22 January 2006

Can movies help cure homophobia?

A few days ago, Golden Globe Awards were dished out to three separate movies with gay or transgender characters and/or themes. I have seen two of these movies (Brokeback Mountain and Capote), and I am hoping that these excellent films, which powerfully portray the real human issues that the characters face, will help middle Americans to realize just how ridiculous homophobia is.

Here is an excerpt on the subject from Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays):
This week, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association cast their votes for these incredible films, and the results have been the talk of the media this week since three GLB and T themed movies won many top awards at the Golden Globe Awards on Monday.

Brokeback Mountain, the tragic love story of two gay cowboys in the early 1960’s, was the big winner of the evening with four awards including the top prize of best Dramatic Picture. Meanwhile, the award for Best Actress in a Film Drama went to Felicity Huffman for her powerful role as a male-to-female transgender individual in Transamerica and Philip Seymour Hoffman took Best Actor for Capote.


These films are important for several reasons. First, important stories are being told through mainstream films about the lives of GLBT people, and critics are applauding these efforts.

Perhaps more importantly, since the movies are getting so much attention, Americans are talking about these films and the very important issues that they raise. Gay cowboys, transgender people, and gay writers of mainstream best sellers have become the hot topics in office mail rooms, coffee houses, gyms and faith community gatherings – just to name a few places. These conversations are like many that PFLAGers all over the nation have been having for years, but they are finally happening everywhere.

Predictably, the response of radical groups has been to issue press statements to their members about “the decline of society” and expressing great concern about, as Concerned Women for America puts it, "spreading acceptance of homosexuality." Meanwhile, Focus on the Family has said that the film’s story of two men in love "has a high 'ick' factor." One related reviewer even said that if audiences are, “not vomiting their way out of the theater when they see that scene, they are certainly going to be uncomfortable.”

But it doesn’t look like many people are paying attention to this sanctimonious and intolerant rhetoric this time. As more and more theaters add additional screens to accommodate the growing crowds wanting to see these films, one thing is certain—people on all sides of the GLBT issues are paying attention and talking about the films.
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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Movies can be very effective tools to promote change. More info at

    Queen Beatrix's royal nod to Brokeback Mountain?

  3. I completely agree with this.

    The latest movie aimed at highlighting how bad homophobia is in the world, is Bruno - the outrageous film by Sacha Baron Cohen, who brought us Borat in an attempt to point out the racism in America.

    At the end of the movie is a 'world peace' song that kind of takes the p*ss out of these types of songs, but also puts its own Bruno-esque theme on it.
    Bono, Elton John and Sting all feature in the song alongside Bruno, but I felt the most powerful of them all was Snoop Dogg, who rapped throught the song and closed the song and the movie with "He's gay, He's gay....okay."

    Homophobia is at a ridiculous rate within the black (or African American) society, and someone like Snoop Dogg has the influence and power to help stop this...we just need more celebrity support.