A firestorm of controversy had erupted over the last 24 hours on the popular Gay blog, Towleroad! In a post, Towleroad, after referencing a review from We Love Soaps on the introduction of the new character of Felix Dubois (played by Marc Anthony Samuel) on General Hospital took to task what they interpret as a negative portrayal of a gay character.
As many had seen in his first on-screen appearance, the character of Felix carried on him some lipstick. However Towleroad’s slant on this was, “To establish his character as gay, his first scenes involved him pulling out a tube of lipstick and offering to touch up a heterosexual woman. Oy.” After this posting, readers to the blog continued on with negative comments, outrage, and attacks including this one: “This idiocy from General Hospital is the equivalent of a blackface minstrel show. With enough ridicule, I hope the producer and writer become a laughing stock, which is what they deserve.”
However, GH’s head writer, Ron Carlivati, who has spearheaded the introduction of many a gay character and story to daytime television, fired back at the comments when he posted: “To Andy Towle and the readers of this blog: My name is Ron Carlivati and I am the Head Writer of General Hospital. I am also an openly gay man. I created the character of Felix Dubois, the “lipstick-wielding gay male nurse,” and I am frankly appalled by the intolerance and internalized homophobia expressed in this post and in the majority of its comments. During my career, I have brought no fewer than six gay characters to daytime television: male, female, Black, White, Hispanic…all shapes and sizes. I have written coming out stories, gay bashing stories, gay marriage stories, gay parenting stories and gay love stories. I wrote the first love scene between two gay men that ever aired on daytime TV. I won a GLADD award for these stories. What exactly is it about this character that is causing such righteous indignation? The fact that he carries a tube of lipstick in his scrubs? SPOILER ALERT: Felix sells cosmetics to put himself through nursing school. This will be revealed on Monday’s show. Not because I think gay men love lipstick, and certainly not to “establish” himself as gay. But even if that were the reason, so what? Does this make him too queeny? Not straight-acting enough? Is that the only type of gay character allowed on TV now? As far as I’m concerned, to be offended by this character is what is offensive. And just FYI, the majority of women (our core audience) I have heard from thus far about Felix have expressed to me how much they like him. The only people who seem to have a problem with him are certain gay men who are apparently afraid of a gay character who might be portrayed as a little bit effeminate. Well, I say shame on you, and shame on Andy Towle, too. Oy, indeed.”
So what do you think about the character of Felix? And, what do you think of Ron Carlivati’s comments? Hard to argue with the points he made! Shouldn’t we all just wait and see how this Felix character unfolds? Weigh-in!