Dana Rudolph

Cool Like Rachel: Glee's Lea Michele Inspires Child of Gay Dads

Filed By Dana Rudolph | May 23, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Glee, lea michele, LGBT families, parenting

Yes, I'm a Gleek, but even if you're not a fan of Glee, you'll appreciate this vignette from the 314px-Rachel_Barbara_Berry.jpgHollywood Reporter's recent piece about the show. Actor Lea Michele, who plays Rachel Berry, a character with gay dads, stopped while filming in New York to speak with a 10-year-old fan who has two dads.

[Michele] is supposed to be on set with her cast, but insists that the little girl with two fathers wait for her outside the auditorium. Once there, Michele wraps her delicate arms around the girl and asks her about the experience. "How do you feel in school? What did you tell them?" she asks, visibly touched by her character's impact. "You're cool now; you're like Rachel Berry," she says to the nodding fan, adding, "I'm so proud of you."

[Quote from page 6; first page of story is here.]

We've never seen Rachel's dads on the show, although many a fan has clamored for them - but we've never seen several of the other students' parents, either. While I'd certainly like to see more LGBT parents in the media, I can't really criticize Glee for shying away from gay storylines - because they haven't. (Last I counted, there were five regular LGB characters - though it would be good if they could add a transgender character at some point.)

If Rachel's gay dads are kept as a simple part of her backstory, they still seem to be having a positive effect.

Of course, that makes me wonder what kind of effect they might have if they did actually appear on the show. Gay dads Cameron and Mitchell of ABC's Modern Family are great - but I think there's a need to show more LGBT parents with older children, too, if only to indicate that our children grow up just as well as anyone else's, even after years of being exposed to the "LGBT lifestyle."

For real-life proof (not that most readers here need it), go watch In My Shoes, the award-winning short film by COLAGE, the national organization for people with LGBTQ parents. It features five youth who have LGBTQ parents, and is available online in its entirety.

Thanks to Dorothy Snarker for pointing out the article. img src

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Regan DuCasse | May 23, 2011 1:13 PM

Unh hunh...

And unlike several of the OTHER members of their glee club, you NEVER see Rachel's dads. You don't see Mercedes's parents either. Only once Mercedes's church was featured as she was trying to comfort Kurt during his father's hospitalization. Even THEN, no parents were there.

As long as there is this kind of minority invisibility with some of the other crucial members of this cast, it really doesn't make much difference.
This is even less than a token gesture at a same sex parenting situation and I'm not impressed in the least. It's kind of sad that a child with two dads would be excited and that Lea Michele at least will acknowledge that child more than the network actually does with it's character. Good for her.
But I remember how excited I got when blacks were finally being shown on commercials, or on television. It didn't take much. And networks get away with the tiniest of token gestures as if they are doing something all that impressive or courageous.

'brothers and sisters' has a pair of gay dads as well, and follows them through the adoption process. their daughter is 10, i think? the show does a fairly decent job with its gay characters.

Ryan Murphy has said Rachel's gay dads will not be seen on Glee/i>, not for any political reason, but because he thinks it's funnier if they're only ever in the background.

@Regan: Murphy isn't doing political commentary; he's making a television comedy. This isn't intended to be a "token gesture at a same sex parenting situation;" it's a COMIC LINE.

I agree with Regan. I think it's silly that the show hasn't featured Rachel's dads, and it's surprising that the little girl even connected Rachel at all with that "background information" about her character.

@DrRandy I understand that Glee is a comedy and is designed for entertainment, but you can't say that Murphy isn't doing political commentary with his show - the Kurt stuff is loaded with commentary, as his "let your freak flag fly" themes and messages.

Yeah, but Randy has a point that NO ONE's parents, short of Kurt's, appear unless the plot actually needs them to be there. If that's the case (and I couldn't care less about Glee) then I think it's fine.

But Rachel is the lead character and they made a point of her having gay dads in the very first moments of meeting her.

The whole time with Kurt's trouble they acted as if he was the only gay person in all of Lima. Rachel did help Kurt at one point but if anyone in glee club could understand at least a bit she could have.

Ryan Murphy hasn't put Rachel's dad in the story becasue she doesn't know how he want to portray them. It has nothing to do with the actor in the original picture of that they are better or finnier not shown.

Also we have seen, Finn, mom, Quinn's mom and Puck's mom.

Not to have you leads parents in this show is unacceptable especially when you are trying to show gay life through these other characters.

Also Kudos to Lea Michele.

twinkie1cat | May 24, 2011 5:24 PM

They have also shown the closeted bully's dad and Sue Sylvester's mother and made her sister a recurring character. Will's parents were a part of at least one episode when he thought his wife was pregnant. (Santana's parents could be brought in if she was brought up on disciplinary charges for mistreating Britney.) I think Britney's mother appeared briefly in the Christmas episode when she wished for Arnie to walk. Finn's mother is a recurring character. I think an appropriate appearance by Rachel's dad's would be great, maybe in the audience when she does something at Nationals (At most high schools there would be parents chaperoning this trip to New York.) or if Quinn threatens her again. Now that would be interesting if Quinn's conservative parents encountered Rachel's dads! So the precedent is set. Bring it on!