Pam Grier on How 'The L Word' Changed the World INTERVIEW
Like we’re going to have in California.
Hey, it should be all across the country. It should be in college. Some families and cultures can't comprehend… junior high school people can't communicate with their families and they're committing suicide and have other issues. It is so unnecessary. If they can have a course on slavery, the Holocaust, Native-Americans and how this was the first nation to suffer a holocaust when sailors and voyagers came to this country and conquered a people already existing — if they can have all of these classes and courses on that, finally catching up, why can't they have a gay studies class? And should be an option, of course, because of religious background with people and their cultures but it should be there. I bet they would be very successful. I know they have the sex courses in junior high which already makes people nuts: “I don't want someone telling my son, where his genitals are. I want to do it.” Well when are you? We should have courses in junior high school, high school, and in college; obviously in college its a different level of study and investigation and political and social discourse, so it should be. Like I said small steps, little steps, small acts.
Overall, if you hit them over the head, if you pontificate and you scream at them, they back away, and they fear it. So you have to do it, it's not on the sly; it's just in a very more subtle gentile way. Because the courses for junior high would be different than high school, and of course the courses from high school would be different than college.
That's sort of the thing that television allows you to do as well, to bring ideas to people in a more subtle way.
Absolutely, and I think not only is it through television, but now you have junior and high school students having clubs and organization to support themselves and their families. And I think that is really, really important.
I know you got a great deal of feedback from viewers during your time on The L Word. Was there a common thread that stood out to you?
Well, the common thread was from a certain community, the African-American community, asking, “Why would I want to be in a show about lesbians?” And I said, “Oh, well it’s a community and it’s well written, it’s just about people.” And they would be like, “Aren't you afraid people are going to think you are a lesbian?” And I am like, “Is that fear? I should be afraid that people might think I'm a lesbian? You should really ask yourself, why would I be afraid? Who do I have to fear?” Its not like you can put on a shirt and you would suddenly be a lesbian. But I said, “I need to know about other people, other communities, other cultures. If I had a gay child, I would want to help them, guide them, and I’d want them to be the best person they could be because life isn't going to be as easy. It could be, I don't know, we'll have to navigate. And I have friends who are gay; I have to know how they feel. They're just people. It's you guys, who are the fear mongers, the ones who create this distinction. Everyone else is comfortable.”
It’s amazing how race affected how people reacted to the show.
But that was a question from the black community: why and was I afraid? There were some black actresses who had signed on to do the show and had a problem playing a love interest to some of the cast members. So they backed out because they were afraid of ridicule by their peers or family and how they felt uncomfortable kissing another human being.
It’s amazing how some actresses get hung up on the kissing scenes.
I think I kiss my dogs a whole lot more on the lips then I think I do [anyone else] and they have tongue-kissed me. My beagle has whipped his tongue out on occasion. [Laughs] And it’s just as warm and human as anybody else’s. So I'm like what's the big deal? I never got a disease where I started growing fur over night, or howling at the moon.
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