Does the film minimize certain characters’ homosexuality? Why or why not?
In Six Degrees of Separation, homosexuality is exhibited in Trent, Paul and Rick. The characters Rick and Trent, both, engaged in sexual relationship with Paul as they fall into the mysterious, seductive, and forbidden qualities that he represents. However, in the film and the play itself the homosexuality is severely downplayed.
In the film the scene where Tess, finds Trent and they find out about Paul’s origins. Trent explains that Paul acquired the information from him in exchange for sexual favors. This fact is not acknowledged and it doesn’t take precedent over the fraud and Paul’s origin. This further displays how the upper class deals with controversial issues. They do not acknowledge, discuss, or take any side on the matter. Homosexuality in this case is minimalized in order to maintain the order within their community and show a semblance of acceptance by ignoring the gravity of the situation. Even after hearing the story about Trent and Paul, Tess’ first reaction is to question whether or not he wants to press charges over the monetary lost that Trent suffered through. Money takes precedent over feelings and emotions since money is the universal language anybody can sympathize and relate to.
Rick coming from a lower class background and a known Mormon is persuaded by Rick to “try new things”. Homosexuality represents the unknown and forbidden. After his first sexual experience with Paul he goes back home to confess what he has done to Elizabeth. Elizabeth doesn’t acknowledge the affair and simply focuses on the money that Rick has given to Paul. This fact shows how the upper and lower class mirror each other and down to the base of it all the same people.
Homosexuality being minimized should signal for the beginning of equality. However the play just further accentuates the homosexuality of the characters while displaying the worst in qualities of what our civilization has succumb to. The greed and ignorance from the characters goes to show that this problem transcends social class or sexual identity. The act of ignoring its existence not only minimalizes but belittles the characters importance.