Homosexual Breadwinners

The running theme throughout this blog  has been about homosexuality on television, and we shall continue with this topic in this insert as we look  at the subject of homosexual breadwinners in South Africa and the effects it has on the family and the gay person themselves.

I was inspired to write on this topic by a recent episode of Etv’s youth soapie Rythm City. the soapies only gay character Stone Khuse( real name: Zenzo Ngqobe) tries to support his family by taking up the role of father-figure in the absence of the his real father Kop Khuse, who had to take a truck-hauling job in order to pay off the debt he owed to the loan shark Ding-Dong.

Zenzo Nqobe aka Stone from Rythm City

Stone manages to repay the debt owed by his father, however, he then has to take a job as the ding-dong’s debt collector; a job wich tests his manhood to the highest level.

As a gay man, Stone has to battle with stamping his authority on those who he collects money from (sometimes close family friends), and this eventually leads him into developing a violent streak which he unleashes on those who fail to pay up.

Added to this, Kop returns from his long trucking excursions to find that Stone has taken over the family responsibilities and is now the financial provider for the family.

This fact makes Kop furious, he feels useless since he can’t provide for his family in the way that Stone does, and also feels somewhat inferior to his son because he did not manage to secure the safety of his family like his son is doing. Stone senses his father’s anxiety and feels frustrated since he cannot help his father get over his insecurities.

Stone’s dilemmas had me thinking, hard. The must be a lot of gay people out there who are their families’ breadwinners and who struggle to maintain authority over the household as they might be perceived as ‘too weak’ to lead a family.

How do these gay breadwinners deal with the pressures of leading a family ( a role usually associated with straight fathers) as well as the struggle for acceptance in a largely homophobic society.  

From my personal experiences, homosexual men in the townships, are considered more female than male, they are subject to constant harassment and ridicule, which sometimes leads them to being aggressive and forcibly  portraying ‘manly’ characteristics in order to be accepted.

The character of Stone epitomizes the above statement well. He constantly has to switch between the roles caring gay guy and the ruthless debt collecting enforcer. This leads me to think that there must be a lot of gay men and women out there who are the foundation of their families but do not receive the respect they deserve for assuming such a challenging role.

It would be wonderful if our society could be more accepting of these people, instead of passing misinformed judgement on homosexual family leaders.

They are just like you and me, people with hopes and dreams, challenges and fears, love and intelligence. It is only fair and constitutionally just, to afford them the same love and respect that we give to all other adults and family leaders.

I’d like to applaud South African soapies for highlighting these issues, and for helping us understand and tolerate homosexual people more than we already do.

Here are some interesting links on this topic if you;d like to find out more:

The Changing Role of the Modern Day Father

The economics of lesbian and gay families

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Homosexuality on public television part 2: Homosexual couples and Adoption

Wassup my Good people’s!

Ok, so last time on Eye the soapie TV we discussed the issue of homosexuality on prime time television, and I promised to talk about gay couples and adoption in this insert. So here it goes…

For those who did not catch the first insert, read my first blog on this topic to catch up with the rest of us.

On a recent episode of Generations, Senzo and Jason (the soapies’ only homosexual couple) were talking about the possibility of adopting a child, and Senzo did not seem too excited about the idea, whereas Jason was very keen on this option.

This got me thinking about a few things on gay couples and adoption, is it right to raise a child in a sinlge-sex home, and what are the social-implications of doing so?   What does the South African legislation say about gay marriages and adoption? Does the law allow homosexual partners to adopt and raise children like other straight couples?

And what are the chances that the child raised in this kind of household may end up becoming gay themselves? How will the child interact with other children raised in heterosexual homes within the community. How will the community in general react to the presence of a homosexual family in their neighbourhood? Also, will the child  be able to differentiate between the roles of mother and father in the same-sex home?

Orphaned children are often emotionally scarred due to abandonment, previously abusive homes, and other factors that might have led them to being orphaned. Having to deal with the circumstances concerning living in a same-sex home might increase their emotional burdens or, be potentially hazardous to their development into mature adulthood. 

