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Eastenders star: My character’s issues over accepting her gay son are only realistic

  • Ryan McShane

    Eastenders has done excellent on this storyline by getting both sides and making it really realistic !! this storyline gave a lot of Gay and Lesbians strength to come out to their families ! right across the UK ! i think it is relevant to world now !! and has really payed off for eastenders

    • Roiboi

      The negative reaction from his mother would surely dissuade people from Coming Out. Why are people’s aspirations so low that they praise a nasty homophobic storyline like this? What is realistic for the majority of gay people now is that their sexuality is accepted, but of course it would be impossible to show that on the BBC.

      • Rehan

        The reaction of the very blokey father was far from homophobic. As storylines in soaps go, it was a pretty decent attempt to be both dramatic and, in a small way, subvert expectations.

      • speedgeek

        I disagree. If we paint a rosy “everyone loves gays” scenario in the soaps, youngsters will be in for a very nasty shock when they encounter the real world. Soaps are there to portray real life, not some idealised Greek image of perfection. Emmerdale has it about right, I think. The gay characters just get on with life, no-one is over concerned, as in life, most gay people do not have never -ending drama in their lives.

        • Roiboi

          Don’t you think youngsters have already encountered the real world? Do you really think there is any youngster out there who needs soaps to inform him/her that “everyone does not love gays”?

          It’s not realistic for EVERY depiction of Coming Out to be traumatic. I was fortunate in not having a single negative reaction when I came out 30 years ago and my experience has never been reflected on TV. That is discriminatory.

          • speedgeek

            Not discriminatory. Possibly you may feel it is unrealistic, but not portraying all possible outcomes in a work of fiction (which is what we are talking about) is not discrimination.
            Soaps are, after all, not documentaries.

            That said, Aaron’s coming out in Emmerdale was greeted by only one (slightly) negative reaction – the girl he slept with, and that was to “explain” why the character, who had not originally been conceived by the writers as gay, had had a heterosexual relationship previously…

          • EndlessRepetition

            Yeah and some of us got thrown out of the house and weren’t able to speak to our parents again for over 18 years. Personally, I’d rather the TV stories about gay folk set the expectations (and need for preparations) cautiously.

      • EndlessRepetition

        First, remember that Eastenders is a program for entertainment, not education. Second, remember that the stories depicted in Eastenders have to be plausible. So get real. Parents are never thrilled learning that their child is gay. Many don’t take it well. Eastenders is simply reflecting a reality to which its audience can connect.

  • cw

    “Linda wouldn’t say she was homophobic – she just doesn’t want it to be her son.”

    Which is, of course, homophobic.

    • Pet

      You nailed it cw.

    • https://www.facebook.com/monica.cassidy.3 monica

      A lot of parents, especially mothers I feel, have great ambitions of becoming grandparents. If their child comes out as gay, then their personal ambitions become thwarted. They are in effect grieving for unconceived grandchildren. Worse of course if their own child happens to be an only child.
      This is to some extent understandable I feel but ultimately rather selfish.

    • EndlessRepetition

      Not by a long-shot. For parents it’s way more complex than just raw anti-gay hatred. Consider also that many people misunderstand what homophobia is. Plenty of people who discriminate against gay folk do not consider themselves homophobic.

  • Peeeps99

    Don’t watch the programme so can only comment on what I’ve read in the article, and I think it is a common initial reaction among parents, yes. However most eventually some to terms with it and only want their children to be happy (rather like mine!) and I hope in time the story line reflects that. Then it might give some kids struggling to tell their parents the confidence and courage to do so.

  • Stuart

    Bright played a lesbian in Bad Girls about ten years ago. Wonder what the rest of the year will bring for the lovely Johnny – hopefully not queer bashings and cheating boyfriends like most gay male soap characters get.

    • speedgeek

      I miss Danny Miller in Emmerdale. His boyfriend got hit by a train, rendered quadriplegic, and emotionally blackmailed Aaron into mercy killing him!

      • David H

        He’s on his way back. As traumatic as his coming out storyline was, it had to be one of the greatest episodes in the show’s history.

        That said, I’m loving the more subdued angst-free portrayal of Finn Barton (about the only Barton not currently in a relationship with a Dingle – I’m guessing with Danny Miller’s return that little anomoly is about to be squared off).

  • PJ

    The BBC is a bastion of homophobia and incapable of presenting gays as they really are or depicting them in a positive light. It is far too scared about the reaction of the right wing press and the bigots amongst its licence payers. It is a national disgrace.

    • http://twrl.github.com/ Tom Robbins

      I’m not conscious of the beeb being homophobic.

