As the fall TV season begins, Here TV announced that it is America’s only gay TV network, ignoring the once esteemed channel, LOGO. Both channels provide programming that appeals to the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals but only one is actually gay.
Here TV and LOGO, both pride themselves in presenting TV shows that were produced by the community, for the community. Recently, however, the program schedule of LOGO has put that into question. With shows like Absolutely Fabulous, Eden’s World and Misfits, it is difficult to find content that is catered to the LGBT community. Eden’s World, a docu-series that follows Eden Wood, former star of Toddlers and Tiaras, may interest someone who identifies as LGBT. But it lacks what, for instance, The Big Gay Sketch Show (a popular TV show on LOGO) had: a gay theme or gay subject matter.
That is why Here TV is presented as America’s only gay TV network. The new season of Here TV offers shows that have a gay theme or gay subject matter. The 2012 fall programming schedule includes shows like the political For & Against, the comedic She’s Living for This and the new docu-series Pride & Groom, all programming that has the elements necessary to be categorized as “queer.”
For & Against’s host Jim Morrison is a progressive commentator that provides an LGBT lens to today’s political headlines. With the November 2012 elections approaching, For & Against’s second season deals with the most important issues for LGBT voters. The season will wrap up on election night with live-streaming and up to the minute coverage.
Drag Star Sherry Vine returns in November for her second season of the entertaining variety show She’s Living for This. This season includes new original sketches by Sherry and Co., as well as performances by the community’s most celebrated comedy acts, musical performers and other entertainers such as Jackie Beat, the Lady Bunn, Pandora Boxx and Busted.
The new docu-series Pride & Groom will tail four New York couples preparing for their upcoming nuptials. In celebration of New York’s one-year anniversary of marriage equality, the show, broken into four hour-long specials, will follow the couples on their journey to matrimony. From engagement to the walk down the aisle, the show is guaranteed to provide viewers with an intimate look at each couple’s highs and lows.
Here TV is a premium television network that is available on all major US cable systems as a 24-hour subscription based service.
While Here TV’s Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Development, Josh Rosenzweig, expresses that it has “created numerous hours of new, original programming that speaks to the various tastes and sensibilities found within the LGBT market,” it isn’t surprising that the network is geared to the “GBT” part of LGBT, completely ignoring their lesbian viewers. Here TV is correct in stating that they are America’s only gay TV network because there are few, if any shows that consist of exclusively lesbian content. In fact, aside from Showtimes’ The Real L Word, there are no shows currently on-air that are solely based on lesbian subject matter.
Unfortunately, most lesbians are not shocked by this. We seem to be okay with our representation in the media. As someone who had zero exposure to an actual lesbian before coming out, I looked to the cast of The L Word, to try and understand what it meant to be gay and what it meant to live life as someone who is gay. Like The L Word, The Real L Word is a reductive view of lesbian culture. As most reality shows tend to do, The Real L Word hones in on the life of a reformed lesbian playboy; normalizing drunken fights, steamy scenes of adultery and backstabbing. The show is unquestionably amusing, but it is also the only depiction of lesbians on mainstream TV.
As a community, we should be uncomfortable with the fantastical portrayal of our lives. What our community needs is for networks like Here TV and LOGO to provide programming that will interest lesbians and depict them in a positive light.