By Christine Verges
Arizona Summer Wildcat
Move over, Wayne and Garth Ä there's a new kid on the block.
"The G-Word" is a new public-access TV show on Tucson CableVision Channel 64 geared toward the gay community in Tucson. Beginning with its premiere last Thursday, the show will air "almost weekly" at 8 p.m. Thursday evenings, available to all subscribers of Tucson Cablevision.
"This is our television show," host Gary Clark told viewers last Thursday evening. "We're out of the closets and we're in your home. How 'bout that?"
Ten percent of Tucson's population is not being considered a worthwhile audience for TV broadcasting because they are homosexual, said "Tony," producer of "The G-Word." Six months ago, he said he made a pledge to change all of that.
"It's time we see things on TV that pertain to our lives," he said.
He said "The G-Word" is meant to provide a forum for gay artisans, politicians, activists and anyone else who is interested or has something to say.
Eventually, he said he would like to see the show picked up by a cable company and ultimately by a network television station.
For now, there are four more shows scheduled to air through July and August, he said.
"The G-Word" has also sparked the interest of ASUA Sen. Jonathan Bierner. Bierner and his sister, Lara, co-hosted the news and calendar of events for Thursday's premiere.
"Coming out" is one of the hardest things a young person can do in this society, Bierner said, because of the pressures from friends and family and the fear of not being able to be successful in life.
He said the show looked like a good opportunity to get involved, and possibly encourage younger members of the gay community to do so as well.
"I have a metaphor for 'coming out,'" Bierner explained. "It's a suicide. You are this person that everybody wants you to be and when you come out, you're killing that person. And although 99 percent of you will still be the same, to everybody else, that 1 percent will make all the difference."
One of his primary goals, Bierner said, is to make it easier for young homosexuals to "come out of the closet."
Using his experience from "The G-Word," Bierner said he would eventually like to create a spin-off program of his own that would focus on all aspects of the gay community, both stereotypical and non-stereotypical.
However, as a UA senior majoring in psychology, Bierner said he tries not to make everything an issue of sexuality.
"It's a part of my life, sure," Bierner said, "but it's not something that I think about 100 percent of my time."
The host, Clark, said he feels his role is to provide humor to the show amid the serious topics and issues that the gay community faces today.
Characterizing himself as a non-activist gay person living in Tucson, Clark said he expects to see even more support for the show generated as it gets up and rolling.
"Rhett Butler," associate producer of "The G-Word," said he is looking to the show as a major career change.
For now, he said he is concentrating his efforts toward some of the issues that he feels the gay community has gotten away from in recent years Ä specifically political issues and HIV/AIDS awareness.
"It's [AIDS] a big concern," he said. "It's still out there and many people have forgotten about it."
Larry Moore, also known as Lucinda Holliday, the newly-crowned Miss Gay Tucson, is a professional female impersonator who turned out to see the premiere of "The G-Word."
As an activist in the gay community, Moore said he is happy to see that issues in the gay community are being openly addressed by the public-access cable channel.
Many of the issues that the gay community deals with every day, Moore explained, are often dismissed by the straight community as "nothing serious" when in fact there are racial, political, gender and health issues that are very real in the lives of gay community members.
"I would assume that 90 percent of us stress (out) on being human rather than on being gay," Moore said. "But people don't look at the fact that you're human, you bleed and you have feelings."
Moore said though Tucson is slowly becoming more open, the main goal of the local gay community is to break down the walls of prejudice that he feels still exist.
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