Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

What If I Am Gay? a look back to 1987

American TV Networks have always been notoriously puritanical and homophobic by nature.  We remember the story of Red Hot + Bue the very first album Red Hot Benefit Series which sold over a million copies worldwide, raised nearly $1m for the activist group ACT UP, and was heralded as one of the first major AIDS benefits in the music business. The accompanying television special screened on ABC in the US features music videos for the songs.  The clips portrayed the societal effects of AIDS., but nevertheless, the TV  Station cut out any references to condoms.

It’s incidents like these that may appear insignificant to the outside world but are of paramount importance to our queer community.  When an episode of Will and Grace featured the two actors trying to be the first two men kissing on network TV we all laughed out loud, but this situation comedy was making a serious point which didn’t go unnoticed.

A lot of the hesitance to portray any part of homosexuality on the small screen is under the guise of not corrupting children.  Then as in now, our community has always been used as an easy target for hatemongers and politicians alike who want to score cheap headlines and distract us from the fact of real issues and problems of everyday life they were elected to actually solve. 

In 1987 CBS TV launched  Schoolbreak Specials  an American anthology series for teenagers that dealt with issues that were part of the experience of becoming adults.  It was very successful and over 18 seasons they produced a total of 89 episodes.   One of the very first episodes was entitled What If I Am Gay the story of a popular and macho captain of his high school soccer team who is forced to confront his homosexuality after his buddies discover a male pornography magazine in his bedroom.

With a  script from award-winning writer Paul W Cooper (Once Upon A Time When We  Were Colored) and directed by Academy Award Winner Jeffrey D. Brown, these two straight men, did a valiant job to try to make the drama play out as authentic as possible.  Judging by the storyline and the somewhat awkward acting we were not convinced that anyone involved had ever met a real-life gay man.

Even so, watching this period piece you are struck by the realization that there are parts of this that still fit the journeys of some people trying to come out today. The film makes for an interesting walk back in time as it does represent history for many ex-football captains who eventually found the wherewithal to join the team that they really belonged.

This is the link  for the whole program



Review : Roger Walker-Dack

Editor in Chief : Queerguru 
Member of G.A.L.E.C.A. (Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) and NLGJA The Association of LGBT 
Journalists. and The Online Film Critics Society. Ex Contributing Editor The Gay Uk &Contributor Edge Media 
Former CEO and Menswear Designer of  Roger Dack Ltd in the UK    
one of the hardest-working journalists in the business' Michael Goff of Towleroad

Posted by queerguru  at  16:28


Genres:  coming of age, coming out

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