Negative stereotypes in the media have a huge impact on the lives of homosexuals in a family environment. Some parents are accepting and understanding. Others however, react with anger or even violence. This can cause people to “stay in the closet” and deny their sexuality. Cooper wrote, “Factors that keep people in the closet include verbal intimidation and fear. All interviewees experienced some homophobia and were subjected to negative images and stereotypes of gay people.” One of the interviewees said, “…there was a time when I was 13/14 when people realized and I started being called gay. I realized I probably was. Of course, I denied it. That was quite a hard time.” (Cooper 425-440) Staying in the closet can push people into feelings extreme loneliness and states of depression.
Stereotypes that aren’t necessarily negative also have a huge impact on family communication and the lives of homosexuals. Trevor Nutley once wrote, “There was a time when I could not speak to a family member without someone telling me. ‘Oh, Jack reminds me of you so much’ or ‘You and Jack are the same person.’” (Nutley 22) He was speaking of the flamboyant, outlandish, hilarious character from the TV show “Will and Grace”. Because of portrayals of homosexuals in the media, it is almost as if all gay men have to be performing all of the time and all lesbians have to be drama sponges. Sitcoms are meant to be for entertainment, but shows like “Will and Grace” and “The L Word” are being treated like educational television to get insight on what the lives of “real homosexuals” are like and it is simply a fallacy.
Cooper, Lindsay. "On the other side: supporting sexual minority students." British Journal of Guidance & Counseling. 36.4 (2008): 425-440. Print.
Nutley, Trevor. "Gay and cliche." Xtra! West 24 APR 2006: 22. Print.
Written by: Mollie Foley