The above sentiment is an inclusive, idealistic and overall positive approach to sexual politics. Yet the more I look at certain developments regarding LGBTI+ integrating into mainstream culture, this takes a more twisted agenda, i.e that of trying to shield one’s prejudice, or contribute to the erasure of LGBTI+ recognition.
I say this mainly in response to recent pop culture moments – in this case the decision to write LGBTI+ characters for film and TV. Over the last month we have seen one of the few gay superheroes with the release of the ‘Power Rangers’ film (the character being the Yellow Ranger, Trini). This was awesome news, and I was glad to see that in ‘Power Rangers’ it wasn’t necessarily shoehorned in a crude manner. Instead the character development was part of a wider arc, in which all the characters try to understand their personal struggles so they can work together as a team.
My issue however is that when Trini’s orientation was made public, the reaction has been… let’s say mixed. These were some of the comments that were posted:
The last one I believe is the most offensive. I mean, is it really not courageous to come out to the ones you love, your friends, your workplace, all while living in fear of rejection and discrimination? Plus I would say the move to include a gay superhero is heroic, due to the fact that for a movie designed for younger audiences, it provides a level of acknowledgement that encourages acceptance and confidence to those who may be struggling through similar circumstances. Yes, perhaps Hollywood may be doing this cynically to entice viewers, yet given the bigger picture, more inclusion does not harm the cause at all.
The top two comment reverts back to my original question of using the term ‘love is love’ as dismissive arguments, and the classic ‘I’m not prejudiced, but….’
They conduct themselves in a way where they believe wider society has already accepted LGBTI+ as a norm now. They cannot, as the first commentator does, extrapolate their passive acceptance to the whole of society itself, when we know that there is still a high level of discrimination out there.
Then this last example:
This I find just sad. The film is not propaganda that’s going to condition your children, and why deny kids of a genuinely fun film because of your own insecurities?
This post barely scratches the surface, but it only goes to show that there is a reason we should continue to push for further representation onscreen.
What are your thoughts on these responses? Let me know in the comments below.