Disingenuous and kind of sad

Another day, another Buzzfeed story about twins who came out to their dad and his ‘heartwarming’ reaction.
The whole conversation with their dad was filmed….why? Surely this should have been a private chat? But no, the whole thing is on camera so Buzzfeed can spam it all over the net with over-dramatic captions – one of which being: “it will melt your heart”. Hmmm…..didn’t melt mine at all. I found it hackneyed and insincere.
Are we really to believe that other conflicted gay boys will somehow identify with those twins? Have you seen Austin and Aaron Rhodes? Are they your typical guy, let alone gay guy? They are models for fuck sake and they certainly look like it. The link to their story, which I’m including now, is like a massive publicity stunt. Oh sure, the boys have been inundated by messages from fans “supporting” them, but I’m wondering if said fans would be as supportive if the subject of the story was a clumsy-looking, kind of awkward and non-photogenic guy. Hmm….

http://www.buzzfeed.com/samstryker/these-twins-came-out-to-their-dad-on-the-phone#.sdbv1bpNZO

The whole thing as presented by Buzzfeed is dramatic and unnecessary. It’s almost (almost) as if homosexuality is being marketed as a trendy life choice.
Well, it’s not a life choice, is it? Some people out there are still struggling and I mean, really struggling with the fact that they are undeniably gay and with what this means in terms of their family, friends and life.

Instead of reading about Austin and Aaron Rhodes and their shameless attention-seeking, I want to hear about the “not so photogenic” boy who sits in his bedroom at night, sad and lonely because he has no idea about how to deal with who he is.
This boy may have few friends because the other dudes at school can pick up the gay vibe a mile off, because he doesn’t like sports, because he may have to listen to his own father at home rant about the “faggots” on TV, his mother keeps asking him when he’s going to get a nice girl “that Cindy down the road is lovely and I believe she likes you”. When mum isn’t going on about Cindy, she tells her friends how much she’s looking forward to the grandchildren her special boy is one day going to give her.

How does this boy feel? Where does he go for help? Do we truly believe the story of the Rhodes twin is going to inspire him and help him? Is he meant to believe that the twins filmed their coming out to their dad really fearing that said dad would maybe reject them or react badly to it? Who are we kidding here? Because, we are not kidding this poor boy who feels he has nobody to turn to – and the story of Aaron and Austin is possibly making him feel even more isolated than he already does.

One of my best friends is gay. While we were at school, it was pretty obvious to most of us that he was, but since he never broached the subject, we didn’t mention it either. He finally confided in me when we were 16. Even at that age I was always the one people came to when they needed advice or a sympathetic ear. So he told me and we talked about it, ad nauseam. He was not scared to tell his parents, he was actually terrified. Like, proper hyperventilating at the thought of having to tell them. Almost two years after he confided in me, he finally plucked up the courage to go to his parents. I think that he had decided to bite the bullet as he was going away to uni and thought it the best time to drop that bombshell. I went back with him to his house and waited outside because, it was after all a private moment, but I had to be on hand for the aftermath. Well, I didn’t have to wait long. He went in with teeth shaking and came back out barely ten minutes later with a face as pale as mine.

“How did it go?”
“Not well. My mother started crying and my dad left the room looking angry, like I disgusted him as well.”

Well ok then. What was there to do but hug him and tell him that it would be ok in the end, that they would come round?
They did eventually, it took a hell of a long time as it happens, years to be exact.
I was there for my friend every step of the way – all I could do was support him morally but that, I did. I’ve been there for him ever since, from the first serious boyfriend to the diagnosis of HIV, from the long periods of treatment and sickness to the disintegration of his ten-year relationship when his partner cheated on him.
It’s been a tough road for him and he’s told me repeatedly that he couldn’t have done it without me. Of course he’s had other supportive friends over the years but I was there at the beginning you see – when he didn’t feel like he could talk to anybody else.

What has this got to do with the Rhodes twins? Everything and nothing. I sent this particular friend their Buzzfeed story today and as predicted, he said he didn’t identify with it at all. He also said that it was insincere and almost ‘insulting’ (I’m quoting him) to the thousands of boys (and girls) who genuinely struggle with their sexuality. As he said: “they’re making it into a circus, it’s pathetic.” Then he added kind of reluctantly that the twins were “hot though”, that’s my boy right there. Ha!

Apart from the “hot” remark, my thoughts exactly. One of my other gay friends actually texted me a link to the Rhodes twins story this morning and said: “Not another one!”
He was also appalled by the desingenuity of it all.

Enough with over-dramatic, staged stories about homosexuality. If you want it to be news worthy and actual help for conflicted gay people out there, make it about them. The real them, not the poster boys! Who is going to find a story heart-warming when they see two boys that surely never had, or never will have, a problem getting a date in their lives? Two boys that sure as hell don’t look like they’ve ever been discriminated against? Two boys that surely knew before they made that phone call to their dad that he was going to respond in a positive way? Two boys who filmed what should have been a private conversation?

Seriously Buzzfeed, quit it now! You’re only managing to piss off gay and straight people alike with your pathetic attempts to tug on the heart strings of people who are not stupid – and you’re not helping anyone but the desperate attention-seekers you’re promoting.

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5 thoughts on “Disingenuous and kind of sad

    1. That’s an interesting concept but I don’t think it does. If anything, it gives them ammunitions, doesn’t it? I mean, if such over-blown and dramatic articles are aggravating gay and straight alike, how can it discourage the haters?!

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  1. I wonder a lot about people that film important life moments too. Completely agree with just about everything you wrote. I used to know a guy (typical “man’s man” idiot) who killed himself a few weeks after his son came out.

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    1. Good grief! Whatever happened to loving your children unconditionally? That’s a whole other post though so I won’t go into it now. As for the rest, you’re right: if it’s an important “life moment”, why on earth are you filming it?! You’re just trivialising it, and it makes you appear shallow and superficial at best.

      Liked by 1 person

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