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Four Representations of Sexuality in Today's Entertainment Industry



In recent years, there has been an increase in programmes and movies providing insight into the LGBTQ+ communities. Sexuality and gender are more fluid in todays society, with the community continuously growing.



Heartstopper

Heartstopper is a Netflix series which came out in 2022, and amassed a large online fanbase. This LGBTQ+ show centred around two teen boys, Charlie and Nick, who fall for each other. However, this heart-warming show represents not only the gay community, but those who identify as bisexual, lesbian, and transgender.


With the show reaching a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, there's almost completely positive feedback and a huge amount of praise. The show has been described as adorable and heartwarming, with the exploration of sexuality being handled with care. Lead actor Joe Locke spoke to The Independent and told them that the show focuses on being optimistic, showing the all the nice things about being queer.


However, some watchers of the show seemed to miss the meaning of the show, with Kit Connor being forced to come out as bisexual. After speculation around the 18-year olds sexuality and accusations of queerbating, Connor came out in a tweet saying “i’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. i think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.”.


Love, Simon


Love, Simon is a 2018 movie based on the young adult novel 'Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda' written by Becky Albertalli. It was the first major studio film portraying a gay teen coming out. The movie follows 17-year-old Simon Spider, who has not yet came out as gay to his friends and family, where he falls for an anonymous classmate online.


The movie has an 88% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, representing the publics positive reaction to this portrayal of sexuality. Vanity Fair describes the movie as heartwarming, praising its representational work and its graceful illustration of Simon's inner turmoil that comes with accepting your sexuality.


Main character, Nick Robinson, does not identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. This can be believed to make the movie lack authenticity, with there being no 'real representation'. However, when asked by GQ, Robinson spoke on the topic, admitting he initially felt that making this movie was not his place. He goes on to explain that he had to trust director Greg Berlanti and his vision. Robinson also goes on to explain that this is what acting is, 'stepping into someone else's shoes without suffering the consequences'.


Sex Education


Sex Education is a Netflix series, debuting in 2019, which tackles sensitive subjects including sexuality intimacy and queer experiences. The comedy-drama series follows the lives of students, parents, and teachers of a fictional secondary school as they cope with various personal dilemmas.


The first season of this show got a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with it being praised for its responsible proactive representations of teen relationships. Teen Vogue praises the Netflix series for its portrayal of queer teens. This is as the main characters best friend, Eric, was never reduced to the 'gay best friend' or used as comic relief. Eric having all his dimensions, including faith and family, makes him a revolutionary gay character. The presentation of Eric allowed the show to avoid being a queer cliche.



Everything Everywhere all at Once


While the plot of this movie did not focus on the topic of LGBTQ+, its inclusion provided heartwarming representation. This 2022 sci-fi adventure has a deep, powerful story that represents issues from generational trauma to digital overload.


The main character, Evelyn, has a daughter named Joy. At the beginning of the movie, Joy brings home her girlfriend and has the intention of coming out to her grandfather. While Evelyn is accepting of Joys sexuality, she does show some shame as she doesn't want her daughter to 'burden other people with it'. Although the movie plot is primarily about travelling across the multiverse, there is this obvious queer love story. Joy's sexuality is significant to the story, and it has elicited a strong emotional reaction from many of the viewers.


This award winning movie has an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with reviewers describing it as incredible, ambitious and heart-warming. While this is not necessarily an LGBTQ+ movie, sexuality is an important theme throughout and those who have watched the movie praise the representation included.

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