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Adam Ashraf
Professor Makarosyan
English 114B

Western Medias Movement towards Same-Sex Couples


When the word marriage comes to mind many people come to think of a unity between a
man and a woman. A traditional family is often viewed as a heterosexual couple and
approximately two kids. The image of a traditional family is produced by the media, which can
be a powerful tool to shape the minds of viewers, this tool can be used for good and bad. When it
comes to gay families and marriage, media often represents these positively now than ten years
ago. Not too long ago gay families were looked at negatively, how could a gay family be
functional? The truth matter of fact is that they can run just as equally as a heterosexual family.
Often western media will show false statistics or claims, however western media portrays gay
and lesbian families positively now, this allows the community show that they are just as
functional as a traditional family.
One of the most popular shows on television that represent a gay family is Modern
Family with actors Jesse Ferguson who is played by Mitchell Pritchet and Eric Stonestreet who
is played by Cameron Tucker. The two actors in the show raise a Vietnamese baby who was
adopted as a baby. In the show the actors teach Lilly who is their child to be respectful and to
learn from what is right and wrong. The correlation that is represented between the gay family
and the traditional family in the show is identical. Both families care for each other and argue,
but at the end of every show, they will have a valuable lesson. The parenting styles of the two
families show teamwork above all else. Gay and lesbian families are represented as positive with
a healthy relationship between the child and its parents.

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While media represents gay families more often in the present day, about twenty years
ago it was still represented as a positive view. In the show Friends which aired in 1994 had an
episode with Ross, played by David Schwimmer, and had a son with his wife at the time. The
wife Carol and her partner Susan both raised the son. That episode initially received backlash for
his portrayal of a lesbian couple with a child, but has become one of the most popular episodes
of the series for its recognition of the LGBTQ community. Other shows like Will and Grace
and Queer as Folk have gay parents that are represented just as functional as traditional
families. In the show Will and Grace which aired in 1998 portrayed a gay couple with actor
Eric McCormack who played as Will Truman and his spouse Vincent had a son named Ben.
Will and Grace had a positive portrayal of the LGBTQ community, it went through the
struggles of a gay man who was in the closet and gave viewers an insight on how difficult I
can be to be accepted. Just like Will and Grace, Queer as Folk also showed viewers a
positive portrayal of gays and lesbians. Queer as Folk revolves around their relationships,
careers, loves, and ambitions. It shows the audience how even though they are different to
some, they go through many of the same problems as heterosexual people. It is clear to see that
the media is representing gay and lesbian couples in a positive manner allowing for more
exposure.
With the advances in technology today, it is easier than ever before to communicate with
someone. Western media is a powerful tool for information and can often shape the mind of
viewers. In the article Straightening out (The Politics Of) Same-Sex Parenting: Representing
Gay Families in US Print News Stories and Photographs by Jamie Landau, Landau argues that
media shapes the views of people and that these news outlets often show false representation.
Landau insists that The news media have long been one of the publics few sources of

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information about homosexuals, given the closeted existence that most have been forced to live
to escape the social stigma. For much of American society, what people see and hear in the news
is what they accept as reality it is vital to interrogate [gay and lesbian families into]
mainstream US print news stories and photographs (Landau 6). That is often one of the main
problems with media today, it can often misdirect people. This can complicate the way people
progress if what they hear is false, the people denying the fact that gay and lesbian families do
not share the same dynamics as traditional families leave people acting ignorant. If one person
hears something about how gays and lesbians turn their children gay, what they hear will cause
them to believe it being true when in reality it is not. That person who believes in that false claim
only believes what they want to hear so they feel justified in their actions or views towards
people.
The LGBTQ community has become recognizable in their efforts to become accepted by
laws and society. In an article written by Eve Ng called A Post-Gay Era? Media
Gaystreaming, Homonormativity, and the Politics of LGBT Integration, Ng states that queer
culture is becoming widely accepted and is often now highlighted in media. Logos which is a
sister network to MTV displays LGBT television shows. Logos hopes to rebrand the way people
think of gays, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. They find that their channel
programmings offer ways for people to get along. In other words, Ng believes that, gay and
straight people share more integrated lives. And so youre starting to see more of that both on
Logo and in traditional media (Ng 271). Not only does this allow people to view gay families
in a positive manner it will also allow viewers to view the programs as potential integrations of
the population allowing a society to be represented the real way. Once society integrates the

