Homonormative Narrative in The Kids Are Alright: Karly Morgan 2010’s Blog

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As my final blog for this class, I decided to bring it home with my new favorite issue to discuss: homonormative narratives.

To quote one of our interviews for class, I am, “seeking a homonormative narrative.” The film The Kids are All Right offers something that is pretty close.

Two mothers are raising a son and a daughter. They had their children, who are now in their teenage years, by using a sperm donor. They have discouraged their children from connecting with the donor, but being a film that needs a plot, they do it anyway.

At first, their biological father seems to be a nice guy, and even gets fairly involved with the family. Things quickly turn south, however, when one of the mothers has an affair with him. Her wife and children discover the affair, the donor is kicked out of their life, and the family copes with the issues of loyalty at hand. By the end of the film, there is reunion and love, and they drop their oldest daughter off to college.

I think this film has a homonormative narrative because other than the means of reproduction, the fact that the couple is lesbian has nothing to do with character or story development. They are written as deep, complex, believable characters with intricate personas that are independent from their sexuality. A problem that I find with lesbian characters is they are often either completely demonized or held up on a pedestal for praise. Examples include demonized lesbian characters killed off by the dead lesbian trope, or Clarke and Lexa being idolized as a couple in The 100. Honestly, neither is particularly good for the image of the community because it’s not realistic. This film, The Kids are All Right, portrayed all aspects of the lesbian characters. They had good qualities and flaws, heroic moments and screw-ups, just like everyone else. That’s why I think this film is as good an example I’ve found of a homonormative narrative.

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