The Stereotyping of Homosexuals in American Film

When they’re not simply a supporting character for comedic relief, the "gay character" in American films are usually outward stereotypical. It’s been getting better over the years, but mostly only in the independent scene (most recently "Moonlight").

But even beyond that, gay films themselves have been seemingly only interested in their sexualities. The film’s plots – with gay characters – are strictly, and only, about being gay – as if that’s the one and only attribute of such a human being. Films rarely ever explore things beyond their sexual orientation (the only recent one I can think of is Ira Sachs’ "Keep the Lights On", which was a film about drug addiction tearing up a gay couple).

When will American film be able to present a gay character in such a way? So uninteresting or "normal" like heterosexual characters are presented in various genres?

  • There's a really great documentary about precisely this topic, called The Celluloid Closet. It would be necessary for whoever attempts to write this article to watch that, and take it as a jumping-off point. Being made in 1996, I see this article as a good "picking up where they left off," particularly dealing with how the increase of social tolerance toward LGBTQ people at the turn of the 21st century may or may not be reflected in cinematic representation. – ProtoCanon 6 years ago
  • reesepd, maybe explaining how gay cinema outside of the USA better handles the topic might help to clarify the problem of gay stereotypes in American cinema. I hope you don't think I'm criticizing the topic negatively. It will be enlightening for me to read, and I appreciate you writing the topic. – Tigey 6 years ago
  • Reesepd, here's another thought: You mention Ira Sachs’ "Keep the Lights On" as the only recent example of a film not using gay stereotypes. Maybe part of the topic is the question, "Is the use of gay stereotypes actually getting worse in American cinema? Why?" Again, a very interesting topic. – Tigey 6 years ago
  • This would be such an important and engaging topic to explore. Maybe even further exploring the history and progression of LGBT representation, and touch on the fact that we see more instances of m/m gay romance more so than any other part of the LGBT community. Looking forward to reading this! – Abby Wilson 6 years ago

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