I have noted before how my three children are very gay accepting - and have been from when I first came out to then over a decade ago at this point. But they are not unique in terms of their generation - a fact I remind men who contact me for advice during their coming out process. So what explains this quantum leap from previous generations? One reason is that more and more gays are coming out at earlier ages so that this generation knows actual gays who not surprisingly do not fit the ugly stereotype that the Christofascists like to disseminate. But the mainstream media's depictions of gay characters has played a huge role as well. A piece in Huffington Post looks at the phenomenon. Here are excerpts:
You know you know gay people. You realize by now that they're all around. You've been on baseball teams and in locker rooms and rushed frats together. Whatever your religious take on them, we, as the impossible to define bunch known as Gen-Y, have become increasingly cool with our gay brothers and friends. We've ditched "no homo" for "yeah, bro" when hanging with our openly gay friends, and we're civilized enough to know that the "F" word makes us look even more absurd than when your crazy uncle throws the "N" word around after three drinks at Thanksgiving.
How did we get here? The answer is one that is only going to make our high school English teachers continue to curse our love of shiny things over books: TV and movies.
We started to see that all the crap we were fed from people older and more uptight than us was crap. Gay people aren't all pedophiles and monsters. They're real -- and often pretty damned hilarious and awesome. They're our friends, our neighbors, our teachers, our relatives. They stopped being a "them" -- and started being part of "us."
At the risk of typing the gayest sentence of my career: thank goodness for Glee. Say what you want about showtunes on prime time, but that show gives it to you how it is -- and doesn't once apologize for it. Not the singing and dancing part, but the teenage angst part that goes with trying to figure out who the hell you are. Glee, which is on Fox -- among the most uptight, ass backward networks on air -- puts a boy in a dress right next to the straight couple fighting a pregnancy scare. It may seem a bit ridiculous when they sing -- but the situations are real, and are happening in schools all over the country right now. Probably even in yours.
Our parents grew up in a time when gay actors in movies were giggled at for playing 'those guys.' But now Zach Quinto is kicking ass in outer space in Star Trek and Wentworth Miller was such the ultimate bad ass in Prison Break -- and no one cares who they're sleeping with. It's certainly not hurting their popularity. It's all because we care about content and character -- the way we should -- in both the shows we catch and the people we care about bringing into our lives.
Which takes us back to your ten best bros. Like I said, one of them is statistically gay. The thing that makes you, and the rest of Gen-Y, so damned great is that we don't care. We know there's a lot more to him to care about. So, yeah, he's gay -- he's also funny as hell, a killer Candy Crush player, your girlfriend's best friend (which probably can't hurt your sex life to know what she really wants) and he's just plain cool to be around.
If anything, they're just a little bit more awesome because you have a friend who has chosen to be completely real with you and doesn't need to keep any of the fronts up that we felt we had to for so long.
So, as one of your gay brothers who loves college football and playing Wii as much as he loves a good showtune, thanks for being awesome, my fellow Gen-Y'ers. Thanks for making "No homo" no more.
This trend, of course is terrifying to the Christofascist hate merchants. Their anti-gay lies and screeds are falling on deaf ears. Worse yet, many in Gneration Y have taken not only the step of being gay friendly, but they've taken the additional step of walking away from institutional religion.