Over the last several weeks, ABC's "Primetime: What Would You Do?" has been exploring themes of discrimination that LGBT Americans face every day.
In this episode, two actors play gay soldiers who are also a couple, reuniting in a New Jersey diner after a long deployment. A third actor plays a diner patron upset with their public display of affection.
(...and just a quick note - although the actor playing one of the soldiers says "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' has been repealed," it hasn't. The bill passed last year by Congress and signed into law by President Obama merely ALLOWS for the repeal to move forward. As of right now, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is still the law.)
In another recent episode, a young actor (who was himself raised by two moms) plays a son who won't accept his father coming out to him.
The takeaway from these segments isn't just the reaction of the men and women who are witnessing these acts, and it isn't even in empowering onlookers to stand up for equality and acceptance. ABC is educating its audience about the very painful - and very real - discrimination that LGBT Americans face every day.
But while most viewers of this show probably won't have any idea what it's like to come out as gay to their own children, or to reunite with a loved one after a long tour of duty in the military, they will have faced similar enough circumstances. Everyone's been separated from their spouse or partner, family or friends at some point, and knows what it feels like to see them again. Everyone's had to admit something to someone that they knew might not be received warmly, but that was the truth.
The difficulties that LGBT people face can seem unique and unrelatable to some, but segments like these show the American people that they're not. We would love to see "What Would You Do" continue to highlight the discrimination that gay and lesbian people face. We also hope the show will produce a segment that focuses on some of the discrimination that transgender Americans face, and similarly empowers their neighbors to stand up for tolerance and equality.