If you’ve noticed more gay characters with children on television and in movies, you’re not alone. CNN has noticed too, and they’re calling it “the new normal.”
In a June 24 segment, Kareen Wynter featured two gay dads, Rich Vaughn and Tommy Woelfel, who “hope TV shows like ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Glee’ and the new film ‘The Kids are All Right’ represent a growing trend in Hollywood storylines: gay parents.”
The segment featured one opponent to Hollywood’s normalization of gay parenting: Media Research Center Vice President for Business & Culture Dan Gainor.
“Hollywood has done a great deal of work causing acceptance in American culture for homosexuality,” Gainor said. He added later, “Again, what they’re trying to do is normalize something that a lot of people, certainly in those states, don’t want to normalize.”
But Wynter’s segment presented Gainor’s view as the abnormal one (even showing his picture in black-and-white for an unexplained reason).
Actress Julianne Moore, who stars in “The Kids are All Right,” argued that “the entertainment world reflects popular culture. I think that this was happening in the world. So what you’re seeing in television and in film is what’s going on in our society at large, which is a great thing.”
Wynter closed the segment by asking a gay couple if they thought they were normal. To absolutely no one’s surprise, they said they were normal parents, and Wynter left it at that.
However, Wynter didn’t mention statistics that suggest Hollywood is not reflecting what’s going on in society, or that gay parenting is not normal.
According to Colage, an “national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more” gay parent, Census data found that that “more than 250,000 people under the age of 18 [were] living with unmarried same-sex couples” in 2000. Colage argues the number of children with gay parents is higher, but acknowledges that other estimates are speculative.
Assume for a moment that a full 250,000 children live with gay parents. They would represent 0.3 percent of the 72.4 million children counted in the 2000 Census. The number itself is extremely small, and it’s not even close to proportionate. Commonly cited estimates guess 10 percent of the population is homosexual. (The Centers for Disease Control found the number was closer to 4.1 percent for each gender in 2002.)
CNN anchor Kyra Phillips used the segment to tease an upcoming special, “Gary and Tony Have a Baby.” Soledad O’Brien’s one-hour special highlights what Phillips called the “struggle” of two gay man trying to have a biological child of their own.
Updated 6/25: to correct spelling of Kareen Wynter and include names of Rich Vaughn and Tommy Woelfel.