In recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has been featured more and more in different forms of media, including TV shows and advertisements. This is a big step in the right direction but can be a disservice at times due to a stereotypical or false presentation. Young members of this community can be easily influenced by these detrimental stereotypes.
An example of this is the character Kurt in the TV show “Glee,” which first aired in 2009.
Kurt was too cliché, and this was harmful towards people that related to him, because it trapped them in a societal norm that was forced upon them.
Kurt was over-emotional and loved stereotypically things, like musicals. Though there is nothing wrong with loving musicals or being empathic, having it be a defining feature is detrimental to young viewers.
As a general rule before scripting a show, writers should interview people on what they would like to see in the show if the writers don’t have personal experience on the topic themselves. This would help a lot because then the writers would have an example to base their characters off of.
Being gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, pansexual or having any other sexuality doesn’t define someone’s personality. It should only define who someone finds attractive. The media consistently tends to blur these lines, which is problematic to young members of the LGBTQ+ community, making them believe they have to dress or act in a specific way.
This is shown in terms of cuffing jeans, having your eyebrow shaved or wearing rings. The belief of not being valid if you don’t follow specific trends isn’t right. It can be hurtful when people feel forced into certain categories and feel like they have to fit in or else they don’t count.
Another thing the media has portrayed is overwhelming heteronormativity in advertisements. Target falls victim to this by following the stereotypical herterosexual approach. In its ads on TV, nuclear families without much diversity are most commonly shown. This is harmful because then people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community never see anyone that looks or acts like them.
People, including the younger generation, use the media for guidance and so when they receive stereotypes and negative descriptions, it damages their view of themselves.
The media need to start portraying the LGBTQ+ community in a non-stereotyping, positive way. Only this way can people begin to understand and accept people for who they are and how they identify themselves.
— By Emily Cook
Originally published in the April 13 edition of the Octagon.