Tyra Banks’ epic gay hate gay fail

Adam Griffiths

What’s a gay boy to do when he just can’t stand the fact that no matter how hard he tries to desire and be with women, all he wants at the end of the day is another boy just like him?

He goes on the Tyra Banks show.

Wednesday, Tyra introduced us to four guys who have a problem being gay. Each guy had a different “solution” he’s exploring or plans to explore sometime in his life.

First we met Shane, who has a “brilliant” plan to be straight by the time he’s 30. In the audience, to make things more complicated, were Tia, Shane’s ex-girlfriend who can’t help but fall in love with gay guys, and Skylar, Shane’s ex-boyfriend and currently Tia’s object of desire. Shane was raised in a house where gays were the devil – along with Pokémon.

Next up: Greg, who said he’s afraid of gay men’s self-confidence. Tyra helped him out by hooking him and his aunt up with some nice gay guys for lunch and a tour of New York City.

And then we met Elian and Katy. Elian is gay. Katy is straight. They’ve been married five years, and Katy has a 2-year-old daughter. Elian and Katy go out together and sometime bring men home to share sexually, and sometimes Elian goes out and sleeps with men on his own. But Katy doesn’t. Katy is dissatisfied with her relationship and so is Elian because the arrangement isn’t fair to Katy.

Oh, and then Tyra introduced us to Marc who went to a conference to turn straight.

It took me a few days to force myself to watch the clips of this episode on YouTube because I couldn’t believe how ridiculous all of this was. My best friend watched them too, and the shouting at her laptop pretty much sums up how repulsed we both were at this subject.

Granted, all of these men have valid concerns. Shane wants to be straight to be “normal.” Greg knows no gays and feels alone. Elian and Katy, while mature and very open-minded, are dysfunctional. And Marc – well Marc really doesn’t convince anyone he’s any worse for liking men.

All of these guys are crying out for some actualization after struggling their entire lives to deal with something they’ve been told is wrong, sick and unnatural. I don’t blame them for going on the show, but the context that they hate themselves for being gay men – especially the manner in which Tyra introduces and comments on these men and their lives – is entirely inappropriate and offensive.

An hour is not enough time to devote to understanding the complexities of sexuality in society. It’s not this or that, one experience or another – it’s the end result of all these things. One audience member asked Shane if there was a moment in his life that turned him off to being gay. Of course there wasn’t.

Being gay is not an isolated part of my life just as much as being straight isn’t a confinable aspect of anyone else’s. If you’re gay and dissatisfied with the culture, it’s pointless to try and escape it. If you stay in the closet and try to inundate your life with everything that’s anti-gay, you’re killing yourself slowly.

I’m not saying resign yourself and don’t try to change the world around you. Being the person you want to be is not any easier or harder despite who you are.

Disenfranchisement happens to everyone, and it’s not doing anyone any good to dumb down such complex social issues on the “Tyra Show.” In Ghandi’s words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Adam Griffiths is a junior visual journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].