Bravo’s “LA Shrinks”: A Lesson in Homophobia

I was watching an episode of Bravo’s LA Shrinks, and if you haven’t seen it, please do. It’s the one show on the network that has significant substance. Besides the less than good-looking client who hates fat people, my focus was on the gay-straight twins. If you remember, there have been studies over the past while about homosexuality and where it stems from. It’s like lightning—you know it exists, but you don’t know the root of it. One case was from about ten years ago in which 20/20 did a story on a set of grown gay-straight twins and a set of kids in which one played with Hot Wheels and had a more masculine-themed room, while the other wanted and got a pink, feminine room including Barbie dolls and a canopy bed. The boys are probably in high school as of 2013.

In last’s night’s LA Shrinks, the straight twin, Jacob, was essentially keeping his distance with his gay brother, Jude. His basic reasoning, from what I understood, was that he was angry that Jude didn’t come out to him first, and that he’s insecure about his own sexuality. He never overtly said the latter, but it’s blatant. Jacob has a disproportionately strong reaction to the idea of him not being straight and possibly suppressing something—a false machismo that’s common in many insecure men. He made extreme remarks such as basically wanting to toss his brother out of the car on the freeway for not coming out to him first (deliberately saying this while bobbing his head to push Jude’s buttons), not wanting to play a dance game with his brother and his friends for it being “too gay” and also saying that the mere thought of kissing a guy makes him want to throw up. Oh, and he also knows for a fact that his brother chose to be gay just as much as he essentially chose to be straight. Yes, he did imply that. Okay.

Let’s touch on the word “choice.” That word is both taboo and misleading because while no one chooses his or her orientation, people do, however, chose whether they want to be themselves living a life that’s not of the majority, or suppress that for the sake of pleasing loved ones and acquaintances who wouldn’t support them if they were open about themselves. It’s not a matter of choosing to be gay or straight, but a matter of making the choice of being themselves or being what society wants them to be. It reminds me of this idiot that I know whose mother would passive-aggressively hound him for not liking women. He’s now “straight” with the Bible in one hand and Grindr open on his phone in the other. Okay. Now, I have a lot of issues with this person along with a deep, blinding LED red hatred for other reasons, so I won’t go any further.

Back to the show, Jacob’s also creating a paradox in which he’s implying that he’s uncomfortable with the fact that his twin is gay, thinking that everyone will think he’s gay too, all while saying that he’s mad at his brother for coming out to everyone in the family except him. On the surface, it doesn’t make sense at all. But if you dig, you know, not that deep, it makes perfect sense. He clearly wants to support his blood doppelganger, but his own insecurities, as well as his take on their cultural upbringing, makes it hard. I don’t respect it nor do I like it, but I get it.

Jacob says he’s straight, so I take him at his word. But considering they’re Black and considering the status of homosexuality even in modern Black culture, he really feels like he’s in a bind. Ether way, I feel that he needs to take off that two-ton male symbol choker he has on and really put for forth the effort to consider Jude’s position other than gay sex, assumed femininity or perceived “perversion.” Jude’s forced to live with the memory of his dying grandmother saying that she never wants him to live a gay lifestyle, among other things, after she leaves this earth. Deep-seated hatred and misunderstanding of gays is rampant in the Black community, stemming from religious beliefs and views on gender roles that date all the way back to slavery. Marriages AND overall relationships are between men and women only, especially when it comes to family; men are to be men and women are to be women and gayness and lesbianism throws all of that out of whack. Some Blacks of older generations also view the acceptance of homosexuality as pandering to White culture.

Clearly all of this plays a role in the story of Jacob and Jude, the Castor and Pollux of reality-televised therapy. As much as I seethed watching how Jacob treated his brother, I got it, as it’s a harsh reality of culture and society. It’s just that if I were in Jude’s shoes, I probably wouldn’t want a relationship with my brother at this stage of the game. I know my bull-headed, angry and spiteful personality. I’m the type of person who wants to make people feel far worse that they’ve made me feel to the point of probably being evil and slightly violent, but I’m not in his shoes. I’m very pro-family, so much that it’s one of the main differences between myself and my nearly entire circle of friends that I’ve cut off nearly a year ago. I have a strong belief in family bonds and to see something like lifestyle choices cause rifts is both enraging and depressing. I do wish these brothers the best because they’re blood. It’s how I feel and it’s how my mind works.

Follow me on Twitter and check out my work on here and on YouTube. Toodaloo.

–Javan H.

Images used are found through internet searches.

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One thought on “Bravo’s “LA Shrinks”: A Lesson in Homophobia

  1. Pingback: True Life: I Have Social Anxiety | Javan H.

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