Progress That is Still Needed to Be Made For LGBTQ+ Communities

“These victims, like all of us, we’re loving partners, parents, family members, friends, and community members. They worked, went to school, and attended houses of worship. They were real people — people who did not deserve to have their lives taken from them. As we work to ensure that they are remembered with dignity in death, we will also continue to uplift the resilience and humanity of the entire transgender and non-binary community.”
Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.

What is queer baiting? According to google, queerbaiting is a marketing technique for fiction and entertainment in which creators hint at, but do not depict same-sex romance or other LGBT representation. Some popular creators who use queerbaiting for views and money don’t understand exactly how it affects people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. 

When I was younger, I didn’t see much LGBTQ+ representation in the media and my social life. It seemed as if being gay was rare, and that meant I was odd and different. Younger me did see a lot of anti-LGBTQ+ representation which threw me in for a loophole. 

Seeing gay people in public and hearing “don’t look sweetie”, while all I could think of was how I wanted my chest to be flat or that I wanted to hold that girl’s hand, was confusing for a little kid.

I grew up hating myself for what I couldn’t change and that’s because of the misuse of representation and the lack of it in our and our parents’ lives. Internalized homophobia affected me in a way I wish I could erase. I was bullying people for their sexuality, in the same way, I was bullied for mine.

Coming out was important to me. It was something about my life that I wanted to share with people I trusted when I wanted to. But, I couldn’t. Because of the way both my brother and I were negatively exposed to homosexuality. When I came out to my brother, he proceeded to tell my parents and he got mad at me.

For the next few years, I was shunned by my grandparents and emotionally hurt by my mother, who just didn’t understand how I felt. No one listened to how I felt, how I couldn’t change it. I could have been in a much worse situation too. People all over the world suffer from the lack and misuse of representation in the media about us

Some people should tell us to settle with what we have. How can we settle when so many children are being abused? People are hate crimed, killed, and beaten for not expressing themselves the way others want them to. No one should have to conform to a society where people believe you should be just like them. As we all know, it would be a boring world if we were all the same.

LGBTQ+ people live their lives in pain and are prevented from getting married, Which should have always been a basic human right.

Even pride festivals are dangerous for anyone to go to because of what might happen. Imagine going to a festival to express yourself and getting bricks thrown at you as a teenager, getting beat up and murdered on your way home. Raped to fix you.

I have watched TV shows and read books that show a lot of good queer representation, and some others that lack and misuse queer representation. A good example of good queer representation I’ve seen is from ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’ novel by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. It’s about two boys who slowly realize they are gay.

“All this time. This was what was wrong with me. All this time I had been trying to figure out the secrets of the universe, the secrets of my own body, of my own heart. All of the answers had always been so close and yet I’d always fought them without even knowing it. From the minute I’d met Dante, I had fallen in love with him. I just didn’t let myself know it, think it, feel it. My father was right. And it was true what my mother said. We all fight our own private wars.”

Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

It shows an accurate representation of the internal and the external struggle of a person realizing they are gay. It shows the path of trying to hide it from themselves, their family, and friends.

“There are worse things in the world than a boy who likes to kiss other boys.”
Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

But then we also have representation like Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter. Supposedly, according to J.K. Rowling, he was gay and had a relationship with another man that is shown in one of the more recent movies where Dumbledore is young. No representation is shown in this movie. There could be plenty of heterosexual scenes in the media, but not one homosexual one that a lot of queer young teens can look forward to.

I remember watching the movie and feeling as if they didn’t add a part of me to it, a part of the movie a lot of teens were looking for. That small bit of representation to grab onto and hold with us for the next couple of months, to make ourselves feel less like outcasts, freaks, and sinners, was not there.

If you’re an author putting LGBTQ+ representation in your book, and you have the cliche gay best friend who never actually gets the boyfriend, but wingmen for the female lead, erase it. Gay men are not toys that women can drag around like a dog to give her fashion or relationship advice.

You do not need to tell your girl best friend who just came out as a lesbian to “not fall in love with you”. Just because they’re gay, it doesn’t automatically mean they like you, and if you want them to like you… I have some news for you, honey. 

Watching the way kids react to poor representation in the world clouds other teenagers’ minds and conditions young gay teens to believe it’s okay to be bullied and pushed around for something that is not a choice. 

Do not say that this isn’t a big issue. Queer baiting, and lack and misuse of representation turn into murder, hate crimes, rape, poverty, being kicked out at a young age, abuse, suicide, self-harm, and possibly living the rest of your life hiding that part of yourself from everyone else. 

Don’t take this situation lightly. Speak about good representation. Talk to young kids and check up on them. Don’t hate your children for who they are inside just because they aren’t who you want them to be.