By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com March 31 2014 11:26 AM ET
Nothing is more jarring than going to a movie in 2014 and suddenly you realize you’re in the middle of watching a tasteless gay joke. Personally, I love a good tasteless gay joke, but it has to be executed sharply and appropriately. When the joke is a “laugh at” instead of a “laugh with,” I find it insulting and embarrassing — especially if I’m sitting in a kids’ movie with my son. This has happened a few times recently, and it doesn’t get any less shocking.
The first time I noticed it was when we watched the atrocious Escape From Planet Earth. I don’t exactly recall what the joke was, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. The audience laughed. Then a few more came, so it was apparently a theme. Had I known these jokes were in the movie, I wouldn’t have brought my son to see it. Now before you say I’ve got my panties in a wad and shouldn’t be so sensitive, let me be the first to say, bring on the gay jokes — just not into a kids’ movie.
With that thought in mind, you never see jokes about race or religion in a kid’s film (anymore), so why the hell do we see gay jokes? I think if a children’s movie had to disclose its rating with a statement saying, “This film contains gay jokes,” it actually wouldn’t do as well. So what the hell is the point of putting a gay joke in a kids’ film in the first place? Someone’s personal vendetta? I’m so confused.
The main reason I am so opposed to this is that my son is 4½ years old. He is at a highly impressionable age and is currently in the process of taking pride in his family, which happens to consist of two dads. When he sees his family or his dads being mocked on the big screen, it could possibly mess with his head a little bit, which is completely unnecessary. It’s hard enough as it is to find positive examples of gay families to show him, I’m not about to expose him to the negative examples, which seem to be bountiful.
I truly believe that gay jokes will become extinct, and one of the best places to start eliminating them is G- or PG-rated kids’ films. If they need a comedic writer to give them way better alternatives, there are plenty of ways they can reach me.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.