listen up, Hollywood producers: You cannot tell me that the mainstream, heterosexual moviegoer will not pay to watch beautiful Hollywood actresses fall in love with each other. What’s taking you so long to figure this out?
4. An openly lesbian, mainstream hip-hop artist. Given that hip-hop remains extremely homophobic and is often characterized by its rampant misogyny, it may be a pipe dream to hope that a mainstream, female hip-hop artist might come out this year. But I’m going to ask for it just the same. It’s really time for the lesbian ladies of hip-hop to step up and be counted: We’ll support you.
5. Last but not least, a “real butch” on The L Word. The Showtime drama has been on the air for three years now, and in those three years it has delivered offensive characterizations of masculine-identified lesbians, done a disservice to transfolk with the poorly executed Moira/Max story line, and generally disrespected an integral part of lesbian culture. It’s time for The L Word to give us a real butch, and screeners of the first part of Season 4 indicate that this year, finally, I just might get what I wish for.
What would you like to see happen in 2007? Talk to us in the comments.