Ethan Hawke Thinks Gay-Themed Entertainment Will Cause Decrease In Teen Suicide

Ethan_Hawke_-_2009_Venice_Film_FestivalIt’s been fascinating to me. One of the biggest differences I think between my generation and my kids is that they have almost zero homophobia. They’ve grown up thinking that it’s not a big deal to have gay characters on TV or in movies like Boys Don’t Cry or Kiss of the Spider Woman… There are all these things that started this (gay acceptance) ball rolling, and now people are really comfortable talking about it. I think you’ll see a lot less teen suicide in the coming years. I really do believe that.”

Actor Ethan Hawke speaking with Toronto’s The Star newspaper about the seminal queer film Rebel Without a Cause and how homophobia decreases when more LGBT characters are portrayed in movies and television

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  • NoelG

    *hug* Let us hope.

  • midwesternguy

    I think there there is probably some truth to what Hawk is sharing here. I think we have seen fairly positive effects from what is already out there.

  • Pistolo

    The thing is, his kids are living in Manhattan between himself and Uma Thurman and likely go to school with children of gay parents as well as have a level of exposure to gay people many other children in the country just don’t get. I’m in my early 20’s and though we had Will & Grace and Ellen and gay characters on TV, people were still insanely homophobic. It’s better but you still have to put up with A LOT of crap as a gay person, still.

  • hrnpip

    Yes, there’s still a lot of crap to deal with as a gay kid, and there’s still a lot of crap to deal with just being a kid, but every step forward is getting bigger and the steps backward are getting smaller. We’re going in the right direction and need to do everything to continue moving forward.

  • jmmartin

    That’s the whole secret, Mr. Hawke. Lonely, bullied gay teens will have role models, good or bad, instead of feeling isolated by icons and archetypes with which they feel no affinity. Their alienation will be ameliorated by security and knowledge that “It Gets Better.” Let’s not forget the importance of Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams. His influence now is incalculable. He will save more young lives than all the prayers of Pope Francis.

  • morgan riggs

    @jmmartin: I believe you are right. There isnt any sport more macho, more uber manliness than football. To have an out black man be drafted into the NFL, showing kissing his boyfriend on ESPN, how much more affirming can it get? Think of all the lonely adrift gay teen boys on that wondrous day of knowing that the NFL accepts them!

  • Throbert McGee

    Let’s not forget the importance of Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams. His influence now is incalculable.

    Um, shouldn’t we wait until maybe he’s played at least one season for the Rams? (Or one actual NFL game, even.)

    At this point, he should be regarded as a somewhat successful college player whose performance during the NFL draft process was nothing spectacular. Absolutely no one would know his name at this point if not for the sheer novelty value of his coming out.

    He might yet flop early, and end up as an obscure NFL-trivia footnote rather than a real breaker of glass ceilings.

    Then again, he could end up as a new Jackie Robinson (who not only broke the color barrier, but broke it well, with an excellent career batting average, an MVP award, and other accomplishments).

    No sense in canonizing Mr. Sam this soon, however.

  • Ben Dover

    The strange thing is, Dan Savage believes exactly the opposite.

    Ethan Hawke, much as I love him, is living in a fucking dreamworld.

    We keep hearing that “young people today have no homophobia,” blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda, and yet every week or so we read about a gay teen suicide or a Tyler Clementi even in college.

    The sheer visibility of “gay” stuff now in the media causes every bully to tag every slightly odd kid as “gay” (even if they’re not actually gay).

    Back in the ’80s, ’70s & earlier, when there was hardly any gay visibility in the media, bullying wasn’t as explicitly anti-gay. (I was there, I was bullied & just barely survived even then.)

    We can’t expect gay adults to closet ourselves just so gay teenagers don’t get bullied so much. That’s of course not an option.

    But this is what “It Gets Better” is all about. You just need to survive into adulthood and escape whatever shithole you are living in, and escape into gay adult life (and realize that kind of sucks too and that’s okay, nothing is perfect, and grow the fuck up)… but it definitely IS better than fucking 8th & 9th & 10th grade!

  • Thrawn

    O Captain my Captain!

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