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4 Questions We Have for Hollywood About Queer Representation

4 Questions We Have for Hollywood About Queer Representation

4 Questions We Have for Hollywood About Queer Representation

Are accurate LGBT portrayals too much to ask for?!?

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Any queer person who consciously consumes mainstream media can tell you that content creators still don't know how to represent and include queer characters (or people, in the case of non-fictional work). Whether it's gross misrepresentation, or  just plain underrepresentation, queer people still struggle to find solace in the media they're presented with.

While hit shows like Orange Is the New Black and many others are helping to change the way queer narratives are portrayed in media, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. So here's a list of a few, simple questions the queer community has for those people creating mainstream media. Nothing complicated or long-winded here. It's all very simple...

1. Why can't trans actors play trans characters?

This is one of the biggest problems in mainstream media. What we end up with are movies featuring cis, heterosexual white people who are praised for trying to portray the complex, dark realities of trans characters. Time that could have actually been invested in trans lives is instead spent on applauding these same men whose work amounts to little more than tragedy porn for cis people.

Movies like Tangerine are rare because they actually give trans people the autonomy to portray the realities that they, and only they, can understand. Movie producers need to realize that neither Jared Leto, Eddie Redmayne, nor Elle Fanning are in a position to accurately and respectfully play a trans character. These roles can change public perception, but do little more than usher waves of applause for these "versatile," and "masterful," and "committed" actors.

Hollywood and its pawns use the excuse that the bottom line is about the money these big-name actors rake in. But maybe, just maybe, it takes people committing to a genuine product for others to follow suit. America keeps eating up this crap because there isn't better stuff to consume, honestly.

2. Can we please have more than one queer character?

Queer people seeing themselves in media can be so empowering, comforting, and validating. However, it's tough (and nearly impossible) for one character to represent all people in their group(s). When creators put all the pressure of diversity on one character, they ultimately fail because there will still be people who feel like the portrayal is way off (which may happen anyway, but is totally more valid when there is only one queer character).

This is a simple fix. Let's stop using token characters, queer or not. It's exclusive and ultimately never works.

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3. Can we see more out characters?

Hollywood has an obsession with the coming out experience. Maybe it's the drama and conflict of it all. Maybe it's that the heterosexual world doesn't know much about queer life aside from that one moment. Maybe they're lazy and they'd rather recycle the same storylines instead of coming up with something new. It's hard to say, but really, it'd be nice to see characters who are out from the beginning. 

There are plenty of powerful characters whom we see and read as out from the start, but there could certainly be more. Let's just please stop using coming out moments as the definition of what it means to be queer.

4. Can we please have some color?

This one is really simple, especially considering how POC are more likely to also identify within the LGBT spectrum.

We. Need. More. Queer. Characters. Of. Color. White. Is. Not. The. Only. Color. Of. Queer. People.

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Buffy Flores

Aries/Taurus cusp, Latinx, vegan, femme person, and the biggest Buffy fan you know. Now writing for Bustle, PRIDE, Everyday Feminism, and The Rumpus. Passionate, deeply feeling, sometimes angry, mostly emotional. Wants to make people feel less lonely in the world. Follow them on Twitter @buffyonabudget.

Aries/Taurus cusp, Latinx, vegan, femme person, and the biggest Buffy fan you know. Now writing for Bustle, PRIDE, Everyday Feminism, and The Rumpus. Passionate, deeply feeling, sometimes angry, mostly emotional. Wants to make people feel less lonely in the world. Follow them on Twitter @buffyonabudget.