Quick background for the global audience: EastEnders is a long-running, famous British soap-opera produced for and by the BBC. Currently, they are running a lesbian storyline involving Sonia, a young woman who has been in the soap for many years and is currently married to Martin.
Now, hopefully you have already spotted my problem with this. If not, please read on, as I'm about to criticise the scriptwriters at the BBC. Hopefully without sounding too much like a gay rights activist.
Yet again on British TV we have a gay or lesbian storyline where 1) a well-established straight character is turned gay pretty much over-night and 2) the character in question is currently in a straight relationship which they then proceed to destroy. If I wasn't going to complain for any other reason, then let me object at least on the grounds that this is now highly unoriginal; we've seen this numerous times over the last few years in every soap on every channel. Please don't subject us to this again.
But alas, I am a gay boy, and I do somewhat care about our portrayal in the media. And this is an appalling portrayal. It's negative. And it's clichéd. In British soaps, if they dare have a positive portrayal of a gay character, they have to be overtly camp to compensate. This is not acceptable.
Lesbian comes along, turns faithful wife gay, ruins marriage, hurting everyone around them. This approach is far more expensive than the reasonable price we should pay for drama; we have to show bad events and human suffering - that's what drama is about - but repeatedly showing LGBT issues in this way does not help our efforts in creating a truly tolerant society.
If you want an LGBT storyline in your TV show, and you have an unfortunate lack of gay or lesbian characters, then you bring in two -- or more, I mean, why not? And you do this strategically over time. Don't keep turning straight ones gay.
The BBC scriptwriters clearly need to apply a little more thought, get ahead of the game, and stop creating clichéd, irritating, insulting, illogical and even irrational subplots in the name of entertainment. I'm sure they could learn a few things from Channel 4. Please be inventive with your drama, and make real progress.
You know, all I really want, is for 'gay' to be no big deal. And I'll give a small credit to EastEnders on this note - it would appear that they are, almost, trying to normalise homosexuality by taking certain decisions - for example, making Dot, the devout Christian old lady, accept Sonia's decision rather than disowning her.
Anyway, I do feel like a bit of a twat applying this much thought (I promise, this is only the tip of the iceberg) to a soap. So I'll stop here. I hope I've got my point across.
Graham's blog: politics, poetry, and introspection