ABC Has More Gay and Trans Characters Than Any Broadcast Network. But Can It Still Be Homophobic?


“I don’t think ABC is homophobic. But it’s a very delicate issue because someone who is very talented was let go. I find it hard to believe [that it’s homophobia], though, because my character is still maintaining her sexual exploration and is, in fact, right now starting to pursue something with another woman named Arizona Robbins [Jessica Capshaw]. The network has made a lot of statements in regard to why she was let go. … I guess everybody has to decide what they believe.” — Grey’s Anatomy actress Sara Ramírez, who plays Callie, on the firing of actress Brooke Smith

Daily News: Your character, Callie, has dated both men and women on the show. Who is your favorite love interest so far?

Sara Ramírez: “Oh my God! Honestly, I am going to say George [Knight]. I think I say that because that’s how they brought me into the show, and as an actor, I have a very sensitive and emotional attachment to how I first came on. It was also romantic how George and Callie’s relationship first started. It was quirky, but difficult, and there were issues.”

DN: How did you react when you found out your character was going to become a lesbian?

SR: “I was excited that they decided to go down that road because I’m a big supporter of the GLBT \[gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender\] community. So it fits me just fine. I love challenging the status quo. I grew up in New York for God’s sake — the most diverse city in the world, and Callie, she’s a part of that!”

DN: Have you received any hate mail for playing a lesbian?

SR: “Yes. I received a letter of disappointment from a Callie fan who said she will no longer be watching the show because Callie went down that road, and that made me sad. But in my family, my aunts are Catholic, and they watch it and are so supportive! I’m not one to tell people what to think, but I would like to encourage people to open their hearts because it’s 2009, and we’ve elected an African-American President. Come on guys, let’s get over it.”


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  • James

    ABC wasn’t being homophobic with firing Brooke Smith, they just wanted to replace her with a more attractive, blonder, younger lesbian that didn’t come off as a complete bitch on the show. That doesn’t make me support their decision by the way, but Smith wasn’t given much to work with on the show until she began dating Callie and she had that great speech where she realized she liked dating women for the first time and Callie ran away like the dumb characters on the show often do. It sucks because I actually liked the “bitchiness” of her character that she brought to the show as she often came across as the sole sane character amongst the soap opera-esque losers that populate it now. (Yes, I finally gave up on the show a little after Smith was let go and “Arizona Robbins” came aboard – what kind of name is that anyway?)

  • David

    I don’t think ABC was being homophobic when they fired Brook Smith. I did like her character, she was so bitchy and just great. I did not like the relationship between her and Callie though. For me it just didn’t seem like there was any chemistry between the actors so it didn’t seem convincing. I do see the chemistry between Callie and Arizona though. I loved the scene where Arizona kissed Callie and took her by surprise.

    Even though I like the Arizona/Callie match up I don’t like that Brooke Smith had to leave the show completely, but I don’t think ABC’s decision to fire her was because of homophobia.

  • scandi

    Every woman on that show is bitchy: Bailey, Yang, Gray…almost every woman on that show comes off as shallow and, well, bitchy. Not that the men fare much better.

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