LGBTQ Media Representation

When we were talking about the lack of LGBTQ representation in TV and media, it made me think about all of the shows I used to watch as a kid, because I don’t watch all that much TV these days.  Every show I watched, I cannot remember one character AT ALL who was LGBTQ.  Often times, characters who acted outside of their gender norms were mocked, or purposely depicted as weird.  I feel like this was an attempt by major media outlets to culturally condition the youth to dislike or discourage “non-normative” behavior.  Normative, of course, by their definition, being a heterosexual white person.

On Netflix, there’s this show I’ve watched called Schitt’s Creek (HIGHLY recommend) and one of the main characters, who also happens to be a fan favorite is pansexual.  The show, while very funny, does have its important moments where valuable lessons are taught, and sort of makes me wonder what the problem/hold up is for mainstream US television to start having more representation from that community.  The pushback would come from evangelicals, I imagine, and to that I say, who cares what sort of sexual preferences are implied by a character in a show if the show is good regardless?  What could possibly be the criticism in this scenario besides simple discrimination and hatred?

I’m glad that there are more platforms for media in today’s day and age though, because it allows for competition and representation for communities that wouldn’t be otherwise.  I believe this pressures the mainstream to join us here in the 21st century and decide that it’s time to stop being so exclusive to anyone whom falls outside of the “norm”.

 

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8 thoughts on “LGBTQ Media Representation

  1. I completely agree with your point of view. I feel like the fact that LGBTQ people are lacking in TV and movies makes it harder for people to be informed about the community. It also makes it harder to make it the norm, as some people are very stuck in their ways. The more the LGBTQ community is represented in mass media, the more informed and accepting future generations will be because they will grow up with them being equally as represented.

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  2. Hello,

    Your post made me think about not just the shows I watched growing up or the shows that I watch as a young adult, but of the cartoons/shows targeted towards children. While I can say from the shows I watch there is more inclusion of people of the LGBT community and of those who fit outside of the norm, I question if that is true for shows also targeted towards adolescents. I think it is important that at a young age humans are taught to value and respect individuals who are different from themselves. If it’s jus more adult shows that have become more inclusive there will be a large learning gap that cannot be filled until people are older. I also think it is important as you said, that not only are LGBT members included, but they are included in a positive way and not ridiculed for their identities.

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    1. Children’s shows in particular do seem to really be lacking any LGBT representation at all, which is especially frustrating because it leads to many LGBT kids feeling unnecessarily confused and ashamed of their identities because they haven’t seen anyone like them before. In addition, it reinforces the normative narrative with regard to sex and gender from a young age, so kids learn to fear and dislike LGBT people because they’re unfamiliar and different. I actually experienced something related this weekend, when I was talking to my middle sister about a gay character in a video game and my youngest sister commented on how that was “weird,” because she’s still too young to have seen any media with LGBT representation in it. Unfortunately, most kids’ channels are owned by a few major networks, and parents tend to be overprotective about which shows their kids watch, so even if kids’ shows with LGBT characters in them do eventually end up being created, they’re unlikely to make it onto the major networks or past individual parental screening.

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  3. I have not seen the show you recommend but your post made me think back to my childhood. I too cannot think of many if any shows that i watched as a kid that had any type of LGBTQ+ representation. Fast forward to the shows I watch now i can hardly think of a show that does not have an LGTBQ+ character. I also realized that a lot of the shows that have LGBTQ+ characters are on Netflix. I didn’t make the connection between representation and main stream media until our discussion in class.

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  4. I completely agree with you. I never fully realized how the shows 20+ years ago “strategically” made all the characters “the norm”. Especially the shows made for the younger generation they are lacking in representing the LGBTQ community. Now almost every show has at least one person represented from the community, even the shows made for the younger generation. I say even the younger generation because personally I noticed in a lot of children shows they tend to stray away from covering the gender/sexuality topics. It’s good that the children tv shows are finally being inclusive because personally I think that people need to be taught at a young age that everyone isn’t going to be straight, cisgender man or woman….

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  5. I think in our heteronormative culture, underrepresentation is a huge issue. Underrepresentation also supports heteronormativity in that it makes anything thats not hetero into this separate category and creates this sense of abnormality when it comes to other sexualities. For all children, not just LGBTQIA+ kids this is an issue. I think sexuality is super fluid, so its important for all kids to be exposed to all different types of sexualities so that if they ever want to experience something they don’t feel marginalized, but they also don’t feel trapped into a specific identity or label.

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  6. The amount of representation for minorities on TV now is pretty remarkable. It’s gotten to the point where entire TV shows on major television stations will be based around one race (which don’t get me wrong, can be problematic) but it shows how society is changing to accept all. More specifically, LGBT representation is great especially now with RuPaul’s Drag Race moving onto VH1. The mainstream representation of LGBT people is fantastic. In terms of representation too, I appreciate now how there is a call to producers to cast people who fit the roles they are trying to fill. There are gay actors that shows need to fill those specific parts. There’s still work to be done to promote and make representation consistent. But the steps that are being taken so far are better than what they had been for the television I was consuming while growing up. It’s nice to see Asian people on TV now, because at one point in my life I was looking to see if I could be an actor, but was shot down by the fact that I was not white. This is why representation matters for everyone, be it in race, sexual orientation or identity.

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  7. I so so so agree with you, I feel like since the LGBTQ community is lacking appearance in TV and movies, it makes it harder for people to be informed about the community. Television is often how people retain information, so if there were more viewings of the LGBTQ community, people who see it as a norm, rather than something strange. I find it odd how there are so many gay actors who often play the role of a straight male, such as Wentworth Miller (who plays Michael Scofield in Prison Break). It is also sad whenever a gay scene is played in a show or movie and it receives bad reviews, such as the short scene in Beauty And The Beast. This happens because society does not see it as a norm because the LGBTQ community does not get enough rep in films and movies!!

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