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LGBTQ+ Representation in Media

Stereotypes are harmful; that’s a given, but why is it that when homosexual relationships are being stereotyped, it’s suddenly okay? There are shows that have accurate and actually good representation for the LGBTQ community, such as She-Ra: Princesses of Power or Good Omens, but there are also terrible representations, like the Boyfriends Webtoon. The most common stereotype is big strong jock and a femboy who is practically a woman, and it is quite harmful. A gay relationship is the same as any relationship that one would deem “normal.” The only difference is the fact it is between two people of the same sex instead of opposite sexes. There are more good representations; take Nico di Angelo from the Percy Jackson series, for example. His sexuality is a small plot point in House of Hades, yes, but it is not his one defining character trait. Most of the time, being gay is a character’s single personality trait and the only thing that is referenced in relation to them. There is no logical reason to dehumanize the community other than to push already-known hatred toward the community as a whole. Another harmful thing is people who ignore characters who are aromantic or asexual. For context, someone who is aromantic feels little to no romantic attraction. They can still feel it, but it is never a full 100% compared to those who are not aromantic. Asexuality is the same; it just refers to sexual attraction. The term “aroace” refers to people who are both. The problem with this is that aroace representation is so scarce that it is harmful to put a character that identifies with the title in a relationship if it is a confirmed fact that they are uncomfortable with such things. Not every relationship is romantic, it can be platonic or familial. Using the excuse of aroace people being able to romantically date is also harmful for the same reason. If the character is confirmed to not like that type of stuff, then don’t excuse putting them in a relationship. People also seem to mostly ignore lesbian relationships in their entirety in the media. Women loving women are just as common as men loving men. People will also claim forced representation on certain shows for having one or two LGBT characters. Forced representation would be like the characters of a show being all white with a single black person for “representation.” That is to say, forced representation is still harmful, but at least do your research before you claim it is happening in a show.

Again, a character’s sexuality or gender identity can be used as a plot point if done in the correct way, but being the character’s whole and only personality trait is horrible and harmful to the community. If help is needed writing characters that are not the “social norm,” then ask a member of the community for help with relevant experiences, internal and external problems, etc. Do not assume. It is better to ask than to be ignorant and harmful.

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About the Contributor
Leo Atwell
Leo Atwell, Staff Reporter
My name is Leo Atwell, I am 14 and a freshman taking journalism for the first time. My plans after high school are for me to go to college for at least two years upon my parents' request and to move to Canada. I used to live in Newport News before moving to Gloucester right at the end of my 2nd grade year. I’m taking this class as a way to make my writing better and more descriptive. Being in the newspaper doesn’t mean as much to me as it’s just something I have to do as part of the class, although that won’t stop me from enjoying writing the articles. I hope to make a difference, if not in school than in the world, by sharing my own stories, I write in my free time and the edits I make for fun.

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