Sunday, March 4, 2012
True Blood: AIDS Burger
When thinking of how to find a good representation of a gay/lesbian citizen in the United States today, I thought it would be good to look at an example which is mirrored in the views of another part of American Society. In True Blood, which is set in La (a Southern State) and the views towards homosexuality may not be as liberal as say CA or NY.
The main character of this particular scene (Season 1, Episode 5 - When Sparks Fly Out), Lafayette, is an openly gay African-American man who has the stereotypical femininity associated with a gay men. However, the build of this character diffuses the femininity. He is visably muscular and well built. In this particular scene, Lafayette transgresses this stereotype of the feminine gay and his approach to the comments from the 'rednecks' (which is how the waitress Arlene described them) in 'manly' and 'butch' manner.
The language used by the principal character in this scene can lend some idea as to the identity of gays in contemporary America. Like African-Americans, this scene uses the reappropriation of words. 'Faggots been breeding your cows, raising your chickens and brewing your beer long before I walked my sexy ass up in this motherfucker, everything on your goddamn table got AIDS.' The ownership of the word loosens the power that it holds in discrimination. The altercation ends in a fight, in which Lafayette ends up beating up the 'rednecks', also transgressing from the stereotype and lending some credence to the idea that gay men can also be masculine.
The 'rednecks' attitude towards Lafayette is shows typical characteristics of homophobia. The fact that they believed that they termed the burger as an 'AIDS' burger mirrors the idea that people believed that AIDS is a disease that can be caught from mere touch. Something which was believed at the time when it was highly publicised in the news. 'I'm an American and I have a say in who makes my food' indicates that these people don't believe that he is an American and that his sexuality sets him apart from everybody else in the bar. A view which would be all too common in the Southern states of America.