Media has a tendency to ignore the LGBTQIA+ community. We all know it.
Although we are slowly appearing more on the big screen, many times the representation is not accurate.
Misrepresentation drives ignorance, mocking LGBTQIA+ characters and reinforcing harmful stereotypes. Accurate representation on screen normalizes our existence. It is important that we see ourselves represented. It validates our experiences and affirms our existence. It lets us know that we are not alone in the world.
The portrayal of harmful stereotypes drives discrimination against us, having a negative impact on our mental and physical health. We are tokenized, playing background roles in the plot only to be killed off later. Why are we always the ones who have to die? Why don’t they give us personalities and thoughts of our own, instead of writing us as walking stereotypes? Since 2015, over 109 lesbian and bisexual characters were killed off on television shows. For example, Lexa was a character on the popular series The 100, which impacted the LGBTQIA+ community. She was tragically murdered after finally sleeping with her love interest, Clarke, and her death was not even justifiable. It’s easy for the media to claim diversity, but that doesn’t mean they are truly inclusive.
The media lures us, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, with the hope of being represented, only to disappoint us. They give us expectations only to destroy them in the end. If we don’t see ourselves represented, we think we don’t belong in society and we live with this idea our whole lives. We are raised under the mindset that we are less important and don’t deserve anything.
Diversity and intersectionality must be taken into account in representation. Why is it that the thin white cisgender gay male is always on screen? Why is it that the rest of the community is never seen on screen, is sexualized or not taken seriously? We’ve seen too many cancellations of TV shows with queer female characters, such as First Kill, Teenage Bounty Hunters, Everything Sucks, One Day at A Time, I Am Not Okay With This, Gentefied, Trinkets, Atypical, GLOW, Dead to Me, Batwoman, Legend of Tomorrow, Supergirl, Legacies, Charmed, 4400, and Roswell, New Mexico and more.
Representation does not have a one-size-fits-all approach. We are all different. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. We have to recognize the different struggles, as everyone is affected differently. A white gay man does not experience the same level of oppression as a black lesbian woman or someone who is an aro-ace trans person.
We need more diverse LGBTQIA+ stories. We already have enough movies, books and series that show the struggles we face on a daily basis. We need happy stories with happy endings, we deserve it too.
We deserve accurate representation, and hopefully we will start getting it.