LGBTQ media representation is breaking barriers and saving lives

Main image courtesy of Bloomberg.

By Madison O’Connell

Since the 2000s, queer media has been on a serious journey of improvement. The TV screen was once a place where harmful jokes and slurs were said in a casual sense, with no regard for the damage they could cause impressionable youth. But things have changed—  queer people are now being more accurately and respectfully represented in mainstream media

Queer youth are feeling more supported then ever because of the new media that depicts queerness in a more positive light. Image courtesy of Teen Vogue.

Even with the increase of queer rep in film, there is a gap in representation for young people. Most LGBTQ shows depict their charters as having extreme difficulty in finding out who they are. They show children being kicked out and disowned by their parents, turning to drugs because no one will accept them, or losing their friends because they won’t accept who they really are. 

Although these are true struggles for some queer youth and should be brought to light, it can also cause fear for others because it could put the idea that their family and friends won’t accept them. Therefore, it’s important to have a diverse range of queer representation. 

Big media companies are starting to show more “happy” LGBTQ+ shows like “Heartstopper”. Image courtesy of Netflix.

But, don’t worry! The wholesome queer shows are coming. One example of a cutzie film is “Heartstopper”. This book adaptation on Netflix depicts the lives of two high school boys finding themselves and their love for each other. This show gives the viewers a chance to see supportive parents, good friends, and a diverse friend group.

Addie Patrick, a huge fan of “Heartstopper”, wrote, “I’m so happy that we finally get a good LGBTQ+ representation that doesn’t end in a bunch of heartache and tragedy. Nick’s journey of figuring out his sexuality is just so relatable to me and a lot of other teens and adults. The love and chemistry between all of the cast is amazing.” There are so many more reviews about “Heartstopper” explaining the joy of a Hallmark-type show. 

Often movies based in the past use the words and attitude of the time period. Stranger Things chose not to go in that direction and it has a hugely benefited queer youth. 
Image courtesy of Netflix.

“Stranger Things” is another amazing show that depicts a positive example of a queer character. 

The show takes place in the 80s which generates issues for Robin, the lesbian character, because of the culture during that time period. The writers didn’t use the time period as a way to make harmful jokes or use slurs. Instead, the characters in the show are supportive of her and never treat her differently. Because of the show’s popularity, it’s so important that the young viewers have someone to look up to. And Robin is the perfect example of a queer teen with good friends that would support her through it all. 

There are so many more fun and happy queer shows and movies that have come out recently. “The Half of It”, “Schitts Creek”, “First Kill”, and much more are all great shows to get a laugh at while also feeling represented.

These shows give us a glimpse into what the lives of future generations could look. We as a society are changing for the better, and this increase in authentic, positive representation of LGBTQ people in media could not only change lives, but save them too.

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