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Friends of Dorothy: Was 'The Golden Girls' Really As Queer-Friendly As Its Reputation Suggests?

By Jose Gallegos | /Bent July 10, 2014 at 10:29AM

“The Golden Girls” is a seminal queer classic, one that flawlessly incorporated aging women into NBC’s primetime lineup. Since its initial airing, the show has developed quite an immense following from viewers (especially gay men) who enjoy the antics and sexual escapades of Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia. But what I have noticed about some of the more prominent and vocal fans is that they tend to glaze over the show’s problematic depictions of LGBTQ characters, hailing these depictions as brave and flawless.
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THE UNATTAINABLE OBJECT OF LUST
Laszlo (Tony Jay) – Appeared in “The Artist” S03 E13

Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy all pose for the latest sculpture by Laszlo, a Hungarian artist. The three women vie for his affection and wait to see the end result. The climactic scene not only reveals that the sculpture was made from the best parts of the three women, but that Laszlo is also a gay man.

Much like Gil’s transgender identity, Laszlo’s sexuality is the punch line of a 30-minute joke. However, no one actually says the words “gay” or “homosexual.” The reveal is characterized by a coded sissy character, one who saunters into the frame, glares at Laszlo, and says, “Laszlo, looks like we’re a hit!” before sashaying away. The audience roars with laughter, and the artistic Lothario leaves the girls with the response, “I’m sorry, I thought you knew.”

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