In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Sunday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicles, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
On the surface of it all, the thought of Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer in the Showtime limited series Fellow Travelers sounds appealing. Bailey has won the hearts of fans all over with his role as Anthony Bridgerton, and Bomer has had a long career in the industry. The fact that they are gay men, playing gay characters is also chefs kiss, considering that we’ve lived in a Hollywood that rarely lets the LGBTQ community well…represent or play themselves.
But even then, we’re hesitant about Fellow Travelers. And we need to talk about why.
Basically, you know this limited series is going to end badly. Fellow Travelers will be set in the 1950s McCarthy-era in Washington, D.C. Billed as a “part epic love story, part political thriller” it tells the story of a “volatile romance” between two men over the span of four decades. And again, while we’re “yay” for the representation, there’s no way that this story is going to have a happy ending. That’s especially true considering that it’s set in the 50s where you could get charged with “lewd behavior” if you were simply gay, and there were even hearings over whether gay people were a security risk to the federal government.
This means that Bailey and Bomer will absolutely be hiding who they truly are for safety reasons. And it’s not far-fetched to pressume that they will have spouses and try to live a “normal” life because they don’t have the option of anything else. This absolutely speaks to the time that these men would’ve lived in and sticks to Thomas Mallon’s novel of the same name (which I haven’t read, yet), on which this limited series is based. But personally…I don’t want to see that. I’m not talking about the gay aspect of it all. Hell yeah, I want to see the gay. The homophobia, the hiding, and all that stuff…well, I’m just tired and I don’t want it.
I wish Hollywood would get more creative when it comes to LGBTQ stories. Yes, our history and the trials that we’ve gone through are important. But it feels like that’s all we get sometimes. I want stories where people like me fall in love and have that happily ever after. Why? Because it feeds my soul, and those like me, and makes me feel like I can finally breathe and find that kind of love, peace, acceptance, and a whole shit load of beautiful things that I consistently see heterosexual couples get in the media that I consume.
And with the shit show that is the U.S. when it comes to the rights of women and the looming threat of the destruction of LGBTQ+ rights…I’m tired of shows like Fellow Travelers. I’m tired of seeing us suffering. I’m tired of seeing us get the same old story of us hiding who we are, living in shame, and never finding any sort of peace to be who we were born as. I want more. And I will continue to ask for more, while acknowledging that casting Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer, two gay men, to play gay characters is a step forward. But, I also have to acknowledge that their pain, misery, fear, sorrow, and angst feel like we haven’t truly moved at all.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Sunday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)