Often the butt of jokes
in popular sitcoms
. The token
"gay male" in either of these formats represents a comic relief
usually: someone to step on camera
, usually flaming
and wearing elaborate
clothing, and talking with a lisp
, which can mostly only be seen as humorous by straight
people who are watching it for their own amusement
However, the fact that actors, writers, and directors are starting to no longer fear placing or portraying a gay male in films might possibly be showing that the movie and television industry are becoming a bit more liberal and understanding.
One could also argue that they're not becoming more liberal at all, but have found yet another minority to mock for the public's enjoyment and to boost ratings.
Two examples of this are Ellen Degeneres' sitcom (which was cancelled rapidly by television company ABC shortly after she came out of the closet) and Kevin Kline's film, In & Out. Although these are similar in the fact that both contain and revolve around gay people, they are also very different.
Because Ellen's show didn't exactly make fun of the typical lesbian woman but instead showed an indepth look at the social life of a lesbian, it wasn't put there solely to mock the minority, but possibly to help people better understand. In & Out, on the other hand, is a movie written by straight people for straight people, meant only to mock, holding no other redeeming value whatsoever.
Gay men and women will continue to be the subject of comic relief until the public gets tired of it and the idea just becomes pass'ee.