On June 17th, Hulu premiered Love, Victor, a new LGBT show for Pride Month about a boyish-looking high school sophomore who is unsure about his sexuality. In the show, which was originally intended for Disney+, fifteen-year-old Victor (Michael Cimino) begins writing to Simon (Nick Robinson), an out-and-proud alumnus of his high school. (Simon is a character from the 2018 film Love, Simon.) Simon is now grown-up and lives in New York.
As the series moves towards a conclusion, Victor turns sixteen and takes a bus to New York to visit Simon. The two go to an adult gay club called "Messy Boots." In a scene that should set-off alarm bells to any healthy adult, Victor, again the boyish-looking high-school sophomore, has a blast as he is "checked-out" on the dance floor by an older guy at the club.
Later in the episode, a drag queen comes out on stage and notices Victor in the audience. This is when the episode becomes blatant in its predatory undertones.
Katya: New York City! Welcome to Messy Boots. Can I just say, you are the sorriest-looking crows I have ever seen. Except this one. Who's this little chicken? Cluck, cluck, cluck. Come on up here. Get your butt up here.
Simon: Yeah, Victor!
Katya: What's your name honey?
Katya: How's your night going, Victor?
Victor: Uh...It's been the best night of my life.
For anybody unfamiliar with LGBT slang, a "chicken" does not merely refer to poultry. According to the book Gay Talk: A (Sometimes Outrageous) Dictionary of Gay Slang, a "chicken" is "any boy under the age of consent," and "chicken dinner" is "sex with a teenager."
The LGBT wikia defines "chickenhawk" as "slang used in American and British gay culture to denote older males who prefer younger males for partners, who may less often be called 'chickens,' i.e. the prey of the chickenhawk."
So, an underage boy is at an adult male club and is referred to by a meat term for "any boy under the age of consent." And this scene is portrayed as a positive moment in the show and the best night of the boy's life.
Turn this around and imagine a scene where a girlish-looking underage female is "checked-out" at an adult male club. A host then brings her up on stage after referring to her by a term that indicates, say, a youthful virgin. Would that by okay? So why should it be okay if the character is a boy who is potentially sexually attracted to males?
In 2018, Call Me By Your Name, a movie about an adult male's affair with a teenager won accolades in Hollywood and even received an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Few seemed to question the predatory nature of the LGBT movie's premise.
In the past few years, the "T" part of LGBT has tried to legitimize everything from adults twerking in front of pre-schoolers to taking a vulnerable child on a road trip to drag shows.
Maybe we also need to talk about the "G" part of LGBT. Why are movies and shows supposedly portraying the gay male experience glamorizing older men with "chickens"? Can we even ask that question or must we just submissively wave the rainbow flag and pretend not to notice?