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Bizarre GLAAD nominations aren't very gay

January 25, 2008 |  4:22 pm

Unlike last year, when five hit movies, including Oscar contender "Little Miss Sunshine," competed for recognition from gay and lesbian media watchdog GLAAD, only three wide releases are in the running this year at their 19th annual awardsfest. And none of these nominees — "Across the Universe," "The Jane Austen Book Club," or "Stardust" — is a major awards contender otherwise.

One great film with a gay subtext got overlooked by other awards this derby season and deserved to be noted here, but wasn't: "The Kite Runner," which contains a controversial boy-rape scene. Why did GLAAD wimp out?

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While major movies might not be featuring many gay storylines, television series, both comedy and drama, have proved more inclusive. For the second year running, ABC leads the way with nine nominations, including repeat nods for sophomore series "Brothers & Sisters" and "Ugly Betty" which both won last year, and a nom for newcomer "Dirty Sexy Money."

For the full list of nominees in the forty categories - CLICK HERE. With so many kudos to hand out, GLAAD holds ceremonies in New York, South Florida, LA, and San Francisco in March, April, and May.

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Comments

What an idiotic comment! And your response indicates you still don't get it. A male raping a boy isn't "gay"; it's violence. If it featured the rape of a girl, would you similarly suggest that the Traditional Values Coalition honor the film for exploring heterosexuality?

You all deserve a slap right back for not seeing the obvious. Here's what I just sent to the editors of AfterElton.com when asked for further elaboration on this blog post:

I'm not saying that the gay rape scene in "Kite Runner" is a positive reflection of gay culture. I'm saying that 'Kite Runner' is the best-made, quality movie of 2007 that has gay content and it deserves recognition by GLAAD because of its core message. This is the story of a man, Amir, who seeks redemption because he spurned his childhood friend, Hassan, because Hassan was the victim of a gay rape. That's what the plot of "Kite Runner" turns on -- one boy being so disgusted by his friend being raped that he turns Hassan into a victim again, setting him up for a bogus crime, then spurns him, leading to even further tragedy while the political world around them collapses. Late in life, Amir not only realizes how terrible his acts were, he struggles desperately to atone, even risking his life. The whole message of this movie is a man trying to make up for the terrible things he did in response to a gay rape.

Yeah, I think a message like that is pretty powerful, very positive and, since it appears in one of the best films of the year -- far better than any movie GLAAD has on its nomination list -- should've been acknowledged by an organization whose reason for existence is to promote messages like we see in "Kite Runner." Instead, GLAAD preferred something like a safe, puffy turn in "Across the Universe." Yeah, I have a problem with that.

Amir reacts the way he does because the rape is a gay act -- not because it's a power trip -- and he's so disgusted and ashamed of his friend that he makes the wrong decisions that result in tragedy, then he does his best to be redeemed.

Sometimes stories don't have to be all about gay characters, but rather how people respond to gay sex -- their repulsion so extreme that they do horrific things. If Amir's kite-flying pal had been a girl, who was then raped, he would not have responded the way he did and this story would've had a very different end.

The story plays out the way it does because of gay defammation. That's why GLAAD exists -- to battle that. Doesn't this movie -- better than any other released in 2007 -- deliver that message? Doesn't GLAAD have an obligation to that acknowledge that in its awards? Frankly, I think GLAAD's gone so mainstream lately and is so kissy-kissy to the str8 world that it doesn't have the guts to upset them with this film that bravely depicts how other str8 people ruin lives when they respond inappropriately to gay rape.

No, it's clear that GLAAD merely wishes to dole out awards to safe, giggle-inducing clones of 'Will & Grace.'


Tom consider your hand slapped for such an insane suggestion/quesion. Are you an idiot or just a douche?

You're an idiot. What does an Islamic rape scene have to do with being gay? And moreover, what does it have to do with positive depictions of the gay community? Are you mentally retarded?

