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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Disappointed in Dr. Phil. I often try to watch the afternoon, psychologically-oriented television show Dr. Phil, but usually turn off after a few minutes because I'm not interested in the topic. Today, I watched long enuf (my computer was rebooting, so I had some time to 'fill') to see that one of his guests was a woman who took a very long time to accept her lesbian feelings. Also on that show was some woman from a foundation promoting or defending "bisexuality", whereupon I turned the sound down to wait for her to go away. I then watched the end of the show, turning the sound down again when that "bisexual" bullshit artist was shown again, and after it concluded, composed the following message, which I sent via feedback form at DrPhil.com.
There is no such thing as "bisexuality". Sexual orientation is about seeking out a partner with whom one can form a permanent, exclusive, sexual and affectional bond. A given person can have such a relationship with one person of either sex, but not with a person of BOTH sexes, because no one person is of both sexes, which means a "bisexual" would have to have TWO relationships, so could not be fully committed to nor satisfied by one. That is confusion, not orientation.
It is also, for the most part, COWARDICE, the kind of cowardice your female-broadcaster guest was guilty of, for decades. Even after she stopped "self-medicating" with alcohol, it took her years to deal with her lesbian feelings. (And please, stick to "lesbian", not the preposterous "gay woman". There is no such thing as a "gay woman" any more than there is a "lesbian man". Lesbians have their own word. They should let ours alone.)
FYI, I am the man who in 1970 put forward the term "Gay Pride" as it is now used (then, as the unifying title for a week of events leading up to the first annual march commemorating the Stonewall Riots): http://mrgaypride.org/AnniversaryIssue.html#origin. I have had decades of experience with maladjusted gay men who lose decades of their lives to shame, guilt, and cowardice, and frankly, I'm tired of it. You see the same crap year after year after decade, you get really disgusted. Gender confusion, self-hatred, inability to commit, inability to show interest in a man, emotional stuntedness — I'm TIRED OF IT.
I'm also tired of "gay" being now almost uniformly represented in media as LESBIAN. There were NO GAY MEN on your show of December 24th. Why is that? The bulk of people attracted sexually to their own sex are men, but they are still treated by television like lepers, and the public face of "homosexuality" today is female. Perhaps straight society has an easier time dealing with the presumed dominantly emotional rather than sexual relationships of lesbians than with the intensely sexual relationships of gay men, but evading the issue of gay men's sexuality ends up falsifying the issues.
Your program deals with lots of sex-related behaviors of heterosexuals, but does not ask viewers to confront the fact of male-male sex. So gay men are oppressed by invisibility, on your show in particular as in society in general, and gay boys are as isolated and alone as ever, feeling as freakish as they have ever felt, because they have aggressive sexual feelings and fantasies that, from everything they see around them, almost nobody on EARTH has.
Perhaps Dr. Phil is himself uncomfortable about dealing with the topic of sexual and emotional attraction between boys when they are teens or men when they are grown. Perhaps he breathes a sigh of relief that both his sons turned out straight, and doesn't want to deal with the normality of sexual attraction between males, so is content to let gay boys ache in loneliness and feelings that there's something wrong with them, so wrong that nobody is willing even to talk about it out loud. Dr. Phil did mention suicide among gay kids, but shows no gay man nor teen boy on his show. Actions speak louder than words, and Dr. Phil's actions say several things to gay teen boys: you really are freakishly rare; there is no place for you on this show, nor in society at large; you don't count for anything, and never will. If these are not messages that Dr. Phil intends to send out via his program, he had better address the issue of sexual feelings for the same sex in boys and men.
I know Dr. Phil's audience is predominantly female, and that commercial television is driven by advertising directed to women, who still, in this supposedly egalitarian and feminist age, do most of the shopping, for every type of consumer product. So if Dr. Phil sees his show as lite entertainment for women, that's fine. But if he sees his purpose in having a television show as being to HELP people with some of the complexities of the mind and human relationships, he has to step outside his comfort zone and that of his female audience now and then, to deal with topics that need to be addressed. In refusing to talk about sexual/affectional feelings between boys, or between men, Dr. Phil makes what should be understood to be ordinary and commonplace into instead something bizarre and unspeakable. I'd like to think Dr. Phil better than that, but, as I say, actions speak louder than words. Cheers, L. Craig Schoonmaker, Founder, Homosexuals Intransigent!, and webmaster, Mr. Gay Pride website (http://MrGayPride.tripod.com)

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