Boy meets boy… “Did anyone get the message?”
I saw the program “Boy Meets Boy” for the first time last month on DVD. In missing the original airing last year on TV, I also missed hearing about all the controversy. Oddly enough, I found the program very moving and heart warming. After watching it for the first time, I found myself deeply moved by the comments made by the straight participants in the program.
Dan, the blond muscular fellow, said in his exit interview that he didn’t know how hard this program was going to be. He said that it was easy to convince people that he was gay. However as he got to know these people better, it got harder to pretend to be someone he was not to people that were becoming his friends. Franklin, the last remaining straight participant, echoed the same sentiment. Franklin said that it was so hard to pretend to be gay to people that were telling him personal stories about themselves as they were becoming his close friends. As Franklin spoke, his voice started to crack. He said that it was so hard to pretend to be gay for eight days that in the end he started to lose it. He could barely keep it altogether for eight days yet gay men have been doing it all their lives. He didn’t know how much torment gay men went through until now. He didn’t know how hard it was to be gay in a straight world until now. He was never going to be the same again. A straight man said those words to Middle America on national television. Was anyone listening?
In just a couple sentences, a straight man ever so accurately described the struggle and torment every gay man goes through in trying to come out and find acceptance for themselves for who they are. Was anyone listening?
After viewing the TV program a second time, I was again moved but this time by the comments made by the gay participants. I was moved because the gay participants were expressing their shock, anger, and revulsion over learning that they were being deceived. However, shortly afterwards, the gay participants also could see that this was how their straight friends reacted to them when they came out as being gay. Was anyone listening?
While it is understandable that a lot of people were infuriated with all the deception and emotional distress the participants were put through, it is my hope that the message didn’t get lost. Gay and straight men are more a like than we are different. We are all looking for the same thing. We are all looking for love and acceptance.