As someone who’s identified as gay since fifth grade, I’m always looking for representation. Whether it’s media or merchandise, it’s always been hard. Almost since I could talk, I’ve known that I don’t fit in any groups perfectly. I never understood sports quite the same way as some of the boys I’m friends with, and, as a result, I always felt like a bit of an outlier. I’ve always hated going to the store and looking for school supplies. No, it’s not because I hate school. It’s because I hate having to be represented as someone I’m not.
I don’t like having to choose between a plain, boring binder and a dark blue binder with basketballs, soccer balls and footballs. I’ve always felt different and awkward when I’m with boys. Ironic, I guess, but it’s true. I’ve never really hung out with them, so I’ve always been better friends with girls. Even still, I’ve felt like an in-between.
I’m a guy, but I don’t act like your average guy. I’m with girls all the time, and most times I’m completely happy with them, but sometimes I can’t do what they do. I can’t go to a school dance with a date unless I go on a dating site or even dance with the people I’ve wanted to at Homecoming. I’ve had girl friends tell me one day that they’re gonna start talking to “real boys.” Though they were joking, someone I know told me to ‘’go work at a makeup counter’’ when I frustrated them. Though they were joking, it still hurt, and just reminded me how much I still feel put in a box, alone.
So I suppose it’s no surprise that when I get home from all of this, I want to find a way to feel like I belong. In some way, I’m looking for someone to make me feel like I’m not doomed to be a stereotype. In most cases, that’s TV, movies or books. There’s the problem though. If I want to watch something that’s on Netflix or TV, I have only a few options.
A. “Glee.” Of course. Oh, and “Brokeback Mountain”!
B. “Modern Family.” Of course.
C. “Teen Wolf,” an amazing show where there’s literally no homophobia in the universe.
While there is an increasing number of LGBT characters in the media, it’s still hard to find someone to relate to. An even bigger problem is that when the character identifies as LGBT, the plot is centered around that fact. Gay characters are always fashion designers or sassy best friends. They all have an uncanny ability to differentiate between blood orange and red!
The problem is I can’t find characters I relate to who don’t have something stereotypical going on. What if I don’t want to be a fashion designer or work at a makeup counter? What if I want to save the world and fight dragons or be a firefighter or an artist or be the president of the United States?
Would it really be so weird if Harry Potter were gay? No! The only difference is that Harry would marry George Weasley instead of Ginny. Would it be so bizarre if Hermione fell in love with Luna instead of Ron? Or what if Ron changed his name to Rhonda? It doesn’t change the fact that Voldemort’s a horrible and the Horcruxes still need to be destroyed.
So when there are action shows that hint at making characters gay, where their sexuality wouldn’t affect their plot or relatability, I obviously get kind of excited!
Just kidding. Most shows like that just have a ton of subtext that’s never going to amount to anything. There are many shows—take the thriller “Supernatural,” for example—with excellent characters that definitely have some sort of chemistry with others of their same gender. Some argue that Dean Winchester, a monster hunter, and Castiel the angel are ‘meant to be.’
The show gives some evidence for it, too. The chemistry is there, the awkward bromance is there, there’s really no reason why it doesn’t have to happen. And all the fans want it to happen. Even so, it doesn’t happen.
This is not to say the show’s creator has to do what the fans want, of course. It’s their show and they can do what they want. It’s totally fair if a show wants its main characters to be heterosexual. But would it be nice to have a gay couple that kicks some demon butt instead of arguing over which shade of mauve they should make their bedroom walls? Absolutely. The worst part is that when the fans ask the actors in “Supernatural” about “Destiel,” they’re told to be quiet and not ask ‘‘gay questions.’’ This has happened at a “Supernatural” convention. Is that fair? I don’t think so.
So I’m still looking for a place. While I feel at home with my mixed friend group, and there are LGBT characters out there if you look hard enough, there’s still something I’m looking for that I don’t have. In our high school, it’s not exactly like you join the drama club and discover a whole new world. For now, I just have to try and remember that I’m not alone, even if it seems like it.
I just wish society could ditch the cookie-cutters and hand-make their characters, both fictional and not. Because if it could, maybe the world would be a little better.