LGBTQ+ representation has grown massively in the last ten years. There is no denying that in today’s’ western society we have come far in terms of agenting love that isn’t traditionally heteronormative. As wonderful as this is, the representation tends to focus on able bodied, cisgender white males. There is a stereotype for gay men that is yet to be challenged in mainstream media. Just like in any group of people, there is more than one type of person living within it which isn’t realised, in many cases, by 21st Century inhabitants.
Queer love shown on TV to bring ‘diversity’ to the shows is so likely to be between two impossibly good looking white men with ripped bodies, one of them playing a more campy, overdone effeminate ‘gay best friend’ character. The other tends to be a hyper masculine guy with intense muscles, showcasing the two extremes of gay stereotypes. If there is a show or film with a gay character in, they are rarely the main character or play a powerful role, like a CEO or any type of leader. If anything they are a b*tchy personal assistant with pursed lips and high cheekbones, drinking lattes in high fashion outfits. If there is a black gay character, he is once again the sassy gay best friend personality, playing to the stereotypes where, like before, he is in a position where he has no significant power or authority.
As a young queer teen myself, I was constantly looking for shows and films that could validate my feelings. At the time, the Netflix ‘LGBT section’ was somewhat limited and I found myself re watching the same films about white boys falling in love. To contradict myself however, films like Moonlight and the channel 4 series of Cucumber, Tofu and Banana have been big steps in achieving suitable representation that shows off real diversity within the LGBTQ+ body. There IS some representation out there for communities of minorities but work should be done to be more inclusive to the many types of people living within the queer world. It isn’t just ethnicity representation that should be recognised either. Disabled, transgender, bisexual, Muslim, intersexual and many more groups are failing to be represented as their respective communities and the queer folk within them.
The terms ‘no femmes, no Asians, no blacks’ is a phrase that comes up a lot. It is most likely to be found on a Grindr account, or any page looking for gay relationships/hook-ups. There is a line between preference and racism, in my opinion ‘no blacks, no Asians’ no favours the latter. Even as a young female, who is not yet able to join such popular sites, I have seen the term been tossed around far too casually. When you actually dissect the phrase what are they saying? They are eliminating entire races and types of people as if they are too good for them. As if they are not worthy of the likely average sex the likely average guy has to offer. To group whole races and assume they are all the same is outdated and seems reserved for conservative thinkers. Queer people can be mistook for liberals, a believable theory however not always so true. In the last US election, presidential elect Donald Trump boasted that he had LGBT supporters, who turned out to unsurprisingly be made up of a majority of white men. Rich, white men. Men that create racist, sexist, islamophobic statements…whilst claiming to be liberals. Milo Yiannopoulos is the perfect candidate for this title. A far-right, British media personality who, whilst being openly gay, furiously supports the republican party, is a strong opponent for the Black Lives Matter movement but claims that he can’t be racist because of “the intimate relationships he is easily able to strike with African American individuals” He also sells hoodies reading ‘feminism is cancer’ titling himself a second wave feminist and calling women ‘common prostitutes’. The way he peddles hatred and offensive material yet is still a supposed ‘representative’ for the gay community is sad. He represents nothing the community stands for, which is, in my eyes, generally and simply equality and love between all people.
The whole truth is that the LGBTQ+ Community is more than just able bodied white folk. It is a beautifully diverse community full of people from all ethnicities, body abilities, backgrounds, heritage, body types and genders. There are There should be more media focusing on other parts of the community, like Muslim, Latino, Trans and disabled people living within the body. In the first world we have come far in showing women in positions on power in adverts and TV. I can only hope we are not far off doing the same for queer people.