Rewarding pretty white mediocrity and the confirmed ‘Bachelor’

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Is it heroic for a cisgender body normative white gay male celebrity to come out for cash? No. Is it ultimately good news for the larger queer community? We can only hope. We all know how it goes. You’re white. You’re pretty. You’ve got perfect shiny white teeth. You got your big break through reality television, acting or sports.

Who cares? Lots of people do, apparently.

When one of these generic celebrities comes out as LGBTQ, it’s cool, bro. It’s not a bad thing. It’s normalization and one more queer person for young people maybe to look to see if they can see themselves, or someone they aspire to be.

I want diversity though. There are too many white pretty gay celebrities. I want as many young people to want to be RuPaul or Guy Branum as Matt Bomer or Andrew Rannells.

 

Enter ‘The Bachelor’

Being gay doesn’t mean you’re not a douchebag or a card-carrying dealer of toxic masculinity. Enter Colton Underwood, the star of season 14 of ABC’s The Bachelorette and season 23 of The Bachelor. (I looked it up!).

This nice, polite, assiduously well-mannered bro from the Midwest played college and pro football before becoming a two-bit reality star for his resplendent smile and espoused virginity.

After two seasons of trashy television, Colton stuck to his virginity story and even wrote a book in which he vehemently denied his rumored queerness.

A couple of years later, armed with media coaching and a press release, Underwood came out as gay. The most noteworthy part of this pre-recorded sit-down interview — with the quietly out veteran morning anchor Robin Roberts, no less — was his coming out in conjunction with a Netflix deal. [Also worth noting: After this post was written, Underwood said he was blackmailed over being outed or would still be closeted.]

In the upcoming streaming series, Underwood will be guided through modern white gay life by fellow pretty boy jock Gus Kenworthy. The former Olympian and gay poster boy seems to be a toxin-free, shiny, white privileged fun-time guy.

 

Eyerolls and judgments

Do we still have the right (or duty) to complain about these bros, their flamboyant privilege, and their lucrative TV deals? Of course we do!

If Netflix wanted a white male presenter, why not book Adam Rippon? He’s available. He also has a fucking personality. But sometimes he’s a little faggy, so Bob and Betty Beercan might not watch more than one episode.

What’s more, it is totally OK to complain when things are just OK. That’s how things get better. But what good does it do, besides make us feel better, like we’ve conjugated the latest entertainment news headline to our wokeness?

What does it get us? I’ll tell you. Not being satisfied with beautiful white dudes winning again, hosting all the late-night chat shows and taking all the gay money from Netflix leads directly to the next queer trans person of color to come out and get a book deal and a Netflix deal and then to rule the world. That’s what.

We must no longer be fooled by faux progressive reality stars and influencers. Kim Kardashian has famously claimed that “getting people to like you is a talent.” We all know that getting people to like you is inherently easier for rich, pretty, and quite often boring, white people.

We cannot be fooled by the boring things that glitter. We have to become the glitter. We have to animate the world with a richer shade of queer.

Scott King lives and writes in Atlanta.

This column also appeared in Q ATLus magazine. Read the full issue online here:

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