Celebrating Spirit Day With a Look Back at Kurt on 'Glee'

Amy Keyishian

KurtWith Glee in Glee-peats this week, I don’t have a Glee-cap for you -- but couldn’t stand to be Glee-less. In fact, Glee is heavy on my mind this week, because it’s Spirit Day. Started on Facebook and picked up by everyone from MTV.com to Kim Kardashian, people are wearing purple in support of LGBT youths.
I’m wearing purple for Kurt, but also for a gay teen who’s very close to me who was recently attacked at his very liberal, very groovy Bay Area high school. If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere. I’m grateful to Kurt for being out on TV so that teens across the country can feel a connection – right there in their living rooms.

I take my toddler to a Rec Center class smack in the middle of The Castro, the gayest neighborhood in a city known for its rainbow tendencies (hello, Frisco!) Across the street from Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, I unfolded the double stroller and took my purple-clad kids out of the car, purple-clad myself, and got a huge smile from the much more fashionably purple-clad, fit-and-fabulous man walking down the sidewalk. It’s easy, in the purple bubble, to forget there are places where things aren’t so out and proud.
When Kurt turned up on Glee, I cringed a bit. The show is very campy and kitschy, but I feared he’d become a lame, two-dimensional stereotype. I mean, I love Jack from Will and Grace, but even Will found him a bit… nelly.
Last season found Kurt confronting some very real, oddly realistic situations even in the midst of the kitschy camp-fest that is Glee. He had a crush on Finn, so he orchestrated a romance and move-in between their single parents. Then, when Finn felt backed against a wall and pressured into sharing a room, he lashed out and used that word. It was a heartbreaking moment, and Burt, Kurt’s dad, came down on Finn -- hard. Yet all of us at home kind of felt like we understood both sides. That’s rare for any TV show, let alone one that’s supposed to be frothy and frivolous.
Then came this season’s major crisis -- Kurt’s dad’s near-death-experience. Did someone say frothy and frivolous? Kurt questioned his belief in God; in fact, he declared himself an atheist because he couldn’t “believe in someone who would make me this way, then allow his followers to tell me it’s a choice. Why would I choose something that makes people mock me every day?” (That's from memory, and it's probably not word-perfect. But it's burned into my brain because it just broke my damn heart.)
On the other hand, Kurt’s not without his faults; both Finn and Burt confront Finn about the fact that he was awfully aggressive with Finn -- in a way that would get a straight guy in trouble if he treated a girl that way. This is where I start to love Kurt. He’s not a saint. He’s not perfect. He’s in the middle of a real struggle.
The kid in my life shocked me, when Glee began, by having a terrible attitude toward Kurt. He mocked him for being so gay. You heard me right. But is it really a surprise that a real-life kid would be afraid to identify with someone so clearly on the outside? It was fear -- just fear. And he’s over it now. Kids aren’t perfect, no matter what their struggles are. They can be different, and that doesn’t make them saints. Kurt’s real, even with his funny hats and clutching-hands sweater.
I’m on Team Kurt, and the colors are purple and, um, I guess black, because that’s what goes with purple. Right, Kurt?
Did you wear purple today?

Image via Fox


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