With the introduction of such channels as LOGO and the Here on Demand channel Gays and Lesbians now have the opportunity to see programming made just for them but what happened to Lesbian programming? When you turn on the LOGO channel chances are you are going to see an old movie from the 90’s based on Gay men living with AIDS discovering AIDS or dying from AIDS and if you’re lucky you’ll see a movie about boys coming out. It’s very rare in any area of mainstream media that you will see good lesbian programming whether it be a movie or television program. Sure Showtime has their LWord but really what else is there? The Gay and Lesbian culture is diverse yet we segregate ourselves from diversity. 9 times out of 10 LOGO will be more likely to start up an original program centered around Gay men like Noah’s Ark or Here on Demand’s Dante’s Cove. Why does this happen?
Most people will tell you that Gay men have all the power they are the Executives or know the Executives while women still struggle to get the important positions. Gay men are marketable because not only will Gay men watch but so will straight women and straight men who need tips on how to dress. Even Bravo joined the ranks with their Queer Eye for the Straight Girl that had a majority male cast. Queer Eye for the Straight guy had Gay men dressing straight men, makes sense right? Well then why have Gay men dressing straight women in Queer Eye for the Straight Girl? The jury is still out on that one, maybe that’s why the show tanked. It’s frustrating enough being a woman in a man’s world but then you’re a Lesbian in a Gay man’s world too. So often we are subjected to surfing through channels hoping that a movie will be on the we as Lesbians can relate to and more often than not we end up watching The Birdcage for the 100th time. Great B rated movies like Better Than Chocolate and breakthrough Indie movies like But I’m a Cheerleader are sadly left off the rotation on LOGO replaced by episodes of Coming Out played over and over again. LOGO is now no longer considered a Freshman network and has yet to update it’s programming or allow for new creative ideas for shows. They do not accept unsolicited material so if you do not have an agent they won’t review it. So many scriptwriters our there with new fresh ideas are being turned away because they don’t have the money to hire an agent. LOGO also edits their programming limiting what the viewer sees and therefore destroying the writers original concept and vision. Like so many Gay and Lesbian shows we are deemed too deviant for normal programming. Scenes that can be seen in shows like the OC or One Tree Hill with teenagers engaging in sexual acts would be deemed to adult themed on the Gay and Lesbian network for viewers.
Here On Demand has it’s share of faults. As an On Demand channel that costs $4.95 monthly with IO Digital Cable it has 98% Gay male movies available with very little to no original programming. Each month I scroll through the list of movies only to find that 1-2 movies are actually about Lesbians or Lesbian themed. While they do carry some interesting documentaries on the Gay and Lesbian history they very rarely will allow true Lesbian movies on their list. We can ask over and over again as to why this is but we never get a straight answer. I’ve received the generic answer from LOGO that they must just copy and paste into their emails to everyone. I’ve heard excuse after excuse but I’m never satisfied.
Hollywood’s version of mainstream Gay and Lesbian filming is always flamboyant gay men prancing around as drag queens or dying of AIDS. Not only is this an inacurate view of Gay men’s life but it also plays on mainstream stereotypes. Not all gay men are dragqueens and not all gay men are living or dying of AIDS, I understand the need for AIDS awareness but Gay men have contributed much more to society than just the awareness of a new disease. When Lesbians are portrayed they are either flannel wearing butch women or straight looking straight actors. The most recent Lesbian movie made was little known and most independent called Imagine Me and You with Piper Perabo a mostly mainstream actress. I must say I enjoyed the movie and thought it was a nice portrayal of lesbians and didn’t think it wasn’t at all a stereotypical. Are we as Lesbians guilty of not stepping up to the task of creating more original programming for Lesbians? One can argue that if there are no good scripts that no good movies can be made but what of the original short lesbians films that have become underground hits on LOGO and YouTube? Why not turn those into feature films like Gillery’s Little Secret and Prom-troversy as seen on LOGO. All are great concepts just in need of some tender loving care. Throughout the years we’ve struggled to find our niche and to find our place in the sun now that there are channels out there to cater to us they are even pigeon holding us to societies stereotypes.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to fight it is to create your own. Lesbians need to come up with viable television shows and movies that will make it possible to bring us to the forefront. Movies should relate to the masses not just to one particular group and a classic love story is a classic love story even if it involves the same sex loving each other. A good date movie can make a grown women cry and whether it’s the blunt truth of Boys Don’t Cry or the stomach pinching humor of The Birdcage there is hope in all genres. Visit www.logoonline.com to see their short films they are worth watching.