For AJC and DLM
It has often been said that Tyler Perry's films are homophobic. But what if that's not the case?
Could it be that Tyler Perry is trying to find the oddly gendered person a stable and necessary place in the "family" that is the black race? We know that some families beat, disown, or try to correct gender-inappropriate family members. Could Perry really be saying that his wild, transvestite character Madea--warts and all--is actually the most important aspect of her extended family, even if she does not have a hetero/nuclear family of her own? Could this actually be a blow in favor of new family formations, instead of the insipid, worn-out, impossible gender oppositions his films claim to sell?
Certainly this is the effect of the films. Whether Perry knows that this is what he has done, I'm not sure. And, even if he does, the cost is high: Madea gets to stay in the family, it seems, because of her perpetual offer of service to help them meet their hetero dreams. It's not clear what she gets out of it... any more than I could ever figure out what the guys on _Queer Eye_ got out of being straight guys' fairy godmothers... or what Lisa Turtle (yes, I went there!) got out of being everyone's matchmaking confidante on _Saved by the Bell_ .(For those of you who are too young to get the reference, take lonely Mercedes from _Glee_, subtract her singing voice and about 80 lbs, and you've got Lisa).
Apparently, it easier to imagine all these black feminine figures as lacking desire -- the more so that they can help you get what you want. Or, put another way, their only desire is that you get what you desire. It's a beautiful fantasy for the one getting. But it seems a bad trade for the person giving: you won't banish or annihilate me as long as I promise to spend all my time helping you get what you want. Umm, ok. I guess that's the assimilation two-step. Glad to know who's leading that dance.