The evolution of queer representation in the media within the last 10 years

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"Glee" was one of the first popular examples that featured multiple LGBTQ+ characters, thus increasing representation.

Eli Kennedy, Memorial Staff Writer

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From 2000 to 2018, the LGBTQ+ representation in the media has increased drastically. TV shows to movies to books and even music, queer characters and artists have been active in a positive way.

One popular example of this is the TV show Glee. When this hit show first aired in 2009, the character Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) was introduced. At the beginning of the show, he hadn’t come out yet, but he is one of the many LGBTQ+ characters that were in the show. By the end of the show in 2015, eight characters had come out as gay, lesbian or transgender.

Another TV show that consistently breaks both racial and homosexual standards is Brooklyn 99, which is about a Brooklyn’s 99th police precinct run by character Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher), a gay African American man. Instead of sticking to normal stereotypes, Holt presents himself as strict, hardworking and stoic instead of the “stereotypical” flamboyant, outgoing, bubbly and eccentric expected of a gay man.

At the beginning of 2018, Haley Kiyoko, American singer who wrote “Girls like Girls” in 2015, nicknamed the year as “20gayteen.” Looking back, it lived up to the nickname. Films that had LGBTQ+ characters were at an all-time high with the releases of Love Simon, A Kid Like Jake, Alex Strangelove, and Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate. Movies such as Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post also shed light on the realities of conversion therapy and representation in TV shows specifically reached an all time high with The Bold Type, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Riverdale, Teen Wolf and many more.

Much like movies and TV shows, music artists and actors had a hand in increasing LGBTQ+ representation in the media. Within the last 15 years, many actors have come out as apart of the LGBTQ+ community, including Ellen Page, Ezra Miller, Sarah Paulson, Luke Evans, Jim Parsons and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Musical artists that have made an impact in the community are Kiyoko, Troye Sivan, Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus, Adam Lambert and Demi Lovato.

Along with TV shows and movies, YouTube is a social media platform that features videos. Many questioning teenagers and young adults indulge themselves in watching videos posted by LGBTQ+ YouTubers, including Ash Hardell, Jake Edwards and Alex Bertie.

Children’s shows like Adventure Time, Doc McStuffins, Gravity Falls, The Loud House, Voltron: Legendary Defender and Steven Universe have introduced characters that are apart of the LGBTQ+ community.

The drastic increase in LGBTQ+ representation in the media has helped many younger individuals who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity and will continue to change future generations’ outlook when it comes to stereotypes and the reality of being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Contact Eli Kennedy at [email protected]

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