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LGBTQ Voices

How Queer Characters Are Promoting Diversity in the Media

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A man turning to the left, wearing a hat and sunglasses, outside in front of a lake.
Boston, MA

Honestly, for the longest time, I never really felt a strong desire to get into a relationship. I had straight friends around me getting into relationships and I didn’t understand because I didn’t have the same desires to be in those same kind of relationships.

For a while, I knew that I felt differently in regards to heterosexual relationships. Maybe, it wasn’t entirely conscious, but the sensation existed certainly at a subconscious level that I chose to ignore and deny.

However, at some point in high school, I really felt more strongly towards guys than I ever had before. The strength of that feeling became undeniable.

I haven’t had the experience of intense homophobia or even subtle discrimination because of my sexuality. Although gay, I am a cis white man and live in places that are very open and accepting. I do not share the same experience that many queer people, specifically queer women and people of color, have after coming out.

The few times that I’ve ever noticed anything untoward has been when I show any forms of affection with my boyfriend in public.

There have been times that we will walk down the street holding hands and as we walk past people in the street I will notice the looks that we get.

Sometimes the looks are from people who are obviously really excited for us and our openness. Those responses sincerely bring me joy.

Still, I see people looking at us like we are zoo animals that shouldn’t have escaped. This has been in places that are considered fairly progressive which has left me uncomfortable no matter where I am.

This year was the first time I was able to see a major motion picture with a queer/gay character in a main character role. Literally watching ‘Love, Simon,’ that came out this year, was fantastic and hearing the entire theater cheer for a same sex couple brought me to tears.

The fact that queer characters always seem to be side characters that are usually the basis for comic relief shows to me that we need more diverse representation of the queer community. We’re certainly moving in the right direction, but we really need diverse queer characters in the media and literature in regards to race, religious affiliation, and social class.

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