‘Glee’s’ LGBTQ Thunder Dome
Glee has this habit of pitting LGBTQ characters against each other, as well as their shippers and fans. While the resulting social media commotion may be an effective way of creating some sort of social capital for a show that should have sunk years ago, it’s at the expense of the very same LGBTQ community Glee likes to congratulate itself for celebrating.
In the latest episode, which contains the much appreciated Brittana proposal and the most sensitive treatment of Brittana since season 2, it also features Santana viciously going after Kurt about why Blaine broke up with him. The result is pretty brutal and unnecessary, even for a character whose razor sharp edge is sometimes a complex, nuanced part of her personality. Really, it was uncalled for, even if Kurt interrupted Santana’s moment.
Beyond the fact that Blaine is the toxic character in the Klaine pairing and constantly escapes any sort of real criticism or challenge, it’s disheartening that Glee doesn’t seem to have room for two hugely important LGBTQ characters to exist in the same space and support each other at the same time.
This becomes degrading, particularly when one of the most popular ships is piloted primarily by straight women (Klaine)–people who have no visceral understanding of what it means to be LGBT, because these are not their stories. I have been told by straight fans recently many times that I don’t know how inspirational Klaine is to the LGBTQ community, but when was the last time they asked an LGBTQ person?
Brittana and Klaine both deserve the SAME amount of screen time in duets, intimate conversations and public displays of affection. The fact that these couples are not treated equitable on the show is not the fault of other LGBTQ couples. The reason Klaine doesn’t get a kiss in an episode has nothing to do with Brittana having a conversation in the same episode.
When fans start citing another LGBTQ couple as the reason their LGBTQ couple doesn’t get X,Y, or Z, clearly the show has failed. Glee, true to it’s nature, does this on purpose because Ryan Murphy and company thrive on counterproductive controversy. This results in real life LGBTQ fans getting trampled from all directions, often by straight people who are led to believe lashing out about other LGBTQ characters and at real people is their self-righteous duty. I don’t think so.
The competition between LGBTQ characters and couples on Glee is exhausting, unnecessary and damaging for everyone involved. It fosters an unhealthy fandom, which then trickles out into the real world. Glee still gets touted for how queer it is, but by creating a competition out of it’s most popular LGBTQ characters and ships–pitting them against each other in the show, and therefore inciting the same culture outside the show–does little good. Sit down Glee. The LGBTQ community doesn’t need much more of your thunder dome-style representation.