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lgbtq representation

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We’ve come so far with LGBTQ representation, but we have far more work to do

There’s still room for change.

LGBTQ representation. I have a two pronged way of thinking about this subject. On one hand it’s just the objective truth that Hollywood has come a long way when it comes to the onscreen representation of LGBTQ people. I mean thirty years ago we saw virtually zero LGBTQ people in film and television. It was extremely rare and the very few times we saw it it was very much a hint or an afterthought. So, I’m extremely happy that now we do see gay and lesbian characters and sometimes trans characters.

And then there’s the other way to view this, which is just acknowledging that there isn’t enough and we need to get to a place where LGBTQ representation is simply natural. I myself am a transgender woman and honestly all I want is for people like myself to be able to have an acting career on the level of a non LGBTQ actor. At the end of the day it’s about fairness and opportunity.

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We've come so far with LGBTQ representation, but we have far more work to do

Something that I’ve noticed over the years and have had an issue with is the idea that “LGBTQ” is its own genre of film or TV. While I absolutely love films such as To Wong Foo, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, The Birdcage, and more; I feel that thinking of “LGBTQ” as a specific genre is very limiting. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender actors shouldn’t be limited to only doing projects specifically about the LGBTQ community. Yes we need stories about coming out and what it’s like to be LGBTQ but at the same time we as a community deserve opportunities and projects about more than that. I want actors like Laverne Cox, Elliot Page, and others to have the world open to them.

We've come so far with LGBTQ representation, but we have far more work to do

I want us to get to a place where the parents in a family film are two men or two women and we don’t bat an eye – it’s simply normal. Similarly, I want transgender men and women to be able to play any role. A transgender person’s character shouldn’t be limited to just being trans. We must break the limitations. At the end of the day, the real goal is true equality and for LGBTQ people to be able have a fair shot in the industry.

Something else we must remember when discussing this is that we have to stop focusing on the bigots. I’m sick of hearing “oh well, that won’t go over well” when talking about something as simple as featuring a gay romance or gay parents. The people who won’t go see something on the basis of that are not the people we need to be prioritizing. Bigots and narrow minded individuals need to be cut out of the dialogue. Representation shouldn’t be shot down because of a minority of unkind people who are prejudiced. If we don’t include people because of the sour opinions of some then we’ll never get anywhere.

And I specifically mentioned family films because we have to dispel this horribly offensive idea that LGBTQ people are not “family friendly”. The right wing and the forces of prejudice have weaponized “family values” for decades and that’s really rearing it’s ugly head once again. They should simply call it exactly what it is, “bigoted family values”.

There’s nothing good or righteous or pure about being exclusionary to the LGBTQ community. When I start seeing LGBTQ characters in family oriented and animated films, then I’ll know that we have really reached a great place.

It’s all up to us to keep on pressing the studios and those who make these calls. Big studios need to know that we as audiences do not want to see the LGBTQ community treated as second class. The real questions at the center of all of this are: Is same sex romance equal in value to opposite sex romance? Are same sex parents equal in value to opposite sex parents? Are transgender people equal in value to cisgender individuals? The answer to all these questions is of course a resounding yes. All other questions are irrelevant when discussing this because if we as LGBTQ people matter then we deserve to be represented.

It’s really as simple as that, or at least it is to me.

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