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The lesbian revolution is being televised

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
October 16, 2006


Is it just me or is Rosie O'Donnell the Rosa Parks of the gay civil rights. Unwilling to give up her seat on the talkshow of American culture, Ms. O'Donnell, a quick wit and canny entertainer, is loud, proud, and so out she is in.

Rosie O'Donnell will never be considered subtle.

Lesbian mom crusader, ala Disney, Rosie O'Donnel is making history one hour at a time as a co-host of the the morning chatfest known as the View. Doing the homo to the hetero of the other co-hosts, Rosie is proving that alternative lifestyles are not so alternative when when it comes to selling laundry detergent and other consumer productive.

To call Rosie O'Donnell a sell out, is to overlook that fact that an overweight lesbian with left progressive politics, and a well-publicized distain for the National Rifle Association and the Administration of George W. Bush, is able to sell out in the first place. Never in my life did I expect to see openly gay celebrities shelling for sponsors on national television.

Rosie's inclusion was a master stroke of casting, and a much needed refresher course in relevance. As moderater of the daily show, Ms. O'Donnell sets the tone. She is smart, sensible, and serious about pushing product.

Her Elmo fetish is legendary.

Ellen DeGeneres, another uber lesbian, has her own chat fest. Ready for primetime, coming out as a lesbian sank her first sitcom. After a second failed sitcom, the Ellen DeGeneres show has found success on daytime, charming viewers with a comfortable confection of happy talk.

Where Ellen is an example of the asexual assimilation expected from the gay community in the '90's. Don't ask, Dont tell, and for god's sake don't let us see it. Representing progress for woman and lesbians, Rosie has redefined feminism. Viewing the view, which I do often, I am amazed how many times Ms. O'Donnell drops the L word into the conversation, many times directly into camera.

All of this begs the question, if unbashed lesbians are being accepted as open contributors to a diverse society, why are gay men still requried to neuter personality in order to protect their professional viability within mainstream culture?

For young male actors, even rumors of homosexuality will limit opportunities. Actor Chad Allen is a perfect example of a first rate talent being forced into the gay entertainment ghetto by a double standard bordering on outright discrimination. Straight actors get awards for "playing gay" yet openly gay actors are never allowed to play straight. Actors that aren't out, avoid taking gay roles as not to encourage unfavorabale speculation.

It's totally fu#ked up.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Ellen and Rosie are redefining popular culture in such a way as to destigmatize lesbians lifestyles. Unwilling to be anything less than authentic Ms. O'Donnell challenges viewers not to appreciate her calculated candor and wise ass charm.

In Americas face on a daily basis, Rosie and Ellen are changing the way American women see themselves. Television is a powerful medium. By expanding the conversation to include gay women they are expanding the boundries of female empowerment in the face of patriarchial dominance.

As an ecofeminist I'm down with that.

Every time Rosie flips the camera the peace sign, her contribution to gay and lesbian social and civic rights grows in signifigance. Every time she talks about her wife and kids her humanity creates possibilities for others. Every time she blindly hawks the latest consumer gadget and must have whatever, Rosie proves commerce cares little about sexual orientation.

Opening more than closet doors, Rosie is opening minds on the daytime television. It's time for gay men to be afforded the same right. Right?

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