Friday, September 4, 2009

You Had Me at "Pedro"

Say what you will about The Real World, I have always appreciated that part of their formula is the inclusion of gay and lesbian "characters." I only saw an ep or two of the first season, but have been a fan/follower since the second. And by the time Pedro's story came around in the third season, I was hooked.

I'm watching this week's epidsode and parts of it warmed my heart. CJ, the stereotypical good looking boy-next-door jock, has become such good friends with Derek, the somewhat fem gay guy, that he not only defends Derek but also invites him to his NFL tryout!

Granted, CJ defends Derek by punching some guy and winds up in a Mexican jail as a result and almost misses his NFL tryout, but that's not the point. :)

Maybe this doesn't seem that earth shattering to anyone else, but it does to me. It wasn't that long ago that I was closeted and living in terror of whether my friends and family would want anything to do with me if they knew I was gay. So just imagine getting to a place in time when the captain of the football team is best friends with the effeminate gay guy. For CJ to invite him into the uber-masculine world of professional football is pretty damn amazing. That he didn't even seem to think twice about it is FANTASTIC. Evolution may be slow, but it's occurring. In little steps each and every day. And maybe, just maybe, someone else out there will view Derek -- and other gay people -- differently because CJ openly likes and cares for him. I know the target audience probably isn't watching The Real World in the first place, but I can hope. And at least it's out there in the universe.

So thank you, Real World, for giving kids a forum for discussing their likes, dislikes, prejudices, and fears for over 20 years. I've watched people affected by the opportunity on the show and I know they've left knowing themselves and their fellow man just a little bit better. Maybe we should all do internships where we're filmed interacting with people and then have to watch ourselves! Hmmm...or maybe we should just go through life as if everything we say and do is being broadcast into millions of homes. I'd like to think we'd all strive to live a little better, but we'd probably just all look at each other and say, "See, we're all freaks!"

Babbling over, my friends. Be the person your dog thinks you are. :)

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