In the past, representations of alternative lifestyles on film were, even in their most explicit forms, faint and ambiguous, and the television industry was even more conservative. But in more recent years, thanks in part to the success of such films as Philadelphia, The Birdcage, To Wong Fu and In & Out, and television programs such as Will & Grace, a collective effort is underway to construct a positive new public image for gays and lesbians. This work studies recent cinematic and television depictions of gays and lesbians. It examines the gay male conversion fantasy in Get Real, Beautiful Thing, I Think I Do, and Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss, the metaphor of the aging artist as a teacher to young gay men in Love and Death on Long Island and Gods and Monsters, gay violence in Shakespeare and The Talented Mr. Ripley, unacknowledged homophobia and theories of traditional masculinity in Gladiator, the ethical complexities of the human genome project and genetic screening for the gene associated with homosexuality in Twilight of the Golds, profanity and protest masculinity in The Usual Suspects, the controversy arising when the cast of Will & Grace urged Californians to vote against the Knight Initiative refusing recognition to same-sex marriages, male egotism in Flawless, gay parenting and other family issues in The Birdcage, The Object of My Affection, and The Next Best Thing, and rehabilitating homophobia in American Beauty, Urbania, Oz, Kiss Me Guido, Chuck & Buck, and Billy Elliot.
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