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A New Generation of Dude and Homophobic Language

by Anita Sarkeesian

Glee is a musical comedy-drama that debuted on Fox in 2009 to critical acclaim.  It follows a group of teens who join a glee club while they navigate the trials of high school life.  The show attempts to address issues commonly ignored in television, including how a person's race, disability status and sexual orientation can affect young peoples lives.  One of the areas in which the show excels is the relationship between a gay son (Kurt) and his father.

Kurt's dad is shown as a traditional midwestern, small town, sports fan, so when Kurt comes out to his mechanic father, the audience expects him to be angry and insensitive.  Much to the audience's surprise, his father said that he already knew about his son's sexuality and although he needed time to get used to it, he still loved him no matter what.  It was an epic television moment exploring a complex yet healthy family relationship.  The series continues to show the growth of Kurt's relationship with his father, as in this clip.

Kurt's dad comes storming into his room when his soon-to-be step-brother (Finn) critiques his room decor.  Finn calls the lamp and the throw "faggy" and when Kurt's dad hears him, he calls Finn out on his homophobic language.  What is especially important about this clip is how Kurt's father reveals how hurtful using derogatory language is even if it not directed at a specific person.  To use the term "fag" even for inanimate objects is an expression of gay being inferior and weak.  It is an emotional moment when he tells Finn that he thought "he was different" and that he was a "new generation of dude who saw things differently, who just kinda came into the world knowing what its taken me years of struggling to figure out."  Although our current generation is more understanding of difference, with a larger movement supporting and struggling for queer rights, there is still a long battle to create a society in which children do just "come into the world knowing" that difference is not bad.  We are fighting against the legacy of continued bigotry that has been passed down from prior generations, to create a new system that supports and privileges all people.

A New Generation of Dude and Homophobic Language

Glee takes a look at how one father defends his gay son from homophobic language.

from Glee (2009)
Creator: Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy
Distributor: 20th Century Fox Television
Posted by Anita Sarkeesian