I feel like straight people really aren’t aware of how deeply rooted homophobia is in society. Putting gay, or any LGBT+, characters in media is just seen as a political statement. Being gay is seen as a political statement. Our lives, ignoring any other factor, is just seen as “liberal bullshit”. We can barely see ourselves in the media everyone consumes, and that’s just one factor that alienates us from society and even being seen as human. Kids today are growing up learning from what they read and watch, and excluding gay characters is one of the largest reasons for homophobia, both internal and external. The media is supposed to reflect reality; characters are meant to be related to. And when we fail to see ourselves in what is supposed to be a parallel to our lives, we fail to see ourselves as human. How are we supposed to be proud when we’ve been alienated our whole lives? We grow up hearing about the murders of people like us, we are treated as the punchline in sitcoms, we hear people complaining about pandering when a character is revealed as gay. From a young age we are taught we aren’t supposed to be treated like people. We grow up learning to hate ourselves. Straight people may think we make a big deal of seeing gay characters in media, but for some people it’s all they have to feel normal. It’s a big step for us if a character is gay. For the people who have grown up to feel disgusted with their attraction, the people who feel dirty, the people who have been kicked out of their homes or lost friends from just being, sometimes seeing a cool character who is respected by others that happens to be gay is all we have to feel better about ourselves.
Another thing I’d like to talk about with gay characters in the media is the big “coming out” stories. The only reason we need these big reveals for a character to be gay is people believe by default everyone is straight. Why? Because that’s what we are taught is normal. It has to be a surprise to be gay. Straight people really have no idea how bad homophobia is just because they don’t have to deal with it. They don’t have to worry about their parents hating them for their sexuality. Once again on the whole coming out thing, is that it’s seen as some big event. One of the first things my straight friends will ask once I reveal I’m gay is, “Do your parents accept you?”. They’re so damn eager to find out if my parents actually treat me like a human being. I’m extremely lucky to have parents who aren’t homophobic and instead only occasionally innocently insensitive. But others? They’re abused, physically and emotionally. There are kids kicked out of their homes. Sometimes kids are even killed, by their PARENTS, just for being themselves. Coming out may be just a story for straight people, but for us it’s putting our future in our hands. We are testing to see if the people who say they love us are going to keep our word. We are going to see if our dearly beloved friends and family will still see us as people. Coming out can be terrifying, as this can be the step that causes children to lose their loved ones. And it’s not their fault, but they grow to believe that. “If I wasn’t gay, they wouldn’t hate me. I’m wrong,” Is what they believe. The only reason we fucking need pride parades and pride month is to convince ourselves we aren’t monsters. The reason we need to constantly say “Wow i’m so glad to be gay” is to convince ourselves that it’s true. We are just trying to fight off all this internalized hate towards ourselves, and yet straight people still speak over us and our issues, which they are causing.
Basically straight people need to calm the fuck down and shut their mouth and let LGBT+ people see themselves in the media, because you have no idea what an impact that can have on people.