Jul 8, 2013

Ross Lynch and His Brothers: Gay Positive or Homophobic?

You may think of Ross Lynch as just a voiceover artist and the star of the Disney Channel's Teen Beach Movie, or the gay-subtext Austin & Allie, along with Calum Worthy (middle), who stars in this satiric anti-straight marriage PSA.

Both appear on my list of 12 Unexpected Disney Channel Teen Hunks.

But the talented actor and singer, born in Colorado in 1995,  is just one of a whole family of performers.  He is in the group R5, along with brothers, sister, and friend.

I've had approximately 100 of their close friends and girlfriends informing me that they're heterosexual.  What I can't figure out is whether they're gay-positive, heterosexist, or homophobic.

Riker, born in 1991, appears on the gay-positive Glee as Jeff, a student at rival Dalton Academy and  member of the Warblers singing group.  His character is often assumed gay and is shipped with Nick (Curt Mega).

But both Riker and Rydel, the female member of R5, retweeted a tweet that complained that Glee was  "gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay."  Sounds like they're a bit homophobic.  But then...he stars in Glee. Maybe it's commenting on the homophobia?

Rocky, born in 1994, is deeply invested in the band, but he has also appeared on screen a few times, notably in The Wedding Band, about four slackers who sing at weddings, including gay weddings.

Ellington Ratliffe, the drummer of the band, has appeared in Victorious, Red Scare, Raising Hope, and All You Need. 

 He tweeted to Riker that he was the "King of Swag," whereupon Riker told him that "Swag" means gay ("At least now you come out.")  Ratliffe responded: "Swag is still cool."  Homophobic or not?

So, how heterosexist are their songs?  "Can't Get Enough of You" and "I Want You Bad" are loaded-down with "girl! girl! girl!", but "Without You" and "Look at Us Now" omit pronouns.  And in "Never," the singer feels cold, so he gets his sweetheart's jacket wrapped around his shoulders.  That sounds like a male sweetheart.

To be complete, I should include Ryland (born 1997).  He's not in R5, but he stars in the Nickelodeon sitcom The Fresh Beat Band (2009-) as Mini Twist, leader of a group that hero-worships the older Twist (Jon Beavers, who played a homophobic jock in A Gaggle of Saints ).

Homophobic, heterosexist, or gay-positive?


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