Book chapter

Race, Aging and Gay In/Visibility on US Television

In this chapter, I argue that despite the increased visibility of gay men on contemporary telenarratives (both on broadcast and cable networks)people of color remain stubbornly less visible and even within those examples of white gay men who dominate the airwaves, few if any depict men over the age of 40 or gay elders over the age of retirement.This invisibility operates a heuristic that pedagogically educates viewers to interpellate gay men as perpetually young or as young adults, thereby rendering middle aged or elders as alternatively inconsequential or dangerous through their conspicuous absence. These representational absences reinforced by the fragmentation of television, operate to exacerbate existing stigmatization of gay men over the age of 40 and gay elders through the potent discourses of ageism. Thus this chapter will analyze not only the processes of exclusion but also the resulting consequences that such reinforcement predictably produces through the consumption of the messages conveyed through the popular cultural medium of television.