My daughter is on her high school’s improv team. The way improv works in the high schools around here is that there is a league and the teams on the league have games where one school competes against the other – sort of like a sport. There are known games with known rules. For example, there is a game called ‘Buy Me A Coke’ where the improv team has to build a scene and sometime during that scene one of the players must order a Coke. The way they pick a scene is to ask the audience for a place and for some roles. Only student members of the audience participate in yelling out possible scenes and roles (the adults understand that they are only there to clap and cheer for their school’s team). So, for example, the MC will ask the audience to ‘give me a place and make it non-geographical’. A good response might be ‘DisneyWorld’. Then the MC asks for a role.
On Friday night every single time the MC asked for a role several members of the audience would yell “Lesbian! Lesbian!”. I know my daughter really enjoys doing a good lesbian themed scene with her friends although I don’t know why since she is definitely straight. Perhaps it is just another way of being edgy. Anyhow, When I went to high school in the 70s no one would have yelled ‘Lesbian’! Lesbians were not seen, not heard, not considered. If they had a name that name was ‘butch dyke’ and it was not entertaining. Lesbian is okay now – lesbian is hot. Lesbian is Melissa Ethridge, Ellen DeGeneres, Cynthia Nixon.
On the other hand I have never heard a kid yell “Gay guy!” when asked for a role at an improv game. Adolescent boys are still largely homophobic and my guess is that they will stay that way until a really great football player comes out of the closet. Not sure what that would mean for the age old butt patting routine so popular on the gridiron but it might make being gay go from ‘not’ to ‘hot’. Time will tell.