our audience—this goes for any (minority, marginalized) community.
I am not the only one who finds LOGO’s change in programming, from homo-centric to homo-inclusive, troubling, to allude back to our publisher’s post last week on Lisa Sherman’s Huffington Post column explaining why LOGO’s programming is being stripped of its LGBT-content. I find it, then, doubly fascinating that Kathy Wolfe, in a piece that was just posted at the very same Huffington Post yesterday, wrote about how Wolfe Video has successfully lobbied Hulu and Youtube to include “LGBT” film sections to their distribution websites. In doing so, she affirms the need for LGBT specific programming, especially for younger generations who are just coming out or for those individuals who live in places without sizeable queer communities:
At first glance this [the addition of “LGBT” sections] may seem like a small thing. I'm here to tell you that the addition of these four little letters has far-reaching impact. For LGBT youth who are just coming out, this kind of accessibility to diverse and affirming images can have an enormous impact on their self-esteem, serving as a much-needed counterbalance to the bullying and harassment that so many of our young people must navigate. For LGBT people who live outside major urban areas and aren't lucky enough to have access to LGBT film festivals, these films can be a sociocultural lifeline. For anyone who has ever felt isolated or alone in their gay identity, access to films that reflect and celebrate our lives can truly be a lifesaving experience.
But I’m not going to hold my breath when it comes to television. Pink purchasing power, in the hands of gay men (for, how can women, who earn 77 cents to men’s dollar, ever garner more of a slice of the pink dollar?), suggests to me that if any LGBT television programming is created, it won’t be created with L or B women, or T identified women, in mind.
The next “L” thing, whatever it is, will not be on television.
And, if the webseries is the next “big thing” for our community, then we have to acknowledge how the medium (the unregulated and difficult to regulate internet) and the form (democratized, allowing for the proliferation of creative content) translates into a “big thing” that is not one thing. It is many things, many diverse things.
And, this is a good—no, a great—thing.
We also need to pony up. Lesbians, I’m talking to you! We need to support these webseries in similar ways that we supported The L Word, because, first and foremost, these webseries are not funded by corporations. This is my public service announcement: visit your favorite webseries’ site and donate. Or at least distribute an episode (if it's free) of that webseries on your Facebook page or whatever social media site you commonly frequent to play virtual farm games or to “chat” with your friends.
Do you think the webseries is our next thing? If so, what will be the communal effects? What does it mean about the "L" community, as diverse and increasingly expansive as it is and is becoming?