Who doesn’t remember The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? With its premier appearance in 1993 and its original cast, including the character Billy as the blue power ranger, it was the new sensation every little boy and girl was watching and talking about. Growing up as an LGBTQ member, one can face several of obstacles and problems in life. Television was an escape for many, shows like The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers gave us a new world to explore and fuel for our imaginations. One thing many of us never took the time to notice, either because we were too young to notice or even care, was the story behind the actors on the show. David Yost’s, the original blue ranger called Billy Cranston, career path for example, was not an easy one. As a member of the gay community, David faced a lot of unnecessary ridicule both on and off The Might Morphin Power Ranger set. This kind of bullying has been known to affect its victims physically and emotionally throughout years. In his interview at the Anime Festival at Orlando in 2010, he discussed behind the scenes of the show, his cast members and why he ultimately left the show.
David explains why he left the show and how one day he basically walked off the set during lunch because he was called a “faggot” one too many times. Creators, producers, writers and even directors all partook in this scrutinizing behavior. With no one to help him out and offer support against his ever-growing aches possibly leading to suicide, he felt like he had no other option but to leave the show. These types of hate crimes have been known to occur through out time against LGBTQ members. With the show trying to teach good morals towards its viewers, it was somewhat hypocritical for those associated with the hate crimes to be trying and push ideas of right vs. wrong to others. David explains how he was told he was not worthy of where he was in his career since he was gay; he was told there was no such thing as a gay actor or superhero. This type of compulsory heterosexuality where they say that superheroes are only straight and as a result it ends up with someone who is gay being harassed in the work place, can be tied into Adrienne Rich’s article “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian existence”. Rich explains how “women have learned to accept male violation of our physic and physical boundaries as a price of survival” (Rich 187) since the workplace is a place where women are subordinated. The same can be said for David, not fitting into the heterosexual social stratosphere, has led the end of his career in the show as well as to a point in his life where he simply just hated himself.
This type of thinking where compulsory heterosexuality steps in can be tied to how people were raised and taught. David was experiencing a type of bullying. He explains how he’s been spit on, had food thrown at him and even had his life threaten for whom he was. Having been at his lowest point after a nervous breakdown, David was able to reclaim himself and give an example of how things can turn around. One has to step back and think how this form of bullying can be stopped. I believe we have to start at the source, when everyone is young. With David facing issues that are similar to issues younger teens face while in school, one can say that there is a connection. Implementing new forms of anti-bullying procedures to schools can very well help this cause and help put a stop to gay bashing and LGBTQ discrimination. Since it has been found that “one third of teens report that students are harassed due to perceived or actual sexual orientation” (Stein 32) it is apparent that something has to be done while individuals are still young and developing. Nan Stein develops some steps that can be taken to avoid such threats, such as training all the staff at schools, designating a variety of ombudspeople, and involving parents. Developing such precautionary steps can help set forth a new and safe future for individuals. This way we can all have that power ranger we all decide to look up to.
Rich, Adrienne. "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" from Professions of Desire: Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature. ed. George Haggerty and Bonnie Zimmermann. New York: Modern Language Association, 1995
Stein, Nan. “Bullying, Harassment and Violence Among Students” Radical Teacher 2007.