Representation of LGBTQ+ in Hollywood
January 27, 2017
Filed under Features
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By Micahrae Osteria
As we enter the new year of 2017 with open arms and cheerful smiles, we must take a look back on 2016 and remind ourselves of one of the biggest highlights of the past year — the incredible increase of LGBTQ+ representation in media compared to the previous years. LGBTQ+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and others. It refers to a population of people united by having gender identities or sexual orientations that differ from the heterosexual and cisgender majority.
According to the official GLAAD’s (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) website, “Of the 895 series regular characters expected to appear on broadcast scripted primetime programming in the coming year, 43 (4.8 percent) were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer. This is the highest percentage of LGBTQ series regulars GLAAD has ever found. There were an additional 28 recurring LGBTQ characters” (glaad.org). More characters came out and were represented in modern media during 2016, and it’s time that we reflect on these LGBTQ+ characters and couples as we enter 2017.
There are more characters of LGBTQ+ background represented in television shows than of any other given media outlet. One of the more popular shows nowadays, Supergirl, is one of many T.V. shows that have joined in on lesbian characters, by having Supergirl’s sister, Alex Danvers, who had struggles with her feelings and her sexuality, come out as a lesbian. Jamal Lyon, from Empire, is also a great LGBTQ+ character portrayal in media, as he identifies as gay and proves to his father that being gay should have no effect on whether he can run their family business. In Legends of Tomorrow, Sara Lance, or others may know her as the White Canary, is an amazing representation of an openly bisexual character shown in a positive light.
LGBTQ+ couples have also been making huge appearances in media, including on shows being aired on T.V. and shows that can be watched on Hulu or Netflix. In the televisions shows arena, Shadowhunters, based on the book The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, the immense chemistry between characters Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood are undeniably there and are hard to ignore. The well-liked, but short-lived relationship between Stella Carlin and Piper Chapman was also a representation of lesbian couples within Orange is the New Black, which gained attention from many viewers along with other couples being represented within the show as well. Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder is a bisexual woman who has an on and off relationship with Eve Rothlow, and their given relationship was one of the reasons why some viewers continued to watch the show.
“I think it’s good that we’re getting out of the mindset of it [the LGBTQ+ community] being wrong, and moving forward to accepting people for who they are,” said Junior JoJo Alex Ganan-Blue.
The representation of LGBTQ+ characters and couples isn’t just limited to T.V. shows. There are also different media outlets where the LGBTQ+ community is very distinct and apparent. One of Cartoon Network’s better-loved shows, Steven Universe, may have released their pilot episode in 2013, but it was 2016 when the backgrounds of many of the characters were explored. One that may have stood out the most was the relationship between Ruby and Sapphire, who together form Garnet, made from the bond between Ruby and Sapphire. According to the Huffington Post, “This week, co-executive producer Ian Jones-Quarterly confirmed via Twitter that the pair is, in fact, a lesbian couple” (huffingtonpost.com). This doesn’t stop at only cartoons though, as an anime that came out in October of 2016 from Japan, called Yuri on Ice, has their main characters Yuuri Katsuki and Viktor Nikiforov showcase a healthy, relatable gay love story as Viktor coaches and trains Yuuri in ice skating for a Grand Prix, an ice skating competition.
“I agree that in social media, people are more open to the idea of LGBTQ+ existing itself, and accepting it,” said Sophomore Rhyanne Apostol. “I feel like more people are more accepting now and they won’t just stay quiet about people getting bullied.” Now, let’s see what 2017 has to hold.