LGBTQ and the Media
If you’ve ever been on Tumblr you may have come across the fandom community. You know, the side of Tumblr that obsesses over shows, movies, actors and anything and everything that has to do with those topics. You’ll also notice that within that community, there is a huge affluent LGBTQ presence, and that’s one of the biggest things I love about the fandom community. That’s what got me into Tumblr in the first place: the LGBTQ representation that they create within the popular culture that they consume. Regardless of the fandom discourse™ that might make you want to throw your computer out the window, a lot of very important and very critical talks about LGBTQ and representation are common things that you see on Tumblr. It’s where I learned about issues of representation, queerbaiting, gender identities, sexual orientations, discrimination, etc. that I would not have been exposed to in my own personal life. It even led to a lot of self-evaluation and self-discovery that has made me much more aware of who I am as a person and what I represent in the larger scope of society.
I still use Tumblr and it’s become my go to source for anything that has to do with issues concerning LGBTQ because I hell of don’t get that information on mainstream media. It’s where I read about real world LGBTQ issues first before it even airs on TV (IF it even airs on TV at all), where I read about movies that have are controversial in some sort of way (whether they are homophobic, transphobic, etc), and definitely where I read about big no no’s that shows and their producers have made when it comes to representation (or lack thereof). For example, Tumblr was the place where I first read learned about what queer baiting was and how shows with big fandoms — such as Supernatural, Sherlock, and Teen Wolf — were guilty of doing it. For those who might not know what queer baiting is: it’s when shows include homoerotic subtext within two same-sex characters, make it seem as though there is some sort of romantic interest but then never deliver on canon (real) relationships. This is really deceitful because the show never conveys true queer representation to people who desperately want to be able to see themselves in mainstream shows, and they just keep dangling this “treat” in front of these fans for their own profit (ratings, popularity, etc). In recent shows, there has been more canon queer characters ranging from Oliver and Connor in “How to get away with Murder” to Magnus Baine and Alec Lightwood in the new show “Shadowhunters”, and there has been much discussion on how these shows that do have canon LGBTQ characters treat said characters. Do they treat them with the same level of respect as they do their straight characters? Do they give them the same level of attention, of character development, of importance? Or are they just the “token gay” character? These are some of the issues that I have read on Tumblr and those are some issues that I want to tackle myself.
Ideally, I want my blog to be an addition to the current conversations that are already going on. I want to add my own two cents on matter. I want to talk about queer baiting and how that affects the relationship between the show and the fans? Can that even be considered representation? I want to analyze the affect that queer baiting has on the fans and the reputation that it gives a show — is someone less likely to watch a show who has a reputation as being queer baity? I also want to talk about shows who actually have LGBTQ characters and whether they display positive or negative depictions of the community. Can it really be considered representation if the gay character is killed off (cough*The100*cough), or if they’re the “token gay”? Do these shows actually use the other letters in the LGBTQ soup or do they stay with the “L” and the “G” because that’s the “safest”? I also want to talk about movies and their contribution (or lack of contribution) to the movement. Outside of shows and movies, I also want to write about how social and mainstream media speak on LGBTQ issues. For example how they talked about the Orlando shootings, the Transgender bathroom laws, etc. As someone from the LGBTQ community, I want to be able to talk freely about issues that impact me and I hope to make it interesting to everyone who decides that my blog is worth looking into!