Rape is not about sexuality, it is about power and the character in the film was wielding his power over the young man he raped. Why would anyone, let along GLAAD nominate this for anything? Would NOW nominated Jodie Foster's rape scene in the Accused? To be in line with Mr. O'Neil's thoughts, that is about sexuality. An apology is in order.

No, rape of an underage boy is not "part of the spectrum of homosexual behavior." Homosexuality is sexual attraction to adults of the same gender. If anything, the rape in the Kite Runner is pedophilia, which is NOT part of the spectrum of homosexuality. Would you consider heterosexuality to include adult males raping little girls? I think not.

You cannot say "no matter the victim's age." Rape of pre-pubescent children is something entirely different than adult human sexuality.

I haven't read the book OR seen the movie, but I know gay subtext when I hear one and that sure as hell is one. Homosexual rape ( no matter the victim's ages) isn't equal to homosexuality (and Tom O'Neill doesn't make that claim at all), but it's part of the spectrum of homosexual behavior. It's "gay" too, unless you define gay as homosexuality minus any bad stuff.

Mr O'Neill's mistake would be his apparent belief that the GLAAD awards are related to a movies overall worth, and that a great movie (in his opinion) with any gay content whatsoever should be worthy of GLAAD's consideration. Now that is a pretty stupid mistake, booster organizations don't typically engage in purely objective art appreciation, but it's stupid season in LA every year around this time, so he's pretty safely in bounds even there.

Tom O'Neil probably did not give much thought to his comments about the Kite Runner. But those comments were clearly homophobic (same-sex rape does not equal "gay subtext") and he should recant them.

Yeah, Tom. I wonder why the NAACP didn't give an award to "Birth of a Nation" or "Song of the South." For someone who covers Hollywood and the Oscars, you should have at least a clue of what "gay" means. Raping a boy is not gay. At all.

Hit them where it counts if you're as outraged as I am about this offensive stereotype: click on the advertiser links and let them know you don't support such content and neither should they or they risk losing sales.

O'Neil's comments about Kite Runner are outrageous. "Boy rape" in no way equals "gay subtext" and never did. There's no reason GLAAD should have considered it for an award. To perpetuate this kind of misinformation does no service to anyone, least of all O'Neil's credibility.

I'm with Jim Burroway on this -- raping a child isn't gay content, it was extremely offensive for Tom O'Niel to suggest that it is, and he owes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people an apology for suggesting that raping a child should be considered gay content.

This post is absolutely OUTRAGEOUS.

How dare Tom O'Niel suggest that a rape scene of a young child constitutes gay content! This is appalling.

Child rape is no more an act of homosexuality than it is heterosexuality. It is an act of violence, not sex.

O'Neil owes the everyone a public apology to all gay Americans for suggesting that rape constitutes an expression of gayness. He should be deeply, deeply ashamed.

Aren't these awards about promoting positive representations of glbt people and relationships? Why on earth would you consider The Kite Runner to do this? The rape scene is much more about a boy from one religious background exercising his power over a boy from another religious background. I don't think GLAAD have wimped out at all.

Don't forget-Jane Austen Book Club was one of the only wide-release films this year to have an out gay or lesbian character.

This was a crap year for mainstream LGBT cinema. I think GLAAD did a decent job of picking nominees with what little they had to work with. What else would they have nommed? I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry?

Jane Austen Book Club wasn't great but it did feature Maggie Grace playing a major lesbian role. Same for Across the Universe with T.V. Carpio as Prudence.

Oh, and boy rape does not equal gay.

Maybe it's just me, but Across the Universe, The Jane Austen Book Club, and Stardust all have glbt characters. I think the bigger issue the article should have focused on (rather than glbt-tangential movies that got passed up like Sweeney Todd and The Kite Runner) is the travesty that, two years after Brokeback, we're back to status quo in the glbt film department. Everyone thought Brokeback was going to mainstream gay issues, like LOTR did for serious fantasy (which we've seen countless clones of since), but instead we've got nothing. Perhaps if weak-minded Oscar voters hadn't gone with the flimsy Crash, things might be different.

P.S. I thought you said you were done tooting Sweeney Todd's horn, so to speak.


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