      • PJ

        The latest story involving this gay character is that he cowered upstairs while his female boss was being beaten up by baseball wielding thugs. Because gays are delicate flowers and cowards. The gay pupil in Bad Education is camper than a row of tents and only interested in fashion and dancing, because no gay man ever has any other interests. The BBC won’t show It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, because of its racism, but repeated the homophobic “Are you Being Served” a couple of months ago. Stonewall did a survey and found that in 168 hours of television, gays were barely represented. Of the 38 minutes where gays were referenced, 32 minutes were negative.
        You name me just one example on the BBC of a gay character who is not a stereotype. Of course the BBC is homophobic.

        • http://twrl.github.com/ Tom Robbins

          Torchwood and In the Flesh spring immediately to mind, which given how little television I watch implies much more. I don’t consider that half the things you describe are necessarily homophobic anyway, and of course stereotypes in comedy are somewhat different to stereotypes in drama.

          • PJ

            This is the Torchwood that includes the very non camp John Barrowman is it? Or the In the Flesh where a father forces his homosexual son join the army to make a man of him? You are obviously having a laugh. Its people like you accepting the gay nonsense that the BBC churns out that allows homophobia to flourish. Congratulations.

          • Rehan

            Didn’t (or don’t) Holby City and Waterloo Road have acceptable gay characters?

            And (don’t laugh) the early-afternoon series Doctors not only had (non-stereotypical) gay characters, it even had a gay marriage about 8 years ago.

          • speedgeek

            As I remember, the gay lad in Waterloo Road broke up with his boyfriend, then was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. The young man in Holby died a slow, painful death in a car smash. There was a drama produced and shown in N. Ireland which portrayed a closeted student, straight acting, Rugby Captain, etc., who was “outed” then shunned by his previously “close mates” and ostracised in the changing room.
            The subconscious agenda is clear. “Choose” (in their view) a gay “lifestyle” and you will suffer…….

          • Rehan

            Oh dear – not a good record at all (except, oddly, for Doctors). Odd that ITV does so much better in this respect.

          • http://twrl.github.com/ Tom Robbins

            Yes, I’m sure it’s deeply homophobic of me to not find my gay manhood threatened by some gay men on TV being a bit camp.

          • PJ

            That latest statement completely misses the point. You entered this discussion by claiming you weren’t aware of the BBC being homophobic and then said you don’t watch much TV. Perhaps you shouldn’t bother your head writing on matters you know nothing about and go back to sticking your head in the sand.

          • http://twrl.github.com/ Tom Robbins

            Actually I think it makes the point rather well. I’m not aware of any strong systematic bias in the BBC’s output, although probably there is room for improvement. I don’t watch that much television, so you had a chance to point out something I don’t see. But you’ve given me more reason to think you’re homophobic than to think that the BBC are.

          • PJ

            “But you’ve given me more reason to think you’re homophobic than to think that the BBC are”. That is the one of the most stupid comments I have ever read.

        • David H

          I think that’s perhaps your homophobia rather than the script writers’. The hiding upstairs storyline had nothing to do with his being gay and was a link into another disagreement with his mother, in exactly the same way as his failing his exams.

          I think it’s called diversity among the characters and accepting that everyone has strengths and weaknesses in their characters.

    • Stephen

      Whereas the commercial press – comprising of the Daily Heil; the Murdoch rags etc are even worse.
      The loudest criticism of the BBC comes from its rivals – most of whom are megalomaniacal right-wingers.
      The BBC is not a bastion of homophobia – the Mail and Sun and Sky etc are.
      Critics of the BBC never understand that if we get rid of it then within a year British TV will be as soul-destroyingly brainless as US TV.

      • PJ

        This is the US TV which has lots of gay characters and positive storylines, is it? Only this weekend, Lenny Henry was talking again about how poor the BBC’s representation of black people is. I wasn’t aware he was a megalomaniacal right winger.

        • speedgeek

          Shameless USA showed Ian Gallagher having a wonderful night of passion with his boyfriend. Then the bf’s father bursts in, beats his son mercilessly, threatens Ian with a gun, and forces his son to have sex with a prostitute while Ian watches. Very positive!

          • Pj

            In the BBC’s Inspector George Gently, when a young soldier was revealed to be gay, he immediately picked up a gun and shot himself. There weren’t any nights of passion beforehand.
            The rampant homophobia in parts of the USA often makes me grateful to live in this country. However, anyone looking at the output of the BBC and US TV would think that it was this country that had a bible belt stuffed full of homo haters and it was the US where the population overwhelmingly supported gay marriage.

      • speedgeek

        I utterly agree. Plus we are getting more and more ads, less and less actual programming! I want to improve the BBC, not destroy it!

  • http://twrl.github.com/ Tom Robbins

    It may be more realistic, that doesn’t make it more sympathetic. It’s a soap and in that genre characters are not always as we might wish them to be.

  • speedgeek

    Sounds like Linda Carter is no Wonder Woman!

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