Gay channel comes out tonight

Logo, The country's first basic cable channel devoted to gay programming, launches tonight at 9pm with a documentary about the growing visibility of gay America in the last few decades. Spawned by MTV programming wonder Brian Graden (who developed "Punk'd," "The Newlyweds," and "South Park"), the channel will feature movies, scripted series, news, and a reality wedding show.

Graden says the new channel won't be all about sex, a la "Queer as Folk" on Showtime. ""When you tell a story about gay rodeo or gay surfers, it's not a story about sex, nor does it need to be," Graden told the O.C. Register. "So much connects us beyond sexuality.""

As networks cave in to right-wing pressure and cancel "controversial" programming (CBS pulling "The Reagans" miniseries because it showed them in a bad light, PBS yanking an episode of "Postcards from Buster" featuring a lesbian mom), and as the right wing establishes more of a foothold in mainstream culture (Republicans trying to make PBS more conservative, the anti-Hillary book being published by a new, conservative imprint of Penguin), it'll be refreshing to see a channel that promotes free speech and tolerance, and depicts gays as human beings instead of people you can't expose your children to.

I think we need to put out more of this type of programming. The kind that doesn't have any "agenda" other than just portraying the reality of our country, with all its different colors and textures. Why would we want to see a media world populated only by straight, white, God-fearing people? We often look to popular culture to enlighten us about what we don't know.

It's often been said that people who actually get to know a person who is gay, lesbian or bisexual find it harder to be homophobic. So if the children of conservative America don't have the opportunity to learn why people really have different sexualities, or to see realistic depictions of gays, this is probably the next best thing. If one son or daughter who's been shielded by a homophobic parent and school system watches Logo's documentary, and thinks, "hey, these people don't look so sinful," or, "hey, I'm not alone," then Logo will have been a success.

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