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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 02
Shameless Gay teen the anti-Kurt
Arts & Entertainment
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Shameless Gay teen the anti-Kurt

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Last week I told our readers about the slew of new Gay teen characters debuting on network and cable television shows and for me, one Ian Gallagher stands out as a great example of just how Gay-inclusive TV has become.

Cameron Monaghan, 17, plays Gay teen Ian Gallagher on the new Showtime series Shameless. Monaghan's character is no Kurt Hummel of Glee. In fact, some would say - and Monaghan does - Ian is the anti-Kurt. Gone is the squeaky-clean 'I just want to be accepted' Gay teen and enter Ian, a pot-smoking, porn-obsessed Gay teen that occasionally screws his married Muslim boss.

Despite some viewers' reservations about the seedy character, let's be honest here: Gays are not one-dimensional, especially Gay teens. I think the introduction of Ian's character shows a positive trend in TV's acceptance of Gay characters. They are popping up everywhere, and most importantly, they are being portrayed in a realistic way.

'He's the anti-stereotype,' Monaghan says. 'He never does anything that's stereotypically perceived as 'Gay.' He's tough, he's street-smart, and he's pretty much unlike any Gay teenager on television right now.'

Shameless, a show about a lower-income family - including William H. Macy as the alcoholic father and Emmy Rossum as the smart, slutty sister - is raising eyebrows for its incendiary gist.

Still, Monaghan says as an actor, he has no qualms about taking on such an in-your-face role.

'I'm always happy to support the Gay community,' he said. 'Ian's a really fantastic part. A non-stereotypical part. And I think a lot of teens - and a lot of Gay teens, especially - will really relate to the role.'

Shameless premiered January 9 on Showtime.

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