30 years ago we use to play a game called “smear the queer;” a game where whoever had the football got gang tackled. It was a normal. If you had the ball, you were the queer, because no one else had the ball, and having the ball made you odd or “queer” in that respect. Of course, you could throw the ball to another player and the pack would quickly turn to smear that queer, without regard to his or her sexuality, I might add. Queer, gay, homo, fag meant nothing having to do with what you were attracted to and no one committed suicide, got beat up or even called names in that regard. That was my experience.
Then, about ten years later, the media and the ever-tolerant Hollywood (not), began portraying homosexual (men) on television and film as the “Funny” one or the one you felt sorry for – just to get us used to the idea. C’mon – who didn’t laugh at Paul Lynde or Charles Nelson Reilly? And not until Ellen demanded her character come out of the closet (which she was summarily fired for) did gay characters litter the big and small screen alike, whether it was important or not. ( Just to go a little further with this point, Hollywood will put “gay” characters in tv show/movies that are not relevant to the plot. They try to portray this as “Normal” America. I can tell you right now, when I’m tossing the football with my son in front of the house, I have never seen 2 men hand in hand prancing down the street. You?)