Dana Rudolph

Bruno: the Herald of the Gayby Boom?

Filed By Dana Rudolph | July 16, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: bruno, johann hari, sasha baron cohen

Johann Hari at HuffPo reports that--shock--we're in the middle of a gayby boom, and Bruno is spreading the word. He writes, "This quiet trend has finally poked its way to public attention with the sight of Bruno - the crazed Austrian fashionista played by Sasha Baron Cohen - sitting with a little African baby on his lap, bragging that ever since Madonna went to Malawi, it's the essential fashion accessory, dah-ling."

Umm. No.

There have been plenty of examples of LGBT parents in mainstream television and movies, even if they are still less frequent than we would like. If the public has not noticed, it's because they haven't watched ER, NYPD Blue, or Friends, among other blockbuster shows. They also haven't been listening to news about folks such as Rosie O'Donnell, Mary Cheney, Cat Cora, Clay Aiken, or Thomas Beatie.

The term "gayby boom," moreover, dates back to at least 1990, when Newsweek reported "a new generation of gay parents has produced the first-ever 'gayby boom.'" ("The Future of Gay America," March 12, 1990.)

If that happened too long ago to remember, consider that just last year, both the New York Times and Details magazine told us how gay men are settling down and having families. Details even attributed the creation of the term "gayby boom" to this trend, ignoring the fact that the phrase had been around for nearly two decades even then and we lesbians were as much (if not more) responsible for it as gay men. (See my earlier post on the subject over at Mombian.) Let's not give a movie that's barely a week old credit for raising the public consciousness about our families.

I don't want to be too hard on Hari. The rest of his article is actually very positive and on target, if nothing surprising to most readers of this blog. He notes the more than one hundred scientific studies of the grown-up children of gay [read: gay and lesbian] parents that "overwhelmingly" find our children are as well adjusted (or not) and straight (or not) as any others. That bears repeating. Just not with a fake Austrian accent.

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I doubt that anyone would see Bruno's portrayal with the baby as anything short of child abuse or very poor parenting. It is not the image that we have been fighting for all these years.