People within the LGBTQ+ community have had their histories erased for as long as they have existed – which is in case you didn’t know… forever. From the subtle editing of films to align with straight audiences, to the eradication of historical truths, erasure is something the queer community are still battling with today. The subject of erasure is often reduced to a secondary level of importance versus that of issues such as hate crimes, and systematic injustices. But at the core of issues such as these sits the normalisation of erasure. If we gloss over these core injustices, we continue the cycle of discrimination.
Queer Visibility Saves Lives
For the LGBTQ+ community, it is vital that examples of queer people thriving and pursuing happiness are represented within the media. This may seem like a simple concept however where the mainstream media is concerned this seems to be a vast challenge. The initial step of identifying queer people surely can’t be the challenge, so, perhaps it simply doesn’t align with the agenda that suits them? Despite the continuing underrepresentation, I will acknowledge the media as having improved their efforts in recent years. Is it perfect? No. But it is a start! Where representation happens, communities thrive – and this is all we are asking for! Representation, education, and acceptance come hand in hand! If you have a second, why not take a chance to think about how often you see representation of the queer community in the media around you – doing this outside of Pride month is a different experience altogether so keep that in mind! Musicians, TV hosts, actors, fictional characters, and politicians all act as figureheads for society and when queer folk see themselves in these people then a sense of validation can be achieved. Really when you think about it, it isn’t much to ask.
Transphobia In the Media and What it Means For the LGBTQ+ Community
As the media begins to increase representation, conversations are being had about so called ‘issues’ with the queer community, that hadn’t previously been raised. It’s to be expected that with increased visibility there will be increased chatter, but the discussions being permitted are simply normalizing hate. Whilst queer people are appreciative of the representation, why does the media often think it is okay to pander to the homophobic and transphobic discourses that are arising? Focussing on transphobia, the media certainly seems to find it more acceptable to demonize and belittle the trans community than to ignore them all together. These hateful narratives often act as a sort of toxic representation. I find myself thinking “This isn’t what we meant when we said we should be representing the LGBTQ+ community…”, until I remember that in reality they know this. Those areas of the media which seek to villainize queer folk or spark rage against them have no interest in queer representation, some perhaps not even in hate, simply in adding shock value and inevitable click-ability to an article.
What Can You Do?
Moving away from the wrong way to pursue representation, through hate and irresponsible journalism, how can we champion the LGBTQ+ in our modern age? Well quite frankly, everyone has the greatest tool for representation in their hand or pocket… A smartphone! Social media can be a gloomy place, but it can also be the greatest tool for social change. If we as individuals can all learn to utilize our social media presence for good, then why aren’t we? The simplest actions such as supporting queer celebrities and LGBTQ+ owned brands, and reporting hate, can point us all in the right direction. Equally, why not use your voice, start a conversation, or share an article? Being an active component in the representation of the queer community is a fulfilling role to take. Whether you yourself are queer or not, being a better person for the bettering of others is huge!
Championing the LGBTQ+ community is simple when you use social media for good; be an ally, be outspoken, support queer friends and relatives, promote the messages that boost the community most, and lastly be kind! Kindness goes a long way in the queer community, in all communities! So, this pride why not take a minute and think – How can you champion the queer community through representation?