Opinion | LGBTQ+ media for everyone to enjoy | I

Ar%C3%B3n+Piper+and+Omar+Ayuso+act+in+the+television+show+%C3%89lite.+The+television+show+was+started+in+2018.

Photo Courtesy of IMDB

Arón Piper and Omar Ayuso act in the television show Élite. The television show was started in 2018.

By Micky Horstman, Columnist

My parents would argue that I’ve spent my entire life preparing to write this piece. Finally, I have something to show for my supernatural ability to binge. If there were an Olympic event for consuming media, I would have won gold in 2020. 

Over the years, however, I have found that the type of media I actively pursue has changed. Since graduating high school, I’ve come to greatly appreciate gay representation in the media, whether it be movies, TV shows or books. As we’ve seen a major change in LGBTQ rights and representation in the past decade, these platforms have changed to become more inclusive. 

However, there still isn’t enough accurate representation in the media. Too often, gay characters are portrayed by straight actors, especially in major Hollywood blockbusters like “Love, Simon” and “Call Me by Your Name.” This kind of “gay for pay” acting is performative at best, and harmful to the identities of individuals in the community who are constantly battling the “it’s just a phase” stereotype at worst. 

A common line I’ve heard is “I don’t understand why they have to put a (LGBTQ) character in everything nowadays.” As surprising as it may be, I actually agree with this sentiment. Inclusivity matters, but how we are portrayed matters more. If writers are throwing in gay characters just for the heck of it, without giving them any substance or only maintaining the “gay best friend” stereotype, why include them at all? 

Disney is a company that has especially been ridiculed in the past for its so-called “LGBTQ representation.” The running joke is that every new Disney movie features their “first openly gay character,” yet none of them ever have substantial roles.   

My favorites, especially to individuals outside of the gay community, might be surprising — they steer away from some of the “breakout” movies that have become popular in recent years. This collection does, what I believe, the best job of slashing stereotypes, presenting genuine relationships and accurately portraying gay men. 

TELEVISION: 

Currently rewatching: Grey’s Anatomy (Netflix) 

Up next: White Lotus (HBO Max) 

“Shameless” (Netflix/Showtime): I’m a sucker for this self-destructive Chicago family. The show uniquely approaches sexuality, absolutely obliterating the stereotypes that are often associated with gay relationships. Unpredictable, tragic, comical — amazing. Not to mention one of the gay characters’ names is Mickey… 

“Schitt’s Creek” (Netflix): A perfect television show. The balance of sophisticated and stupid humor is masterful. It explores the complexity of small-town dating as a gay man. The series finale will have you in tears — it’s a must-watch. 

“Elite” (Netflix): Another international original, this show is, in a word: sexy. I watch it in Spanish with English subtitles, but I am sure the dub is serviceable. “Elite” is a murder-mystery thriller. It’s a quick-paced emotional rollercoaster that features some stunning, talented actors. Manu Rios, if you’re reading this… I love you. 

“Teen Wolf” (Amazon Prime/Hulu): A surprising choice for many I’m sure, but Teen Wolf has troves of diverse, gay talent. The writers were originally accused of queer-bating, using homoerotic relationships between heterosexual men, but they have put forward consistently, strong, stereotype-free gay characters in nearly every season. 

“Young Royals” (Netflix): An international original, if you can get over the subtitles or English dub, you won’t regret it. A clear example of class differences, parental expectations, and forbidden romance —  this show is a fairytale romance. You’ll definitely see a theme within these articles… I, like many others, am obsessed with the idea of a gay royal relationship. If there are any Princes out there, feel free to contact me.

 

​​Micky is a junior in LAS.

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