…complaints were that the movement had, for the past twenty years focused exclusively on the concerns of gays who were primarily male, decidedly white, and overwhelmingly middle class. Another concern was with the focus of the early gay liberation movement on assimilation, which sought kinship with the heterosexual mainstream on the basis of similarities…Queer Representation in the Media Full Link Here
Our Culture and our Media Go Hand in Hand
But is all representation good?
How can we audit LGBTQ+ representation for value?
Please consider these five questions when having conversations about LGBTQ+ media representation.
1) Is the character simply an example of ‘queerbaiting’?
2) Is the representation really anything new…or does it still reinforce a hierarchy of who we deem acceptable?
A white gay man recently tweeted that "we," the #LGBTQ community, have come a long way in 50 years. Agreed. But this is a better representation of what that looks like. Good Morning. pic.twitter.com/1sugpB8YwM— Dana (@DanaVivianWhite) May 3, 2019
Hollywood is still underrepresenting women, disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and those from ethnic minority backgrounds, both on screen and behind the camera, a major study on diversity has found.Hollywood still excludes women, ethnic minorities, LGBT and disabled people Read Full Article Here
3) Do we see any of the typical tropes being tackled or tacked on?
One of the many reasons One Day at a Time was so popular with queer audiences is that it sought to do more than amplify tropes about them. Isabelle Gomez discusses her character on the show, and why that character was pivotal in developing such a strong fan base:
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that on TV, and representation matters. I know it’s a hashtag and everybody says it so I feel like sometimes we gloss over the meaning of it, but there are young LGBTQ members who have never seen themselves represented on TV. And if they do see their relationships on TV, they’re extremely toxic or they’re sexualized and just for the purpose of somebody’s fantasy. So, to be able to take these two young people who are falling in love and are part of this community and don’t have to focus on that aspect, the sexuality of it, I think is so important. It humanizes them and shows they’re just like us, that love is love.” (Keep reading here).
4) Is the token more costly than creative?
If a show or film makes a big deal about being progressive it needs to deliver. To simply tick the box and include a ‘seat at the table’ for an LGBTQ character doesn’t really do very much to deliver anything to anyone.
Read more here on the way one recent blockbuster did just this.
5) Is the character there just to help the straight characters or is their own storyline given screen time?
So who are examples of representation we can turn to in 2019?
- Taylor from Billions (learn more here)
- Adena El-Amin from The Bold Type (read why here)
- Toine, Queen Sugar (learn more here)