Editor’s note: Brian Ratto, 27, is a Manteca native living in Stockton. He’s also a gay man. Ratto came out more than a decade ago. In doing so, he joined an estimated 10 percent of the country’s population as a homosexual. This column is written from his perspective.
As an openly gay man living in a largely homophobic world, one question comes to mind.
What is there to be afraid of?
Throughout the decades there have been multiple claims to perpetuate these fears.
Some say being gay is contagious. Others say the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community wants to recruit children to be gay.
I am not saying that everyone is homophobic. I am saying that there is still a problem with homophobia.
The television, radio, and film industry still struggles with homophobia.
They can help stop homophobia, but will they?
As I attended multiple LGBT events recently, I noticed that there were few references to the LGBT community other than the fact that the events were hosted by an organization with ties to the community.
Just this past weekend I attended a “Super Bowl” party hosted by an LGBT organization.
The “Super Bowl” party was held at Club Paradise, a gay bar located in north Stockton.
The party was to support the Imperial San Joaquin Delta Empire, a local non-profit that is comprised of drag kings, drag queens and allies, promoting a safe environment in which one can express themselves freely. The event was also a way to have a good time in the company of other LGBT and allied community members.
Yet one thing was missing.
There were no LGBT commercials during the “Super Bowl.”
Now I am not saying that there must be, but it would have been nice.
Every day, I am fed images of the perfect couple, the man and woman falling in love, the older man and his wife holding hands on retirement and all the while I ask myself why no LGBT couples?
There are reasons there are not LGBT couples on national television and that is a fear of the difference between a straight couple and an LGBT couple.
The major networks have some sponsors that are not accepting of the LGBT community and will spend big dollars to not have LGBT advertisements aired.
I still ask why not show an LGBT couple?
Why can’t there be a happy gay couple enjoying their retirement. Showing this may not only serve to educate the world about difference and be a way to help stop homophobia but it can stop LGBT suicides.
A study by Dr. Anastasia L. Hansen, a Minneapolis Public School psychologist, has shown that a large number of the LGBT youth that have survived suicide attempts say that they did not feel they were normal. Instead, they felt alienated.
The mainstream media can change this by showing that being LGBT is normal.
There are many shows that have proven this and continue to prove this none more so Fox’s GLEE. The show does not specifically focus on the LGBT community, it shows LGBT students and how their life is no different than anyone else’s.
This is key to ending homophobia and making the world a better place.