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Gay Rights Organization Blasts Celluloid Stereotypes of Homosexuals With PM-2 Live Crew, Bjt

October 4, 1990 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ One of the bolder love scenes this movie season won’t make it to theaters.

A frank encounter between two women - from ″Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael″ - was left on the cutting room floor. What remains is a brief scene with two women in a bedroom, hinting elliptically at their love making.

Depictions are more explicit in the upcoming ″Henry and June,″ which details the sexual encounters of writer Henry Miller, his wife, June, and writer Anais Nin in Paris in the 1930s. There are scenes at lesbian social clubs in which women embrace, kiss and dance together, and a brothel scene shows two women making love.


Hollywood’s continuing difficulty with homosexuality ranges from the squeamishness of ″Roxy Carmichael″ to the rancor of ″Bird on a Wire.″ In the latter film, a hairdresser swishes through his salon in a wanton stereotype.

Yet a swishy role won William Hurt an Oscar for his performance as a homosexual prisoner in ″Kiss of the Spider Woman.″

Critics say upcoming films will include negative gay role models. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) says the scripts for ″Basic Instinct″ and ″Ticking Man″ are littered with villains who are gay. They say ″Basic″ features lesbian and bisexual women as murderers and ″Ticking″ features a man described as ″wierdly effeminate.″

″What we’d like to see is gay and lesbian characters portrayed, I hope in continuing roles, as normal people,″ said Richard Jennings, executive director of GLAAD’s Los Angeles chapter. The group is pleased with the character of a doctor’s gay brother on ″Doctor, Doctor,″ on CBS.

GLAAD has placed ads of protest in trade papers but plans no boycotts of movies.

A few recent releases have been criticized for allegedly fostering anti-gay violence.

GLAAD is unhappy with David Lynch’s ″Wild at Heart,″ whose lead uses the word ″faggot,″ and ″House Party,″ where a character raps, ″Me a homo? Nah man, that’s a no-no.″

ITC Entertainment Group’s ″Roxy Carmichael,″ distributed by Paramount Pictures, is an account of a small town’s memory of a bisexual teen-age woman. The film attempted to deal straightforwardly with sex between two women.

″But at test screenings people were kind of shocked to see the two people in bed,″ said the film’s director, Jim Abrahams. ″I thought it was done pretty tastefully. ... I think we miscalculated the reaction.″

″We’re lucky (the scene) is in there at all,″ said screenwriter Karen Leigh Hopkins. ″Paramount was very nervous about it and wanted it cut. ... But there’s nothing wrong with (two women) being lovers. Roxy is the hero - and she’s bisexual.″

Negative, cliched characterizations have been a motion-picture staple since 1915′s ″The Birth of a Nation.″ Almost every group, at one time or another, has censured the entertainment industry for biased depictions.

Some gays have been pleased with such films as the recent ″Longtime Companion,″ 1959′s ″Suddenly, Last Summer″ and 1968′s ″The Killing of Sister George.″ For the most part, though, gays are unhappy.

In an advertisement taken out in the Hollywood trade newspaper Daily Variety last week, GLAAD said: ″Gay and lesbian film characters are portrayed either as sissies or victims, or murderers and twisted villains. We are verbally abused with offensive terms such as ‘faggot’ and ‘dyke.’

″This year’s screen images of violence and abuse fuel a climate of increasing ant-gay violence.″

″We felt that with the real flood of nothing but negative images in films this year that we had to do something dramatic to get the industry’s attention,″ said Jennings.

The New York City police department recorded 64 anti-gay crimes through July, up 120 percent from the previous period in 1989. According to research by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for 1989, there were more than 7,000 reported incidents of harassment, intimidation, vandalism or bias- related violence directed against gays, including 62 homicides.

The makers of some films under attack say criticisms of gay characters are overly emotional.

″I didn’t realize the word ‘faggot’ was derogatory,″ said Steve Golin, a producer of the Samuel Goldwyn Co.’s ″Wild at Heart.″ ″It’s just a term that’s in our vocabulary. The film doesn’t depict gay people in a negative context.″

Others responsible for movies under fire say the depictions are only meant to be humorous.

And Reggie Hudlin, director of New Line Cinema’s ″House Party,″ said the denounced rap lyric ″is being taken out of context. ... It’s a scene where a kid gets put in jail. The musical number is a way to defend him against the assault″ of rape.