The problem with the prom

This is honestly a topic that’s been on my mind for a while now & I’m glad to finally get around to it. So let me just preface this by saying I absolutely love the prom, Ryan Murphy & everything he does. But the more I think about the film, the more I realize it has a very problematic element to it that concerns one of its lead characters, Barry Glickman.

So let’s break it down from the beginning: as we all know, he was a broadway star who comes to edgewater to help emma when the prom gets canceled on account of homophobia. & for the most part, I think cordy boy delivers a pretty good performance. I mean I think a lot of the fans agree he could have been written better & there’s been a longstanding issue regarding whether straight actors should play gay people (or vice versa) but that’s not the issue we’re here to discuss (nor do I even think it’s really much of an issue to begin with but I digress).

The issue I have is the fact that the writers seem to have no idea what his gender identity truly is. I mean at the end of the film, they awarded him the title of prom queen which, while a nice gesture ultimately, does not make any sense. I mean, yes, he is homosexual but he still identifies as male, right? At least the film gives no indication otherwise. They even refer to him as uncle Barry in the hit musical number, tonight belongs to us. Why not give him the title of prom king instead? I mean it’s not like he would have had much competition anyway.

So what gives? Well, I did a little digging & here’s what we uncovered. The music is written by the team of Chad Begeulin & Matthew Sklar. It is not clear which way Matt swings but Chad is confirmed as living with his husband & their dog in the heart of Manhattan. So unless Matt is straight & he wrote that line, I’m at a loss. I dug a little further & found out it is slang for a gay man so it’s possible that’s what they were going for but typically the title of prom queen implies the person is female.

Maybe I’m reading a bit too much into this but there is also an offhand reference to him being a “big old girl” in Barry goes to prom & at one point, he even calls himself Ms. Glickman so it wasn’t just that one instance. In any case, I am willing to look the other way & give them the benefit of the doubt but for future reference, they really need to do better about depictions of gender identity, especially in a film that centers on an lgbtq character. I guess I was just surprised that this type of discrepancy appeared in a film spearheaded by (arguably) the most prominent gay director in Hollywood at the moment.

But all in all, it’s definitely a great film & as long as they strive to do better going forward, I guess that’s all that matters. So that’s about all I have for you guys this weekend but thank you so much for reading. Have a great Sunday & I’ll see you back here next weekend for a brand new episode of SD. Until then, this is the x factor signing off.


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