i realize that, in all this time, i’ve never really discussed Blaine’s obsession with marriage equality. I haven’t said anything about it because it is exactly the sort of idealistic shit that a gay teen would jump all over. The very idea, for obvious reasons, is romantic. Weddings. Love. Making vows. Romantic.
Beyond the sheer absurdity of wanting to propose to someone you aren’t even in a relationship with… (which we could likely attribute this to the vast loneliness that is his life/childhood that he is doing the upmost to ensure that he is never alone again).
This episode isn’t the first time that he has brought it up. While, in many cases, it is important not to confuse the writers/creators with the characters. But, we can quite clearly see the influence of super privileged white cis gay Ryan Murphy. It obviously ties into his overall politics (see also the new normal).
There is much criticism of the laser focus that the white cis queer lobby has for marriage equality (this link gives a very brief overview). I’m lucky enough to live in a jurisdiction with gay marriage (canada). Except… that as I write this the legislation that would protect trans people from discrimination is in the senate. We are crossing our fingers in hope that they’ll approve the bill before it, yet again, dies when the PM does a new throne speech.
If memory serves, this is maybe the 4th or 5th time this has been attempted in the past 10+ years. Canada has, though, had gay marriage for something like 6-7 years? And where are the gay lobby groups and orgs? Nowhere.
Because in canada, like the united states, your average white cis queer doesn’t give a fuck about trans people. In the states, trans people also don’t have protection for job discrimination, public accommodations, etc. in most states and areas.
I say all of this to put the hammering that glee has been doing on gay marriage, via Blaine as ryan murphy’s sockpuppet, into context.
All the while Blaine is going on and on about this. We have Unique. Who, in this episode is revealed as the ‘catfish’ person. Okay. I mean, this wasn’t unexpected. But, it is super interesting that the guy who spent an entire episode proving that he is transmisogynist, takes one look at Unique and goes ‘Nope’. Despite professing his love/continued interest in katie, but only so long as he thought that she was cis and white.
Unique does say that she did it because she knows that she isn’t Ryder’s idea of beauty. This is, most certainly, something that a young Black trans girl is likely to know. That she will never be woman enough, white enough, ‘real’ enough, human enough, to expect that anyone will love her. All #girlslikeus understand this. That we are monsters. That we fool unsuspecting men into thinking we are really women.
But, wait. What am I talking about? This narrative isn’t about Unique. It is about Ryder and it has been since the beginning. Unique is just a prop for his narrative. So that we can see his character growth. He starts out a bigot. And ‘learns’ his lesson, that Unique teaches him both as herself and as katie. This catfish thing has been all about his reactions and how it impacts him. It is about his rage as a white cis man (and, wow, does glee ever love glorifying the rage of white men on the show). It is about his emotional stress from being vulnerable, but not in control.
What we don’t see (and probably never will) is any of Unique’s struggle. We don’t see how it impacts her to know that the boy she likes hates her. We don’t see her struggle with her body, just a glib reference to birth control. We don’t see her. We don’t see her as a human being. She almost exists solely within this narrative to make Ryder be more interesting.
In glee we have yet another Black girl that will never be shown as a complete human being. We have yet another Black girl who is under-appreciated in the club. Who glee’s writers heap micro-aggression upon macro-aggression on her head, while elevating and humanizing white characters, often at her expense.
We will never see any mention or exploration of the ways that Ryder, and the rest of the glee club, has worked to create an environment so hostile that this is, apparently, the only way Unique has to reach out to someone. That she must literally negate herself (by becoming skinny, white, cis) in order for anyone to treat her like a human being.
But who cares about this, when we can keep getting marriage equality shoved down our throats by teenagers?
[I was totally going to say something about the two old lesbians in the show, but it kinda doesn't fit in with the rest of what I'm saying here. Just that... queer elders are important.]