Revisiting old Friends from the Closet


Chandler finally meets the brunt of his transphobic jokes: his dad.

I loved Friends when it came out in the ’90s. Youthful and edgy, my white Friends in nearby NYC explored taboos that were near and dear to my closeted LGBT heart.

This was the ’90s at the very beginning of my gender journey before the word transgender was said in public. Even so, I couldn’t deny the overpowering urge to make occasional forays ‘cross-dressed. So I embraced Monica and Jennifer’s comically chagrined responses to male cast members transphobia and homophobia.

The one with Chandler’s Dad was a breakthrough. Chandler with the prompting of Monica invites his transgender father to their wedding.

The series, back then, seemed to present a sane, albeit cautionary tale to me as to the consequences of venturing further from the closet. Did Friends delay my self-realization? I don’t know, but I do know that Friends didn’t enable it.

Non, Friends n’est pas une série homophobe ou sexiste – Première

And maybe that is why you see conservatives defend it saying it was ‘timely’ hoping to turn back the clock.

I was one of the people binge-watching adding my valuable lifeline to the 32 billion minutes viewed on NetFlix.

So it’s pretty well established that Friends presents an outdated even toxic representation, by current standards, of sex and gender expression. A breakthrough moment for myself was when I consciously decided against amicably internalizing and rationalizing the aforementioned phobias. But what really disturbed me was that there were so few non-white characters on the show.

Leaving those old Friends behind will be easy now that it’s departing Netflix. But digging deeper, what have I learned?


There. I grew a little.

I do not think revisiting old Friends is a valuable experience. Look, this snowbird loves me some Friends, it’s a comfortable link to my Yankee roots. But I refuse to allow the overt and supraliminal messaging of the show to impede my metamorphosis in any way.

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Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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