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So, let's talk about LGBTQ+ representation in media

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Technology' started by Feli, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. Feli

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    As someone who's making a fangame that will be filled with some LGBTQ+ characters (some friends have suggested creating a lesbian couple, a gay one, a non-binary person and a trans boy) for story and inclusion purposes. But then I wonder, how can you represent a LGBTQ+ in media in the right way?


    Meanwhile I know that a lot of people may disagree with me on this, I personally think that some huge mistake of media when showing LGBTQ+ characters is the fact that the only thing their characters are about is being LGBTQ+. Like, certain movies will showcase a gay boy, for example, and the story of how he discovers about it; but then the only trait you might know about him is the fact that he is gay. That’s mostly the reason that I love the movie The Way He Looks so much; because it shows how a gay boy may have a life, goals, dreams, characters traits besides the fact that he is in love with a man.


    However, in the other side, some people have always told me that since coming out is a ''bigger part of an LGBTQ+ person life'', it’s important to face this issue in media for others to understand this.


    So, wanting to know your opinions in the matter: How should a good LGBTQ+ character be represented? Is necessary to focus on the mater of their gender identity/sexual orientation, or this should just be a character trait among other traits? I’m glad to hear any opinions!
     
  2. Dreamsexul

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    Personally, I think LGBT+ characters should be treated exactly the same as heteronormative characters. Their sexuality is not really important, but their relationships are. As much as love is important for heteros, it should be equally (neither more nor less) important for homos and others.

    I also am desperate to see positive portrayals of 'plusses' in the media - happy, successful, satisfied NBs, aces and objectums. :slight_smile:

    Also, no need to think in heteronormative relationship boxes. Who needs Hetero marriage when you can have successful poly or QP relationships? :slight_smile:
     
    #2 Dreamsexul, Dec 14, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  3. Tritri

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    I agree that sexual orientation should be a minor topic in tv shows and such, unless it revolves around homophobia. This is why I don't like The Real O'Neils back when it was on. The whole show revolved around Kenny being gay.
     
  4. Feli

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    Actually, I agree with both of you! I don't like the idea that the entire character is just LGBT+ and nothing else; as they should be treated exactly the same as straight or cis characters. But showing their relationships with others or their feelings is the right way for me to show how that they're part of the community without being all about ''Hey, I'm LGBT+, and my main focus is to talk about how I am LGBT+''. It’s just… Ugh.

    PS: Just a very off topic question for Dreamsexul; what does the term 'plusses' stand for specifically? I've trying to look it up, but I don't find the meaning anywhere. Is it related to non-binary or queer people?
     
  5. Dreamsexul

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    @Feli I just mean the '+' part of LGBTQ+. - all the stuff after Q :slight_smile:
     
  6. Devil Dave

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    I think it kind of depends on the setting. If it's in the modern world which is similar to the sort of world that the audience is living in, then I think it's a good idea to touch on issues like homophobia and people struggling to come out of the closet, just so that the audience can relate to the character's story a little better, and see how the characters cope with the challenges they have to face, and also to show lgbt characters in a positive light.

    If it's in a fantasy or sci-fi universe that is a lot more far fetched from the real world we are living in, then I think gay issues should be treated very differently. Scientific terms like "homosexual" shouldn't exist and pop culture terms like "gay" shouldn't exist, because these sorts of words would take us out of the fantasy world and put us in the real world, which kind of defeats the object of watching a fantasy or sci-fi show that should be mostly about escapism. But the writers can be creative with the characters' sexualities, and maybe introduce unique cultures that have different attitudes towards people having same sex relationships or identifying as different genders.
     
  7. Dreamsexul

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    Another consideration is the bioPic genre - if we're dealing with historical real people and events LGBT stuff shouldn't be avoided or ignored if it was a big part of the person's life.
     
  8. LaurenSkye

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    If I may venture slightly off topic here, it seems to me there are far more lesbian/bi women on TV than gay/bi men.
     
  9. Chaosbi

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    In one of my RPG games I write a bisexual woman. Her sexuality is a part of her and it has a role in her story (date wise at least), but it's not the center of her character. I've concentrated on her schooling, her career, her mental health, and just everyday 22 year old stuff. Since the game is based in Texas and her father is a strict Texan (minus the religious aspect) I've hinted at the fact that her father never really liked her with other women, but is slowly coming to terms with it. Now that she just started a relationship with another woman I want to explore that aspect. But as a writer I wanted to concentrate on normal everyday things so she comes off as a normal person. I've referred to her coming out and I've referred to homophobia she's faced because those are both part of her story and has made her who she is today.

    I think in order to have a character you can relate to you need to have good and bad things happen that can be found in the real world, regardless of sexuality. But there are special things that lgbt characters face that shouldn't be over looked either because they are important to portray so it's more realistic.
     
  10. Feli

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    Kind of an off topic, but thank you! Sometimes I may be a little clumsy to understand :frowning2:
     
  11. Feli

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    Actually, I think that my sister (who’s a lesbian) offered me a good and curious explanation: Since the straight and cisgender culture think that it's normal for two women to treat each other with love, or even treat each other as ''girlfriends''. That’s the reason why, for example, the show Steven Universe could introduce a lesbian couple with Ruby and Sapphire or the love feelings from Pearl towards Rose Quartz; but many people (at least here in L.A.) tried to defend that they were just ''feelings of friendship between girls, it's a natural thing'' until the couple had a wedding.

