Be careful what you wish for when you demand equal treatment, certainly when it comes to reality television. US cable viewers are about to get two new series focusing on gay men in lurve and trans models looking glam, both of which live up/down to the quality of their more mainstream ancestors, and which have their fair share of queens and divas behaving badly, as befits the genre.
Oxygen is soon to premiere Strut, a fly-on-the-wall series about Slay Model Management, the first exclusively transgender modelling agency. Happily it appears less bowel-clenchingly earnest than I Am Cait (phew), but still looks to leave no cliche un-revisited even if some viewers will find it…er…educational. As with RuPaul’s Drag Race, the entertainment value partly consists of waiting for someone to fall off their stilettos and lose it. But it’s produced by Whoopi Goldberg and features the highly-articulate trans model and activist Laith Ashley, so may turn out to be less of a further round of transploitation than one might fear.
On Logo, a tried and tested format gets a gay twist with the arrival of Finding Prince Charming, which has everything thrown at it, including Lance Bass as host (who can give you dating tips if you need them). IMHO, this looks about as far from the reality of gay dating as you could possibly imagine, and underneath its greeting card commercial facade looks suspiciously like 80s softcore porn. Nonetheless, the team say serious issues affecting the lives of today’s gay men will be touched on throughout the series.
Some of the soft-focus gloss has been wiped away by seriously NSFW reports that the bachelor looking for love, Robert Sepulveda Jr, is a former rent boy, allegations which he hasn’t denied. Although that frisson of excitement may increase audience figures, it’s unlikely that we’ll see all his equipment in action. Oh, and one contestant will reveal they are HIV positive. Have a box of tissues handy.