South African society is still apprehensive toward gay and same-sex relations, which could mean the adopted child faces the possibility of rejection or ridicule from other members of society, especially the child’s peer group. And what about the emotional and psychological strain that could be felt by the parents of the adopted child, how will they respond to questions  from the child about the nature of their relationship?

How will they handle instances of rebellion from the child when they arise, and most importantly, how will they advise the child on intimate relationships when the time arrives for the child to start dating? 

These questions are not easy to answer, there are not many practical examples of gay couples adopting  in South africa , so assessing the real-life consequences of gay adoption is very difficult.

In my opinion, the rights and well-being of the child should take first precedence above any consideration of the adopting parents race, age or sexual preference. If the child has the opportunity to be raised in a financially stable home and in a physically and emotionally sound environment, then the sexual orientation of the parents should be one of the least important considerations in the adoption process. 

Generations should be commended for highlighting such issues as it helps South African citizens come to terms with homosexual activities and in promoting a more equal, free and fair south africa.

If you’d like to find out more on this topic, here are some interesting articles you can look at:

Rise in adopted children living with gay couples
Both sides on gay adoption cite concern for children

Can same-sex couples adopt?

Gay and Lesbian Adoptive and Foster Care Placements: Can They Meetthe Needs of Waiting Children?

The potential impact of homosexual parenting on children 

THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN: SAME-SEX PARTNERS, THEIR CHILDREN AND UNEQUAL TREATMENT

In the next insert of Eye on the soapie TV, I will be discussing the issue of homo-sexual bread winners and the pressures they face within the home and in society.

Don’t miss out!!!

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Homosexuality on public television

On a recent episode of  SABC 1’s flagship ship soapie, Generations, the couple of Senzo and Jason, were discussing the possibility of adopting a child. Senzo was not keen on the idea while Jason seemed to be excited by the thought of adoption. There are two issues I would like top discuss here pertaining to this particular scene in the episode.

Gay couple Senzo ( Thami Mngqolo) and Jason (Zolisa Xaluva) from the hit soapie generations

 

First I would like to discuss the issue of showing homosexuality on prime time television.

In my opinion, South African society, particularly black south Africans residing in the townships, who make up the majority of viewers for the prime time soapie , is a very conservative society. Most of the people in the townships still adhere to heterosexual family values, and rear their children up to adhere to the same values and norms.  

Homosexuality and gay relationships are still frowned upon by most, and the issue is still a taboo topic in many households across the nation, and even across the entire African continent. If you disagree with me, then read the numerous stories on mob violence against gays in places such as Malawi, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria and many others.

So what I would like to know from you is: Is it appropriate to show gay or homosexual relations on prime time television, when all members of the family, including children, are most likely to be present?

Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-gay rights and equality, but I am still undecided as to whether showing gay relationships and issues on prime time national television is ethically correct.

Granted, soap opera’s are classified as a feminine genre and these aspects of our social lives should be discussed in the public sphere. But i would think it would be more appropriate and in taste, to place programme content containing controversial issues such as homosexuality in society, at a later hour where a more mature audience would be able to digest material of this kind.  

  
The reality is that 21st century society is highly influenced by programming presented on television, and children are particularly vulnerable to such media influence as their still in the tender stage of human socialisation. And for them to be exposed to homosexual relations so early in their lives could be potentially disastrous to their social development.

I may be wrong, and exposure to such issues might help them to be more understanding and tolerant towards homosexuals, but, since these issues are not highlighted in the education sector, the chances of them learning from such shows as generations are minimal.

The second issue of homosexual couples and adoption will be discussed in the next insert of Eye on the Soapie TV .

Here are some links to interesting articles on  homosexuality in television:

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Content on Television: A Quantitative Analysis Across Two Seasons

Homosexuality on Television: The Heterosexualization ofWill & Grace in Print Media

One in five unhappy with portrayal of homosexuality on TV

And some blogs and Generations too:

Gens Blog: our soapie

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