The Real L Word of Mississippi: We are more than this
Last night “L Word Mississippi” premiered on Showtime. I was a bit hesitant about watching this because I knew the history of the L Word and Real L Word series and their bad portrayals of lesbians in this country. Unfortunately, my hesitation was qualified, as this show only brought out one portion of what it is like to be gay in Mississippi. And yes, I know as a documentary, this was the focus. However, it would be nice for the producers to realize that this is one shot for a primetime audience to not only show the negatives about being gay, but also an opportunity to show some positives.
I am from Laurel, MS, and I lived there with my partner (we were married in a local Unitarian Universalist Church). I worked in a place where co-workers invited me to their churches to not be gay and not go to Hell. I have family that feels being gay goes against everything they believe in. However, I have family that also loves, supports, and cares deeply about the relationship I have with my wife. We had a strong faith community that supported and lifted up our union as married when the state does not recognize such a union.
Ilene Chaiken once again proved that she knows NOTHING about lesbians in the L Word, the Real L Word, or Mississippi. While there were some great points and loving couples in the Real L Word Mississippi… There are MANY MANY MANY lesbian (and gay) couples living in Mississippi who are thriving and not bound by some strict Christian code.
This show only takes us to the deep dark places…but what about those that have moved past all of that and are living wonderful, healthy lives that are not deeply entrenched in Christianity. I guess their stories aren’t that important. Yet, those people are just as much the “Real L Word” as what was put on screen tonight.
My coming out process left me feeling ashamed, internal and external homophobia, and unworthy. But I can say that once I came out to myself, it was the best thing for me. Not for anyone else, but for ME. It saved my life.
Let’s start demanding that we get true portrayals in TV… healthy thriving relationships that does not make our lives (to quote Judy Shepard) some Greek tragedy.I know it’s not as good for TV but at least it is honest.
My point is that the experiences and lives of gay people in Mississippi are just as unique and diverse as the population of the state. Yes bigotry and hatred do exist, but there is also just as much love and support and understanding. I really feel sad and embarrassed if this display is how we are thought about in Mississippi. We are not only this. We are more than this.