Daniel Tosh Is Helping Straight Males Support Gay Rights; And They Don't Even Realize It

Daniel Tosh's "gay humor" is helping change the minds of many heterosexual male viewers, and they don't even realize it is happening.
June 22, 2011
by Josh Langdon, e-mail josh@GLUEamerica.org

Tosh.0 airs Tuesdays at 10 PM/EST on Comedy Central
Daniel Tosh is commonly referred to as the gayest straight(-ish?) guy on television because he frequently includes "gay" content on his hit Comedy Central show Tosh.0.  

For example, he nonchalantly had his male staff participate in a contest to see who would be the first to get an erection from watching gay porn (view video after the jump). He also did a Funny-or-Die video laying half-naked in bed next to Perez Hilton to promote his show (view video after the jump), let a gay man give him a massage with both of them completely in the nude (view after the jump, possibly NSFW), and ended one show with a clip of two guys making out (pictured right).

Tosh's show Tosh.0 also ranks as the #1 show on all of television on Tuesday nights among men aged 18-34. Thus, his inclusion of less-than-straight content is paving the path for a new, unique way to impact the gay rights movement and change the minds of many people who would otherwise be uninformed or ignorant. Humor has the power to shield the message from the viewer while still giving it to them.

In addition to the huge ratings his show receives, Tosh has 2.5 million followers on Twitter (@danieltosh), where he certainly doesn't shy away from gay rumors in his tweets. Here's an example (via @danieltosh):

when I reveal my summer wardrobe choice tomorrow night, it should put an end to the gay rumors once and for all.
Researchers at Georgia State University found that males report higher levels of homophobia than females. That straight males, especially those aged 18-30, are exposed to two gays making out on a couch is in itself beneficial to the gay rights movement because it helps get rid of the "shock" or "ick" factor that straight guys have when it comes to seeing two guys kiss.

Statistics show that males are generally less supportive of the so-called "homosexual" lifestyle. In 2006, the year the Democrats won back Congress, 55% of women aged 18-49 supported "marriages between homosexuals" and 67% of males aged 18-49 opposed "marriages between homosexuals" (view full Gallup results here). In November 2010, a month before Don't Ask, Don't Tell was legislatively repealed, only 21% of females opposed repeal while 32% of males opposed repeal (view full Pew results here).

Research has shown that people are homophobic mainly because they have strong religious convictions, have little homosexual experiences or feelings, and/or have little or no contact with gay and lesbian people. Men also display more heteronormative attitudes, which shuns gay and lesbian people as "less than" because they perceive the homosexual lifestyle as deviant or unnatural. 

Tosh certainly doesn't shy away from homoeroticism on his hit Comedy Central show.
Some men display heteronormative behavior because it makes them feel more heterosexual. A recent study divided self-identified heterosexual men into two groups based on how comfortable and anxious they are around gay men (homophobia) and measured their sexual arousal to various types of porn. The homophobic heterosexual men displayed a more heightened penis arousal to gay male sex videos than the heterosexual men who were less homophobic, even though they denied any homosexual feelings. Thus, they portrayed themselves as homophobic in an attempt to appear much more heterosexual. 

Unlike other males, however, Tosh has consistently embraced and sometimes even fueled gay rumors. In his 2003 Comedy Central Presents stand-up show, he said, "I'm a lousy piece of ass, and I should know- every man I have been with has told me so." If you type "Daniel Tosh" in Google's search bar, one of the first suggested terms is "Daniel Tosh gay" (see picture below).

Also, by not shying away from gay rumors, Tosh is helping his closeted gay viewers embrace their sexuality. A recent study by researchers at the University of Rochester found that people who come out in supportive communities get a mental health boost, showing less depression and higher self-esteem than people who stay in the closet. Tosh doesn't make "being gay" a thing to be ashamed of, and viewers likely feel more comfortable about their sexuality watching him than other comedians who take a much more hostile approach to "gay jokes" (See Related Post - Tracy Morgan Apologizes for Anti-Gay Rant).

Tosh and his team are also not afraid to tackle political topics with humor. When people first started questioning the sexuality of Judge Vaughn Walker, the federal judge assigned to California's Proposition 8 court case, the Tosh.0 blog commented on the rumors and spun the debate to focus on a flamboyant tie Judge Walker was photographed wearing.  Here's an excerpt

Personally, I think the tie is pretty gay, which means he might be biased towards things that are gay. But one of my coworkers here said it reminded her of Rush Limbaugh's ties, which would mean he's possibly biased towards things that are conservative.
See Related Post: Can a Gay Judge Preside over a Gay Marriage Court Case?

While some comedians distance themselves from homoeroticism or approach "gay jokes" in a less desirable manner, Daniel Tosh is able to use humor to break the barriers between the stereotypical, heteronormative males and the gay rights movement. He is helping many people figure out that at the end of the day- Gay? Straight? Who Cares. Are we really that different anyway?    

Tosh's Gay Porn Challenge

Tosh.0Tuesdays 10pm / 9c
Gay Porn Viagra Boner Challenge
Tosh.0 VideosDaniel ToshWeb Redemption

Tosh's Naked (Kinda Gay) Massage

Tosh.0 with Perez Hilton


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