I have a feeling that the first Queer person that I knew was Queer would have been Mr Humphries in Are You Being Served? I mean they kind of straight washed him for the sequel which was a bit weird, although I guess he wasn’t so much bisexual as he was funnysexual. It’s not so much Queer representation really as, camp theatricality can get you past censorship. Again we go back to Kenneth Williams and I guess Carry On Movies (oh how much they were the home of the funnysexual with Charlie Hawtree, Kenneth Williams et al) and then Eurotrash. I never saw the original Queer Eye the first time round and though I was aware of Anna Friel kissing girls on Brookside I didn’t watch it.
I grew up with media that made sure if you were going to be anything but straight you better be funny or at least some sort of performer. Otherwise your options were being a good gay guy and dying (usually of AIDs) – because we were full on into Bring Out Your Gay Dead, being a lesbian and being a murderer (I really loved Heavenly Creatures). It’s not really great or that representative.
I think though, that there is a reason that Velvet Goldmine really stuck with me, Christian Bale jumping up and down pointing at the TV, shouting “That’s me, that’s me.” That film really gave me the idea that we as a community have been continually coming out and coming out and coming out since the end of the nineteenth century at least.
And this is why we need to know our history. (And every woman and every black person is nodding in comprehension at this point…)