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June 1, 2014 | by  | in Arts Film |
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The Gay Genre

The gay genre, different from the gay agenda, is a meta-genre of film that covers gay topics and follows gay characters. While the categorisation of people by sexuality aggravates me and is more than unnecessary (e.g. the pride in having a ‘gay friend’), there are some benefits in film from the implementation of this sexual labelling.

Gay cinema emerged in the ‘90s, with queer directors making films from a homosexual perspective. It was a turning point, for there to finally be complex gay characters represented in film. However, with a dominating focus on gay themes, these films often remained confined to festival circuits and generated little release beyond that.

As a target audience member, it is a great way see some of ‘my people’ getting up to some of my kind of action on the big screen. It is refreshingly different to the compulsory heterosexuality that is dominant across mainstream film. Even if the story is often a bit shit and the characters are incredibly clichéd, it’s incredibly self-affirming to see diverse and accepted love. A big plus is they are generally spot on with the aesthetics – making for some irresistible eye-candy.

The flip side of this categorisation is the strict boxing of these films, and the potential for those who don’t identify as LGBT to avoid them altogether. If a film is broadcast as a ‘gay film’ rather than a romance, some audiences may actively avoid it or not be targeted because they are not gay. It prevents a more fluid emergence of gay characters if a film is part of the specific gay genre with less space for the ‘wacky Grindr-addicted co-worker’, or the ‘cousin who is getting married to another man’, and other possibilities that reflect the diversity of sexuality. However there are always exceptions, namely Brokeback Mountain (2005) raking in a huge amount of mainstream success.

If there were to be no gay genre, I would want some believable stories that do not de-sex or grossly over-sex gay characters, and mainstream films that have a same-sex relationship as the central focus or supporting characters that are well rounded and impossible to attach a stereotype to.

I want to see some love, sex, friendship and real gay experience in film. I am happy to find it in the gay genre, but how about some titillation in the blockbusters?

Gay films

Steamy romance:
Weekend – Great story and ‘romance’. It would take a while to scrub that out of his chest hair.

A Single Man – A great film that shows the difficulty of loss and love.

Political action:
How to Survive a Plague (2012), directed by David France

Milk (2008), directed by Gus Van Sant

Heartbeats (2010), triple threat (writes, acts AND directs) Xavier Dolan’s second film, beautiful to watch.

Gayby (2012), directed by Jonathan Lisecki – the title says it all.

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