However I look at them, Boys’ Love (BL) and Girls’ Love (GL) dramas matter. Because they deal with same-sex relationships, they belong under the LGBTQIA umbrella. Viki has these two genre classifications.
The below is written from the perspective of a gay male. From speaking to lesbian friends and watching “coming out” clips on YouTube, though, my experiences seem to be paralleled by some gay females.
When I was a 12/13-year-old boy, the thought appeared in my head one day that I found guys attractive. It just happened. Even now I remember that moment vividly. That set me on a journey of trying to understand myself. Firstly, I went to the bible. In there I discovered that I was an “abomination.” That worried me greatly. The information, however, led me to reflect on why I was made if I was made so wrongly. As a boy on the cusp of his teenage years, I was ill-equipped to handle the heaviness of being a homosexual so I tried not to think about it too much.
After reading the bible, I knew that I couldn’t talk to anyone about my confusions. I was aware that the minute I did, people would look at me strangely and I was worried about what might happen. So I kept quiet. I was all by myself inside my head and struggling. (As it turned out, it would be 20–30 years before I learnt to like myself. Fortunately, I didn’t know that then.)
Had BLs been around in my formative teenage years, I would have had role models to show me how to be a productive and successful gay man. The shows would have also helped me realise that it’s OK to be gay. Even now, a number of decades later, I feel comforted when I watch BLs and see the level of acceptance that gay and trans folk enjoy. I know they’re dramas and that they don’t necessarily reflect real-life, but the fact that they are available worldwide on streaming services such as Viki and Netflix authenticates that being gay is not such a bad thing. This is reinforced by the positivity that radiates from so many BLs. Such acceptance and positivity soothe the often-damaged psyche of LGBTQ+ people who watch these shows.
I have no doubt at all that today’s LGBTQ+ young people—and equally important, their families—will be so much better off because BLs/GLs have been a major step forward when it comes to appreciating and understanding the diversity of gender identity.
What I like about well-planned BLs/GLs is that they provide gay people with positive and useful strategies for navigating life and for affirming homosexuality. These strategies include things like: [a] coming out to family and friends; [b] sexual health; [c] how to express a romantic interest in someone without causing offence; [d] how to cope with rejection; [e] how to deal with those who hate gays and trans people; [f] how to be romantic.
For me, personally, had BLs been around in my time, I would have asked mum and dad to sit down with me and watch SOTUS, Gaya Sa Pelikula, Gameboys or Tonhon Chonlatee—or something similar—so that they could get some insight into what it means to be gay and how to be the parents of a gay son. There are many things in BLs that help gay teenage guys and their families settle into accepting themselves and one another.
I would seriously love to hear other opinions on BLs and GLs.
Thank you for reading