Every time I read about another hate crime or hear of another LGBT youth suicide, I get angry. As the executive director of Campus Pride, a national nonprofit that supports LGBT youth, I am reminded on a daily basis how cruel the world still is for our young people.
Harvey Milk was right when he said, "You got to give them hope." What makes me angry is that we are failing to do so.
I recall being so excited to hear of the launch of Logo in 2005. Finally, our community would have a voice on television. This channel would be dedicated to who we are -- our life, our entertainment, our community. I had such high hopes and reveled in the fact that we could have TV for us and by us.
Nearly seven years later I look at the programming schedule and am outright disappointed. Tell me if the The A-List, Bad Sex, or 1 Girl 5 Gays really make you want to be proud of being gay, lesbian, or bi. I have watched these shows, and I would hope that we are more than the not-so-real stereotypes portrayed for ratings' sake. Is it fair to trans people that RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's Drag U are the main programming that people see when it comes to gender-nonconforming people? Now, trust me, I have nothing against drag queens, but surely we can have some transgender representation in the main programming lineup.
I recall how worked up our community became over the recently debuted (and quickly cancelled) ABC sitcom Work It, in which two straight men pretend to be women to get jobs. The show was horrendous in its racism, sexism, and anti-trans stereotypes and bias. Trans activists and national organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation spoke out against the show and even met with ABC executives for just reason. The show was canceled after two episodes.
Logo has the slogan "Fierce TV." Seriously. The website used to read, "We're kind of big on fierce stuff, and that can mean a lot of things. ... We love to hit The OMFG Factor with programming that makes our jaws drop at least once every few minutes...." So is that the measure of quality we have for the channel that was for our LGBT community? Why are we not up in arms about Logo after nearly seven years of reflecting who we are in such a narrow, often stereotypical fashion?
Sure. There are exceptions on Logo, such as some of the documentary series they feature. But, again, I mention The A-List. I can't imagine this show being good for anyone watching it. What about LGBT television that represents the diversity of our community, our lives, and our struggles for equality still today? Logo should be leading the way for other networks to think and program in a progressive way when it comes to LGBT people. It's no wonder ABC executives thought Work It would be OK. Just watch Logo and see how low we have set the bar.
I say this about Logo because I am angry. The channel is a missed opportunity to "give hope" every second it airs. Our LGBT kids are struggling to live openly who they are. Television is a big part of how we view ourselves and how others who are not LGBT view us. Together we all have a role to play.
I call on Logo to get their act together. I live in the South, where I had to fight to have Logo on my cable. I did not fight to have access to Logo so that I could watch gay, privileged, white men complain about hookups and fashion. We deserve better.