Having a connection deeply rooted in the LGBTQ+ community significantly impacts an individual, allowing them to perceive and understand that they are the one. In this way, it takes just a moment; you know what the other person experiences and you have an insight into the fact that there are people who think like you and who have the same soul. It is our common language. It gives us the comfort of having company amidst the world. It protests and anti-establishment values that have suppressed us for a while. Queer representation was very scarce or had the tint of stereotypes and tokenism for many years. Contrary to popular belief, there has been a geological change in our queer narratives: the narratives are tending from a linear pattern where there is no space in between to a finer and more complex pattern that respect and reflect our very complexity.
Early Representations: Stereotypes ... To Be Or Not To Be
At the very beginning, the stereotypes about queer characters in mass media caused them to be figured either as a laughing stock or evil powers. Those caricatures not only portray the deviation from reality but also play an important role in the suppression and discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community. From the very gay feminine men to the bisexual hypersexual woman, there are one-sided representations of the LGBTQ community on screen, which are all flawed. With the growing queer mentality, the representation of the LGBTQ is diminishing, making the mind of the queer people narrow.
Pioneering Characters: Queer Storytelling Takes to the Stage
In line with this, the media scenario picked up changes with the entrance of characters and plots that directly touched them in the visualization of the queer society matters. "Ellen" was one brutal show. -- After 2nd deduction, "Will & Grace" is another instance of this. The series centered queer lives and brought them to the mainstream, quickly talked about in daily conversations. By showing LGBTQ+ people as something more than just the aspect of their sexuality, these stories were helping to dispel many prejudices and stereotypes that have been around for ages and highlight something invisible and had no voice before.
Even though movies came way later, LGBTQIA + characters are depicted on television considerably, and the case is also valid for movies. For example, films show people living out their queer identity. In contrast to these movies, "Brokeback Mountain" and "Milk" not only portray the struggles of being part of the LBGTQ+ community but also make humans out of those struggles. The transition from the restricted selection of queer films to the more variegated queer films has made the film as an art form deeper and richer in forms. Moreover, it has also tolerated the film audiences' acceptance.
Television's Transformation: Beyond Tokenism
The role of TV in the LGBT community's quest for a multidimensional lifestyle is increasingly vital. Moving beyond tokenism, these stories now cover all kinds of diversity within the spectrum of the LGBTQ+ identified communities. "Pose" and "Orange Is the New Black" have queer characters who portray many issues, such as transphobia and the AIDS crisis, through their narratives with vivid stories. Our period pays tribute to a wide variety of LGBT+ experiences, which challenges the stereotype(s) and sets the bar for representation.
Queer Literature and Art
For hundreds of years, queer storytelling has been a refuge of literature and art, and queer artists have found places to express and represent their writings and their visions in the way they want to. Books such as "Giovanni's Room" and "Stone Butch Blues" explore the intricacies of queer identities, and they challenge the outlooks held by the society. Queer artists, through their art, have also provided a gateway through which society practices and be cheerful of queer-happiness is redefined. Furthermore, queerness can be demonstrated more clearly for a deeper understanding of how we celebrate diversity in the community through art.
The Digital Age: Technology as a medium of Social Media
The queer community has taken a revolutionary turn, with LGBTQ+ people using social media platforms to tell their stories, have relationships and defy the status quo. Social activists and ordinary people open and use online spaces to campaign for their rights. The aim is to tell vast audiences about the key issues and be the voice of those left out in the mainstream media.
Facing the Future: Exist The Challenges
Nevertheless, the advancements have been made, though many issues remain to be addressed. While homophobia, transphobia, and lack of diversity in queer stories are still present nowadays, the landscape of media is more inclusive. These challenges must be fought through constant advocating and varied storytelling techniques with non-ending voice representation beyond all gaps within the LGBTQ+ community.
Authentic Storytelling: To Reason
At its core, what enables a true breakthrough in queer representation in the media is the art of storytelling that includes our complex real lives and selves vividly. Therefore, intersectionality, which has included our understanding of the various identities in our community and the pressure for stories that portray society's identity, is the significant step that emerged that is required for the media to be inclusive. In every different story, we can continue to demolish the walls and promote the way to a future in which everybody can find their own stories from their context.
Conclusion: the Process of Awakened
The path that the depiction of queer people in media takes from marginalization to the way it gets to the center of visual culture is similar to a broader path of understanding and being in the mainstream. Having a rocky road, the little progress made demonstrates the desire to have stories narrate the world as it is. Let us think of that as we develop that strategy to include people whose voices may have been overshadowed by the authoritative group in the community and who may not have representation in the LGBTQ+ community.
Presented by SHAVA, this article is part of our commitment to embracing the diversity within the transgender community. SHAVA stands in solidarity with transgender people of color, advocating for acceptance and allyship that recognize and celebrate the richness of their diverse experiences.