    However, at the same time, some cultures like Japan has a preference towards male homosexuality than the others. I think that, even when LGBT+ men are less represented, there’s still a lack of representation for bisexuals, pansexuals, non-binary people, poly relationships… There’s still a lot to cover. And even if a show tries to do it, some people argue against it saying that ''it's unnatural to have so many LGBT+ people in a show'', lol. So, there's still a lot to do in LGBT+ representation, just as Dreamsexul said before.
     
  12. AutismCay

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    Of course, gay characters could end up like the black characters in movies. The guy who gets killed first?
     
  13. Loves books

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    I do think that LGBT+ characters should be well rounded. But it seems like the only way that happens is if an already established character comes out. That kind of situation actually annoys me when a previously straight character is suddenly gay. Not bisexual which would make most sense but 100% in the other direction. It works better if they have no previous dating history. I always wondered why the second Willow in Buffy fell for a girl she was referred as a lesbian or gay. It’s like her previous long term serious relationship with a male never existed. If she loved both genders she should of been bisexual.
     
  14. Dreamsexul

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    Totally agree!
     
  15. EleanorHunter

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    It might've already been said here, but I have a hard time with "representation" which feels just like throwing a bone to the community. Whether it's characters who aren't well thought out, characters who die quickly, characters who just get put into the background, or characters who only exist to feed into existing stereotypes. If the focus is pacifying the LGBT community and get their money, it's very obvious.

    A good example is how I can't stand most modern lesbian movies. Sure, it's a whole movie where the main focus is LGBT characters. But how many times have I seen the trope where it's an engaged woman who has a brief, fleeting romance with the hot lesbian (looking at you "Below Her Mouth")? Or how many times does one of them die for no other reason than lesbian madness/sorrow? It's so predictable, and nobody winds up happy.

    On the other side of things, I recommend shows like Wynonna Earp for its representation alone! Almost all of the supporting cast is LGBT, and they are open about it. They address difficulty coming out, realizing you're LGBT, dating in a small town when gay, and all sorts of stuff very openly. But they're all individuals, they have really strong characterizations, and they can't all be lumped together. Plus, being gay doesn't have time to be the main plot, there's literally demons on the loose. And there are definitely aspects of the show that suck (dialogue writing, anyone?), but I am so freaking desperate for positive representation that I can 100% look past them to see some cute ladies being happy and in love. Plus, the gay character gets a cute boyfriend as well!!

    So, it's hard to say what the best representation is. Obviously, it's just making people be people. I think right now we need more media with well-rounded and positive LGBT characters, just because we tend to play the villain/miserable ones a lot, and there needs to be a little variety. But I also don't think society right now is in a position where orientation or gender should never be talked about and just silently accepted, because that allows for people to pull the "It never says they're dating! They're good friends!" card. Make it clear, address it, and then continue with the story.

    TLDR; this is a topic I have a lot of opinions on and people should watch Wynonna Earp, g'night :sweat_smile:
     
  16. Tritri

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    Actually, I think the exact opposite opinion is more unpopular.
    I believe LGBT characters should be portrayed the same as the straight ones, just with same-sex partners and attractions instead. Their sexuality doesn't need to even be its own scene, and certainly not the only thing their character is about.
     
  17. aquacanis

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    I feel that characters in general aren't a realistic representation of what people are like irl let alone lgbt. These are jus for entertainment after all. I can't relate to any of it tbh. Although there are some very good fictional books and comics I like which have very interesting portrayals.
    But what i do like is non fiction. And there is some interesting people in history.
     
  18. Chierro

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    This is actually a situation I've thought about a lot (primarily due to my protagonist for my manuscript being like this), so I've got thoughts on this!

    I think in some situations it obviously makes sense for the character to be bi. Look at Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy for example. When she was introduced she was with a man. She even got married to a man. And then she experimented with a woman. She got a girlfriend. Slept with a male friend on a one night fling, though she did care about him. Got pregnant. Married her girlfriend. And she had arcs that focused on her bisexuality with how "yes, I loved him but that doesn't diminish me loving her" and xyz. This also happens with Miles on Degrassi.

    But...that's not always the case even in real life. Look at how many people, even on here, who were in committed relationships (sometimes even got married) to someone of the opposite-sex only to come out later as gay or lesbian. It's very possible to push down those feelings and make yourself care about someone and even love them but still eventually come out as gay or a lesbian. It's actually very common for people to date and care for and have sex with members of the opposite-sex while pushing away feelings, sometimes to play straight or even to trick themselves into believing they can be straight. Feelings are complicated and sometimes it takes a while to unravel figuring out that you can care deeply about someone of another gender than what you're attracted to while only being attracted to a specific gender.

    I do get the frustration, especially since there's a lack of good bisexual representation in media (primarily in TV and movies...I did a whole project on it), but I also feel like the kind of representation you're referring to with Willow is valid because it's something that does actually happen a lot in real life.