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Queers in the Media

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Submitted By rogonzalez4
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Queer has become an umbrella term “that is a fluid label that acknowledges queers as different without specifying how or in what context”(PFLAG). The term queer has changed through time, similar to the change that has occurred in television as new characters are developed creating a diverse cast. Queers have been newly broadcasted in media. When queers were first portrayed in media, gay men were popular sidekicks in multiple sitcoms. For example , Will and Grace, used both gay men as best friends ,who offered comedic relief in awkward situations. There has been a shift in the portrayal of the LGBTQ community after Ellen DeGeneres revealed her own sexuality through her character Ellen Morgan in her sitcom Ellen. After Ellen’s coming out episodes emerged, the LGBTQ community was no longer in the background and now “gays are witty sidekicks, girls next door, doctors and lawyers, city officials, and teenage experimenters, garnering Emmys, accolades, and great ratings as they invade the family home through the ubiquitous tube”(Skerski 365). Ellen helped transition the role of queers from witty supporters, to significant serious characters. She made “sexual orientation [be the only] important aspect of her life, not the sole purpose of it”(Gibson, Alexander, Meem 310). Media has come a long way in the 20th century but many still don’t agree with the way queers are portrayed through media. Although shows have changed, people are still not satisfied in the way queers are viewed. “Queer theory asks that we take very seriously the representation and construction of sex and sexuality in a wide variety of cultural venues”(Gibson, Alexander, Meem 258) . By putting more LGBTQ characters into media it “normalizes” who they truly are representing them with heteronormative themes. Shows such as Glee have come out with multiple LGBTQ characters. They have lesbians, gays, and a transgender character in their show and by providing more characters in the LGBTQ community, the show gives queer’s someone to relate to. A new show, Orange is the New Black generated buzz, because many of the characters are bisexual, lesbian or transgender. This show reveals stereotypes a long with truths of dealing with your sexuality. With all the new shows coming out television can “create visibility [that ] can really push the envelope bringing complicated and substantive gay identities into public view” but it is argued that television has not attained this (Gibson, Alexander , Meem 312). Shows will “chip away around the edges of bigotry, never really getting to the core but perhaps revealing it all too clearly”(Gibson, Alexander, Meem 312). People argue, “media in general fail to represent homophobia as it moves through and even destroys some queers lives”(Gibson, Alexander, Meem 312). People critique the television shows that are coming out with LGBTQ characters yet forget to recognize the increase in awareness of LGBTQ struggles in the media today. Despite the fact that many believe queer characters in television don’t depict the community in the correct way, one should step out of that mindset and identify the immense expansion of the LGBTQ community in media. The important fact is that, even if media is not portraying it exactly as some people may like, they are still being seen and represented. Through time characters will be more specific with issues and hopefully satisfy everyone’s ideals on LGBTQ life. One important advantage is that since many queer characters are expanding, people will have more characters to identify themselves with. As time progresses the lives of queers will become more diverse, creating talk, education and the correct perception of people who are queer. 20th century television has started a revolution of new characters, and will keep growing with the characterization of LGBTQ community.

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