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“Torchwood” star John Barrowman wishes gay men and lesbians on TV weren’t so often stereotyped

John Barrowman
is as well known for his roles on stage in such musicals as Sunset Boulevard and Anything Goes as he is for his work on television’s Torchwood.

So who better than this multi-talented openly gay star to weigh in on the rise in gay and lesbian characters on such shows as Glee and Smash.

‘I love them,’ Barrowman says in the current issue of Desert Outlook Magazine. ‘I think that any show that brings diversity onto the screen, particularly in the way these shows are shown, I’m 100 percent behind.’

While he also notes that ‘America has the most gay men represented on television than any country in the world,’ Barrowman does have a few quibbles with the characterizations.

‘The only thing I wish they would do more often is not stereotype those gay men and women,’ he says. ‘It’s always the same type they choose. Rather than seeing camp, flouncy, girly men and butch heavy women, it would be nice to see other types. There are ‘lipstick lesbians,’ pretty girls. There are butch guys, guys who are into sports.’

FILE UNDER: Out Stars, Television


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

9 Remarks

  1. Agreed.

  2. This makes me think of my late partner. How many times was he warned as we went in that a place was a gay establishment.

  3. I also agree. A good example of this is “Modern Family” and the way the gay couple is portrayed. I am also not looking forward to “The New Normal” – yet another blatant stereotype.

  4. September 9th, 2012 at 9:42 am
    Rick S in PS says:

    Paul…. Not totally true! The couple on “The New Normal” includes one stereotypical guy (who is gay in real life) and the other (played by Justin Bartha) is totally into sports and typical male interests like I am. Ryan Murphy is showing diversity in general throughout the fine cast.

  5. September 9th, 2012 at 1:39 pm
    Gaspar Marino says:

    I think it’s getting much better…gone are the days of the Paul Lynde’s and the Charles Nelson Riley’s that I grew up with, but as far as women are concerned, still a long way to go.

  6. I agree about the stereotypes too. More often than not, we see the fella who’s just a wee bit light in the loafers. I’d like to see more gays who display our similarities rather than our differences. A spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down.

  7. Along with The New Normal let’s not for get Glee’s Blake (who has been labeled as an Alpha gay) and SyFy’s Agent Steve Jinks of Warehouse 13. But yes, more diverse TV gay characters are sorely needed.

  8. Love John and appreciate his talents and his advocation for gay people, he is a true champion. Now with that said I think he is a bit off-the-mark with his comments about not seeing the diversity in gay characters on TV. John must have missed ‘The Wire’ on HBO with Omar (Michael K. Williams) and I don’t want to even start talking about HBO’s ‘OZ’ because there were a few gay characters on their that made this show a gay classic. I’m aware that most of the macho gay types normally on TV or in movies are bad guys or are in some sort of transition. That seems so unfortunate that in the arts, an out gay character can’t be a Average Joe with a 9 to 5 job.
    John isn’t alone with his thinking because there are so many that have this notion that seeing macho-type gay men or lipstick lesbians that are normal down-to-earth folks on TV or in the movies is going to change people’s attitudes about homosexuality in general.
    It gives this message that being gay is normal and people like myself, who are proud and out gay people already know that being gay is no different from being straight. Where a bit of the difficult lies is trying to prove it, that has been a lifelong struggle for atleast myself. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way because I have learn to be a warrior of the mind, heart and soul. I have this fight in me like many of the heroic men and women from the legendary and iconic Stonewall 69. Thanks to their courage, most of us can be comfortable in a gay bar or niteclubs, without any fear of being harrassed or put in jail. Mind you, I’m not going to get into any kind of brawl of any kind because unlike that point in time, I can actually be gay without being afraid. I might not have too many options but I’m not going to settle for second-class. I surround myself with people who accept me for who I am and if there comes a time when those people seem to have a problem, I move on. It’s only fair to me and only fair to them.
    Now I get the opportunity to stand up and not sit back and allow people to come for me about being gay. I used to sit back and hear all the comments and endure all the jokes and punts made towards me. Those comments and remarks were normally made by people with their own little, dirty secrets and most people have them. It’s easier to throw me under-the-bus about my lifestyle and expect me just to sit back and take it. Believe me there is no violence on my end but I rather stay clear from those people and let them know just why I’m ignoring them.
    I’m sorry but I don’t know if seeing gay men on TV and movies that throw back beers by the case, scratch their balls constantly and frequently and watch and play sports is going to make the gay plight any better. Think about this, Ellen who is one of the biggest entertainers and most beloved stars on the planet, as well as being a Covergirl, is now going to be parading around on TV in a floor-length gown. It seems that middle-America doesn’t get her cool and chic lesbian vibe and now she is going to try to be extra-fem to apease the masses that might not understand or get the simple truth that in her personal life, she is in love with another woman, who is her wife.
    I actually appreciate lesbians that are comfortable being themselves because you can have the Jerry Springer-type lipstick lesbians and they are fun and hot but give me a cute gal in a flannel shirt, who knows about gardening and cooking but rides a Harley and wears a man’s fragrance from time-to-time.
    Just like my extremely queenie guys like myself, (Yes, I’m very queenie and love it)in our own way, we seem to open many doors and make it possible for other men, who might not be as feminine but they come out and there is this soft pillow to land on because we have already paved this way. I might be a stereotype in the eyes of many but no one will put me in a box. I love watching and playing sports (love to hoop, love to throw the pigskin around )but I also love musicals and love The Great White Way. I love beer especially when it’s free(Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat best beer on the planet) but I love a good Cosmo or a Raspberry Long Island Ice Tea as well.

  9. Love Barrowman and spot on comments. If only we could also get women in more variety over the age of forty. Bit tired of teenage vampires with push-ups and chicken filets.

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