PJ and I have been watching a marathon of Fox’s Playing it Straight on t.v. today. This reality series puts a young woman named Jackie on a ranch with 14 men. She initially thinks it’s a straight up (pun intended) dating show like The Bachelor (this year’s bachelor is totally HOT, but I won’t watch that show regardless), but she soon learns that some of the men are gay. If she ends up with a gay guy at the end of the series, he gets $1 million; if she selects a straight guy, they split the million.

These kinds of reality shows (Gay, Straight, or Taken is another one) really anger me. While many of the gay contestants who are on these shows claim that they’re doing it to prove that gay people are everywhere and you can’t always tell who’s gay and who’s straight, it’s nevertheless bad for gay people, in my opinion.

First, it’s the gay men who are depicted as playing the game just to get the money. We’re the greedy ones. Of course the straight men are also playing for money, but they’re consistently discussed as in it for the potential relationship and not just the cash. (PJ just told me that one of the straight men just confessed that he’s in it for the cash, but I still don’t think that’s how the show depicts the straight men overall.)

Furthermore, it’s the gay men playing straight that are the liars and deceivers; they’re the ones who have to apologize when they’re kicked off for hurting the woman by lying to her, for just wanting the cash.

And finally, it really bugs me that these shows force gay men back into the closet, even if just temporarily. The guy who got kicked off the episode of Playing it Straight that was just on had a departure confessional in which he explains that he’s glad he got kicked off because he didn’t like lying to Jackie’s face and he has a boyfriend with whom he’s in love. It bothers me that these shows force the gay men to deny their partners/boyfriends just like society at large has forced these denials for so long. At least pick single gay men to be on the dating reality show. (One of the gay guys just made the comparison to being in the closet and how uncomfortable he was going back in for the show. But just because the contestants see my complaints too doesn’t mean that the complaints aren’t legitimate.)