Oprah‘s strategy has always been to make complicated things simple through personal stories, and she has done no differently with her homosexual topics. Even though she sometimes asks rhetorical questions like “Why are some gay men flamboyant and others aren’t?” that might seem banal or even a bit offensive, in fact Oprah is doing us all a service by depoliticizing the discussion and making it accessible to even her most narrow-minded viewers.
She has received flack (rightly, in our opinion) for the way she has portrayed black gay men on her show in two episodes, one on the “Down Low” lifestyle and the other on author Terry McMillan‘s (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) gay ex-husband. Both episodes featured black gay men who lived a lie, but rather than focus on the cultural factors that forced them into that unhappy life, the emphasis was placed on the victimization of their wives, thus painting the men as “bad guys.” This disappointingly unnuanced approach caused ire in the black gay blogosphere and elsewhere, but as far as we can tell did not cause anyone to abandon Oprah.
Oprah missteps like all people (remember her “Crash moment” at Hermes?), but she has somehow managed to win the hearts of Middle America without abandoning the gays. AfterElton takes a look at exactly how she has done it with an in-depth article on the various gay episodes throughout the twenty year run of her daytime talk show.
Oprah Gets the Gay Thing, Mostly [AfterElton]