Main | Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gay, Straight, Or Stupid?

Lifetime has announced a new dating show called Gay, Straight, Or Taken? , in which women will go on a series of solo and group outings with three men and try to determine which one is gay, which one is straight and single, and which one is straight and in a relationship. If she picks "right" one, namely the single straight guy, she wins an exotic trip with him. If she picks one of the others, the chosen "wrong" guy wins a trip with his significant other.

Talk about endorsing heteronormative repression.

If I understand the Lifetime concept properly, the task for the gay guy is to completely sublimate any hints of his gayness. He must pass, to win. What an uncharacterically vivid evocation of real life, especially for Lifetime. The producers are likely grooming the gay candidates with tons of pointers: "Don't dress too well. Talk about sports. And for God's sake, don't fawn over her haircut. In fact, don't express a whit of your natural personality or real self. Don't act, look, think, talk or walk GAY. Because that will make you a loser."

It guiltily reminds me of my stint on 20/20, although at least none of the producers at ABC asked us gay guys to pretend we were anything we weren't. There's plenty of gay guys out there who don't bear the slightest outward sign of their queerness, but I don't think game shows should be giving out prizes for it.

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