The media has a way of influencing the audience on how they perceive something or someone. It is crucial, especially at a young age. Queer representation in the media is frequently riddled with angst and tragedy. Sometimes, they’re the side characters bringing the comic relief. If in every film and television show, there is always an LGBT character who never gets their happy ending, it’s heartbreaking. Imagine their queer audience believing they’ll never get theirs too. This is why we need more happy and positive queer representation in the media.
Can’t We Have That Too?
If straight characters can go through all those hurdles and have that happy ending, why can’t the queer characters do as well?
Some will argue that the media only reflects the reality of what the community is facing. While that is true, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have queer characters confident in their selves. Maybe they could be happy spending time with their significant other. Maybe at the end of the show, they don’t die. The last scene wouldn’t be ambiguous or bittersweet. The setting of the story as well as the other characters might not be perfect but they could be accepting and welcoming.
What Positive Representation Can Do
When Netflix adapted Alice Oseman’s webcomic Heartstopper, it garnered positive reviews. It wasn’t devoid of the struggles of being queer but amidst that, there was still such a positive representation of characters from the L to the A of the acronym. If you’re used to expecting the other shoe to drop when watching LGBT films, this one won’t have it.
In its last episode, a coming-out scene happens between Nick Nelson and his mother. Again, no shoes dropped! So heartwarming and moving it was that a fan of Heartstopper used this very scene to come out to their mother.
The lead actors mentioned it in an interview and talked about what they hoped the show would be to their audience. It was to give comfort, confidence, and a safe space.
And those are just what we are looking for, aren’t we?
Rooting For You
People will tell you that it’s not a big deal. “It’s just a film!” or “It’s just a show!”. The truth is that it does matter. Representation matters.
There are people out there looking for something that will give them hope. They just want something light for the heart and to ease their worries away. Maybe at that moment, they can look at themselves in the mirror. They’ll think to themselves that they will be okay.
The next time they watch another show, they would be rooting for that character who’s just like them. They will be hoping for them to be content, happy, and safe by the end. When their wishes come true, they will ask: “Oh, I can have that too?”
And the answer is yes, you absolutely can.
Niña is a reader and it is through stories that she realized her love for words. Even though she is not much of a talker in real life, she has discovered that written words are just as powerful as the uttered ones. She is currently an undergraduate Journalism student and loves to listen to music and watch book recommendation videos.