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  • Writer's pictureMia K

LGBTQ+: Welcoming Positive Change within Mainstream Media

Content Warning: The following article discusses topics on mental illness and discrimination which may be distressing to some viewers

The demand for representation amongst the LGBTQ+ community has rapidly increased over the past few decades. Subsequently, this has had a huge impact on many industries and sectors, be it the business world, educational sectors and the most influential of all media and entertainment!

LGBTQ+ representation has been featured at the forefront of many campaigns, creating positive change and allowing for long-overdue conversations to be heard. That being said, how far has mainstream media empowered this positive change?

When this fight for change began

The fight for freedom and acceptance within the LGBTQ+ community has been a long journey filled with much discrimination and hardships. Nevertheless, this should not discourage stories of bravery and triumph to be shared as many strove for a better future. Here is a brief outline of the significant milestones within the LGBTQ+ community.

  • The first Pride Festival took place in 1972: members of the community no longer had to hide away into the background, they were able to express who they truly were.

  • Despite this, it was not until 1992 where homosexuality would no longer be classed as mental illness.

  • 2013 saw the UK passing the Same Sex couple act; another long overdue basic human right.

  • Other changes made to the law in 2019 no longer classed transgender as a mental illness

  • The late Queen stated in parliament that conversion therapy should be demolished with immediate effect.

The LGBTQ+'s strength

The LGBTQ+ community has endured a lot but now we get to see these stories of resilience and achievement take centre stage (Literally). A popular west end show Everyone's talking about Jamie has dominated the west end with its captivating story of a young boy's dreams of becoming a drag queen. This was such a positive hit that a film adaptation was brought to amazon prime allowing for a huge audience to rejoice and be moved by this remarkable story.

LGBTQ+ and the biggest name in animation

Undoubtedly, Disney is one of the biggest household names in family entertainment. We can only thank them for the huge part they played in everyone's childhood. From their nostalgic and classic movies, to its modernity and adaptability to society's needs today.

Disney has mastered the art of moving into other sectors, including its magical parks and resorts, to launching the third biggest streaming platform: Disney plus. It is clear to say that Disney is still dominating the industry almost 100 years on!

How Disney advocates for positive change

Disney has become a huge advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Disney has given their resort employees gender neutral uniforms and have just launched their own 2023 pride collection. Disney has a clear element of awareness as they provide for all customer needs, in person but also on screen.

Live action classics have adapted to the modern world, not only by moving from animation, but most notably by introducing LGBTQ+ characters to worldwide screens and audiences. Many of which include beloved classics such as Beauty and the Beast and Cruella. But also new movies, such as Jungle Cruise and Eternals see us being transported into new and exciting adventures. This has enabled for more stories to be told, and for more diversity to be appreciated.

Additionally, Disney continues to stick to its roots by creating new animations. LGBTQ+ characters are at the heart of this, including movies such as Onward and Lightyear. Their most recent: Strange World featured Disney's first gay lead character. This was watched by many audiences across the world, promoting the empowerment and acceptance of everybody on screen.

Disney clearly wants all voices to be heard and all stories to be equally shared and listened to.

It is clear to say that the strengths and courage of the LGBTQ+ community have been well rewarded. Their triumphs have inspired a more progressive and accepting society. Mainstream media has played a huge role in encouraging much needed representation on screen. In turn, this has allowed for many different stories and experiences to be shared.


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