Netflix: Side character? Gayyyyy
Me: Cool, bu–
Literature Franchise: THE BISEXUAL BADDIE CHEATS ON HER PARTNER CAUSE SHE’S CONFUSED *HYPERVENTILATES*
JK Rowling: Dumbledore GRINDelwald ahahaha
Been there, suffered that. Have you ever wanted to bang your head on a wall every single time any of the following problematic cliches surrounding the representation of the LGBTQ+ community was introduced in a book or on TV? Welcome to the brotherhood.
The entire acronym? HUH?
From Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s very own Holt and Kevin, to Glow’s Yolanda and Arthie: There’s no denying the fact that there has indeed been a noticeable improvement in the inclusion of gay and lesbian characters in lots of fandoms.
However, it’s disheartening how little representation is provided for people of more diverse orientations. I can bet that right now, if you were squinting hard and trying to remember whether a book you’ve read or a show/movie you’ve watched recently had a pomo/ace/gender fluid protagonist or remarkable sidekick, no names would instantly come to mind.
Even if one or some miraculously do, I’d readily agree with you on the fact that most of them were inaccurately represented on the basis of stereotypes. In fact, this occurs so frequently that sometimes we can’t help but assume that most of the authors and directors concerned are only aware of the first two (and occasionally three) alphabets of LGBTQ+.
Do justice to the whole acronym already, geez.
The Sidelining Crisis
I’m bursting at the seams from holding in so many complaints about the lack of PROPERLY DEPICTED queer protagonists, but first — the crisis at hand.
Books, especially those hailing from the YA genre, tired from only depicting queer people as sidekicks a while ago, but the same can’t really be said for the screen. More often than not, queer characters are sidelined without a second thought to their depth of character, and are either portrayed as more of an accessory than an actual human being, or oversexualised — which never fails in its quest to misreport an entire community.
Also, the obsession with making that one homosexual friend secretly fancy the protagonist is just exhausting at this point (Hey there, Cassandra Clare! Here’s to never again trying to make us ship Alec with Jace. They were like brothers to each other. BROTHERS), what with constantly insisting that such friendships always come with other intentions.
Just learn something from Sex Education’s Eric Effiong already, please.
OSD: Obsessive Stereotyping Disorder
“Oh hello, I hear you asked for more diversity? Here are LGBTQ+ people of colour.”
“Thank you! They’re amazing, what about their persona–”
Is it really that hard to understand this concept? Every single gay man on earth isn’t flamboyant or feminine. All lesbian women aren’t masculine and stud. Being bisexual doesn’t mean one is promiscuous or monogamous by default, and neither does the term transgender automatically translate to drag queens.
To the authorities concerned, if you can’t bring yourselves to do your fair share of research about the aforementioned subjects before spewing out related books, movies or TV shows, just leave the job to people who can actually execute it instead of choking us with ridiculous generalisation and appropriation.
In case you’re not familiar with the term “queerbaiting,” it’s when authors or creators in the entertainment industry subtly hint at LGBTQ+ representation in their content, but don’t actually portray it. In short, if you’ve ever come across two characters — usually of the same sex — with romantic tension as thick as the earth’s mantle between them, spent years reading cheesy fanfictions about them on Wattpad (ahem, Captain Janeway and Seven from Star Trek, ahem), just to witness them ending up in hetero relationships at the end, you’ve been queerbaited.
Even though it might not seem like that big of an issue at first glance to many people, queerbaiting is an extremely disrespectful trope that makes a joke out of LGBTQ+ representation.
Imagine having to endure seeing it unfold just so that industries can make a profit out of a huge bunch of enthusiastic audiences by teasing them about something as serious as sexuality. Well, why not? After all, how else would they get featured on FeedBuzz’s top 10 InCLuSiVE aNd PrOgResSivE ShOwS Of ThE DecAdE?
It really is high time we got to see some proper queer representation in both literature and media, devoid of all these annoying and demeaning cliches. After all,the portrayal of the community is supposed to educate viewers and readers about it while normalising open discussions and acceptance, it’s not a mere excuse for creators to spice up a stupid show or book by inflicting inaccurate depictions of LGBTQ+ people.
PS: Just no more tweets, Rowling. Please.
All of Hamama’s problems smell like দারুচিনি cause she’s দ্বীপ into them 24/7 .