Lesbian Pop Culture and Dads
I try to stay on top of any shows on TV that have a lesbian character, because I never got to see anything like that growing up, and I’m noticing a trend.
First, I am going to run down a couple of lesbian storylines in case you haven’t seen them.
I’ve talked about UK Skins before, and I will again now, because I think it’s important. Emily Fitch is a lesbian on this show in seasons 3 and 4. She is a twin, and she is very sure that she is in love with Naomi from day one. There was no confusion for her character, which I think is awesome. When she comes out to her parents, she does so in a spectacular fashion. After making love to Naomi and being rejected by her when she says she wants to be open about their relationship, Emily stumbles home, crying, looking a mess. She comes in to her family having dinner. Her mother Jenna, her father Rob, her sister Katie, and her brother James are all there. The conversation goes like this:
James: Ugh. You smell.
Emily: Shut up.
Jenna: What have you been doing?
Jenna: You look like you’ve been fighting.
Emily: Well, I haven’t. Look, leave me alone.
Katie: Look mom, I don’t think she wants to talk about it.
Jenna: Well I do. You look like you’ve been roughed up. Is it a boy that’s done this to you?
Emily: It wasn’t a boy.
Katie: See? Now can you just
Emily: (interrupting) It was a girl.
Rob: You’ve been fighting with a girl? That’s not very ladylike.
Emily: No, dad. I’ve been making love to a girl. Okay? Everybody satisfied?
Katie: She’s such a liar.
Emily: Her name’s Naomi. She’s rather beautiful. So I was nailing her.
Her father blows it off as a joke, probably because of the “nailing her” line, but her mom has a glimmer of knowing it was the truth. And her sister clearly knows already, but doesn’t want Emily to say it out loud, because then it will really be true.
Her mom does the normal mom thing in this situation and is in denial about Emily’s sexuality. She tries everything to stop it, even going so far as confronting Naomi and telling her to stop putting ideas into her head. We leave them at the end of season 3 not knowing how her dad feels about it. Then something wonderful happens in season 4. When Emily finds out Naomi cheated (another whole story), she confides in her dad, and he is comforting, and even encourages her to forgive. Meanwhile, her mother is still treating her and Naomi like shit.
Pretty Little Liars is a show on ABC Family. One of the characters, Emily Fields (haha! Watch out Emily’s of the world with last names that begin with F! You may just be a lesbian!) Through series 1 of this show, Emily is hinted at as being gay, and then she falls for a girl named Maya, and she stumbles out of the closet. Her mother treats her like crap, tells her it’s a phase, and goes so far as to get Maya shipped off to what one can only assume is some sort of conversion therapy camp. In series 2, her mother is still a thorn in her side. But her father? The man who is in the military and rigid? He accepts his daughter. He tells her mother he doesn’t necessarily like it, but he opens his arms to Emily and tells her he still loves her.
I Can’t Think Straight is a little indie movie that came out a few years ago. Tala is a lesbian, but has been denying it for years. She is engaged to marry her fourth fiancee. Layla is also a lesbian, but hasn’t really admitted it to herself either and is dating a man. As the story goes on, Layla and Tala have a love affair, but break it off because Tala says they can’t live like that, and that she can’t hurt her fiancee. While away from Tala, Layla finally comes out to her parents, and her mother promptly tells her she is going to hell. Her father tells the mother that’s enough, and tells Layla it’s okay. Later, Tala comes out to her parents and again, her mother rejects her, but her father accepts her.
The story of Tea, the lesbian character on US Skins, is looking to be going in the same direction, although she hasn’t come out to her parents yet.
Can you see the pattern here? In all of these scenarios, the mother rejects and the father accepts the daughter’s sexuality. I have to say, it was the same in my life. When I came out at the age of 20, my mother cried. My father walked in, asked what was going on, we told him, and he said, “so what?”
It makes me wonder if this is true for the majority of lesbians?
I think it would also be interesting to know what happens with gay men. In Glee, Kurt is gay, and his dad accepts him, but his mother died and he’s all Kurt’s got.
If you came out and you are in touch with both of your parents, which was the first to accept you, your father (or stepfather) or your mother?