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LGBTQ community in their media, people will become more accepting of the lifestyle because it
is viewed on a daily basis and people will become more educated from it.
One of the biggest arguments against same-sex parents is that they cannot run a
functional family. How could two males or two females be able to give the attention a child
deserves? One article written by Stacey Judith called (How) Does the Sexual Orientation of
Parents Matter? Judith writes how the sexual orientation of parents do not matter when it comes
to raising a child. The study proves how media often presents homosexual parents as
dysfunctional for the children, Judiths argument is that 53 percent of the daughters of lesbians
aspired to careers such as doctor, lawyer, engineer, and astronaut, compared with only 21 percent
of the daughters of heterosexual mothers (Judith 173). This shows that quite often media can
show false representation of nontraditional families. Most people who oppose gay parents often
ignore that the family dynamics of any family greatly affect the outcome of the child. A child
with two same-sex parents is often more stable than a child with a single-household divorced
parent.
For some who have a reserved view on same-sex marriages can come from a political
standpoint, which represents media as well. Politics can be a defining feature in what values you
hold in a western society. In the reading Why Gay Marriage Is Good for Straight America by
Andrew Sullivan, Sullivan writes about how same-sex marriage is an ongoing debate that looks
on the rise to becoming legal in all of the states. While media has been on positively representing
the gay and lesbian community it often comes with backlash from those who hold political
power. The conservatives complicate matters further when they decided this was a battle they
were determined to fight againstwere determined to keep [gays and lesbians] in isolation,
stigmatized and kept on an embarrassing, unmentionable margin, where gays could be used to

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buttress the primacy of heterosexuality. (Sullivan 416)They turn against Americans to hold a
sacred word marriage, which is only used for a man and woman. These conservatives can
argue that marriage should be denied to same-sex couples, however, that George W. Bushs
solicitor general, Ted Olson, would lead the legal fight against Proposition 8 in California would
be the foremost Supreme Court justice affirming gay and lesbian equality.. (Sullivan 417)This
showcases that even conservatives can change once they can accept the fact that their actions
were wrong.
Television Networks for the past few years have moved in the right direction for the
LGBTQ community and same-sex families. ABC Family and Fox are the most broadcasted
representing the LGBT community. What may come as a shock is that NBC that aired Friends
and Will and Grace is not one of the most LGBTQ broadcasted. On cable, ABC Family
clocked 50 percent of its primetime hours with LGBT characters, followed by FX with 40
percent (Linton). Fox, which is a conservative channel is the second most aired broadcasting
LGBTQ actors is a huge move forward. One of the main contributors to that is Glee which is
one of the most gay-friendly shows aired on television. Glee has many protagonist who are
homosexual in the show and in real life, the shows develops its writing by talking about the
social issues going on with a gay or lesbians life. Whether its how to come out to parents or
romantic problems. One great example of a network that helps pave a way for other television
networks was MTV. Skins, True Life, and The Real World all helped share a message to
viewers of gay or lesbian people who were represented just as straight people. Viewers got to see
how the parents of their gay or lesbian child were accepted and had the same family dynamics as
a traditional family. The CEO of ABC Family stated that, We wanted to represent family in a
contemporary and authentic way, but we also didnt want to run away from the word familyI

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think [sexuality] will always be a part of our programming-I dont see us going away from it
(Linton). Television Network can use their programming to help inform people that nontraditional families can be authentic. Western media has developed into a way for individuals
to gain an understanding of non-traditional families.
However small the population of gays and lesbians in western society may be, that
shouldnt be the argument on why they are denied the rights as a heterosexual human being.
Everyone has a right to live their life without judgement from others. If we let a government or
people choose who has rights and who doesnt, there is no free will. Society and humans are
evolving and expanding their body and mind. People will slowly become accepting of certain
issues because they will understand their struggles as their own. Their mindset would be viewed
as what if they were in their shoes.
Western society in on the right path forward to accepting same-sex families. At first,
western media provided false claims and statistics for same-sex families. Now they are
representing the LGBTQ community positively now. Television Networks, News, and Political
Leaders have all moved forward in a movement to make same-sex couples and marriages as
equal to a traditional family. Western media has the power to shape the way society views a
certain subject, it is important to project certain subjects in a positive manner. In the end, all
same-sex couples want is equality, nobody should be denied the right to live happily. Society will
change the way traditional family is represented, not just as a heterosexual couple but as two
human beings with children.

Work Cited
Black, Dan A, Seth G Sanders, and Lowell J Taylor. "The Economics of Lesbian and Gay Families." The

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Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21.2 (2007): 53-70.
Landau, Jamie. "Straightening out (The Politics Of) Same-Sex Parenting: Representing Gay Families in
US Print News Stories and Photographs." Critical Studies in Media Communication, 26.1 (2009): 80100.
Linton, C.: Surprise! ABC Family and Fox are the Gayest Networks on TV,
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/11/07/surprise-abc-family-and-fox-are-the-gayestnetworks-on-tv.html.
Ng, Eve. "A PostGay Era? Media Gaystreaming, Homonormativity, and the Politics of LGBT
Intergration. Communication, Culture & Critique. 6.2 (2013): 258-283
Stacey, Judith, and Timothy J Biblarz. "(How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?." American
Sociological Review, 66.2 (2001): 159-183.
Sullivan, Andrew. Why Gay Marriage Is Good for Straight America. The Contemporary Reader. 13th ed.
Boston: Pearson, 2013. Print/