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Why Queer Content is Important

Kay O'Connor April 16, 2019 73

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Anyone who knows me can tell you how much I love queer content. There is a running joke in my household where anytime a tv show makes a character gay, I always respond with a victorious battle cry of “THEY MADE IT GAY!!” If you ever want me to watch something and you sense hesitation, all you have to do is tell me about one gay character in the whole show, and I’m sold. But why is it that I’m so infatuated with content with queer representation? Well, my friends, that’s a very in-depth question, but the short answer is that for years I was starved of anything worth consuming. The only queer content we had was obscure depressing movies where someone almost always died in the end, the L word, or Queer as Folk. There are some other shows, but I try to pretend they don’t exist. Like Lip Service, which I still have not finished because they broke my heart halfway through and I still have trust issues from it.

Which bring us to today. A much brighter future of media where the queer characters might actually get happy endings. We saw the light at the end of the tunnel with Debs (don’t judge me it was the first movie I ever saw that made me realize I needed more trashy-lesbian-love-story driven content), Imagine Me & You, and Saving Face. I didn’t see the latter two until I was in my 20’s though. But now and days we are being graced with queer characters more often than not. Representation has begun to matter more as content creators realize how important it is to give people some semblance of belonging. Or just writing stories that actually mean something to people outside of the straight cis-gendered atypical white couples.

Growing up I missed out on caring about most of the young adult romance novels that came out. I was mostly just annoyed at anyone who read them and looked down on them with substantial distaste. But oh, if that angsty teen only knew what she’d grow into. Now that there are trashy romance novels with lesbian romance being the driving force behind the plot I can’t even help myself. I am subscribed to Audible’s romance package specifically, so I can listen to all the gay trash I can get my hands on. Which is a lot more than I ever thought possible. All those years of hating YA romance novels, and it appears that was all because it was gay enough for me. Who knew?

Being able to read, watch, and listen to queer content has made me feel like my thoughts and experiences matter. It’s brought a community, that used to hide in corners of the internet writing gay fanfiction (I know they are still doing this, but it’s much more mainstream now) out into the open. It’s opened so many doors to tell so many new stories. It’s held up a mirror to people who needed to see that they weren’t alone. It’s started conversations and made being gay more widely acceptable. Sure there’s still a lot of problematic content, lesbians get fetishized, gay men get pigeonholed into being flamboyant caricatures, bisexuality sees a lot of erasure (as per usual, sorry guys), and the few non-binary/trans characters are still trying to have their stories told without seeing violence enacted against them. It’s still a rough world out there. We still have a long way to go, not just with the queer community but in representing all minorities and all people, but I think we are finally starting to make some progress.

So go forth my friends, and watch, read, and listen to all the queer content you can get your hands on because it’s pretty damn good.

Rainbow unicorn
Photo by Erean at Morguefile.com

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