Real World is a long running series on MTV in which seven young adults who don’t know each other are placed together in a house and video-taped 24 hours per day. The more dramatic moments are edited into a one-hour broadcast. MTV tries to match people who have differing backgrounds to heighten the drama and have a formula that generally includes at least one gay person.
This season the gay guy is Davis, a Southern Baptist frat boy from Marietta, GA who brings a strong sense of faith with him to Denver to live with strangers. In fact, the first person he meets is Steven with whom he discusses their shared beliefs in their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Davis and Steven share a room and there is drama later in the episode when Davis comes out to the roommates and Steven isn’t happy about it. Incidentally, the other six all claim to be supportive; the southern belle of the group whines obsessively when she thinks there isn’t going to be a gay roommate. Previews suggest that Davis’ sexual orientation will continue to be significant in the interplay of the roommates.
The Advocate has an interview with Davis
I’m from a really strong Baptist family. My grandfather is a pastor. My dad and my mom met as youth group leaders. And my parents are both Sunday school teachers on the weekends. I used to work at a Christian bookstore in high school, as well as I went on choir tours and mission tours for spring break.
When he came out a year ago at his small Baptist college in Florida he was warmly accepted by his classmates, fraternity brothers, and friends back home.
And I got really great feedback from my Christian friends. The next thing you know, it was like, Wow, my Christian friends aren’t really responding the same way I thought they would. They were like, “I love you, Davis. This is an issue I’m starting to change my mind about, and maybe I don’t think that it’s a choice. Maybe I don’t think it’s condemnable to hell”.
But his mother has not been so accepting of Davis’s orientation.
In the first episode Davis tells us that when he first told his mother that he thought he was gay as an early teenager, her response was to send him to Christian counseling. After years of ex-gay therapy, Davis felt the need to become sexually involved with women in College. But he never found women to be attractive.
When he finally decided to come out, he became reacquainted with a boy he knew from high school and it is this first boyfriend that he dates during he season and (apparently) is still dating.
I will watch this season with interest to see if Davis further discusses his ex-gay counseling and to see if yet again the Real World’s token gay guy is far less promiscuous than his hyper-sexualized heterosexual roommates.
An interview with the student paper of Howard University suggests that Steven’s perspective grows and changes from his exposure to Davis.
Nichols is a conservative black male who was raised in a Baptist household, and the show previews portray a highly opinionated Nichols with specific views regarding homosexual Christians.
“A lot of my views have changed, and I think I’ve grown as a person. And if anything, I’m a little bit more accepting now. Actually, I’m a whole lot more accepting now of certain things that I wasn’t when I first got in there,” he said.