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Hollywood Is Getting Outsized Credit For Seriously Small Moments Of LGBT Inclusivity
Power Rangers has gotten attention for featuring the "first queer superhero," and Beauty and the Beast was heralded for its "exclusively gay moment." But these scenes feel so sl...
By Alison Willmore

Power Rangers:

So, here’s how the sequence actually goes: Trini and the other Rangers are sharing personal stories around a fire, and Trini explains how she’s preferred to keep her family out of her day-to-day life and her relationships. “Boyfriend trouble?” Black Ranger Zack (Ludi Lin) asks. “Yeah, boyfriend trouble,” Trini says — maybe sarcastically? It’s hard to tell, as Becky G delivers 99% of her lines with a sardonic lilt. Zack squints, then asks, “Girlfriend trouble?” Trini doesn’t respond.

Beauty and the Beast:

The Gaston-adoring sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad) shares a two-second dance with another man in the movie’s finale. It’s a scene, as Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist Glen Weldon put it when he tweeted, that’s “exactly the kind of throwaway gay joke Hollywood’s always churned out.” It wasn’t the only one either — LeFou’s dance partner is a character who, in an earlier scene, is shown being unexpectedly pleased with the women’s clothing he’d been forcefully clad in by a combative Madame Garderobe.

And Star Trek Beyond:

Then there was last year’s Star Trek Beyond, which, also before its release, made the reveal — one treated as a bigger deal in interviews than it ended up being onscreen — that its incarnation of Lt. Hikaru Sulu (John Cho) was gay. It did this by introducing a never-named-on-screen husband, played by screenwriter Doug Jung, who Sulu was shown pulling into an affectionate but not especially nonplatonic embrace during a visit as they strolled away with their daughter. “If you blinked, you missed it,” said George Takei, who played Sulu on the original Star Trek television show. “There are others who are dealing with LGBT issues much more profoundly.”

All three studios made a big deal out of making LGBT characters textual, but they still assume their audiences are just as narrow-minded as they are.

In a world in which How to Get Away With Murder plunked a scene of implied rimming between Jack Falahee and Conrad Ricamora onto primetime network TV two years ago, it seems particularly eyerolly to give a studio movie a pat on the back for including a shot of two men with their arms around each other, in a totally gay way, they swear.

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Aaron Sorkin is only just now finding out Hollywood has a diversity problem

Nobody wants to be the last person in the room to get the joke, and neither should you want to be the last person in the room to realise that Hollywood isn’t some magical gender- and race-blind meritocracy.

Despite having worked in the industry for over 20 years, Aaron Sorkin has only just now realised that people who aren’t white dudes may have something of a harder time in the filmmaking business.

It’s apparently an issue he barely knew anything about until he attended the Writers Guild Festival over the weekend; when he asked the painfully obvious question (via Variety), “Are you saying that women and minorities have a more difficult time getting their stuff read than white men and you’re also saying that [white men] get to make mediocre movies and can continue on?”

In a discussion panel hosted by radio host and film critic Elvis Mitchell, Sorkin was apparently in total disbelief that the situation could be anything other than, as he asserted, a complete meritocracy. Mitchell teased, “You may be confusing meritocracy with meretricious, happens all the time.”

The panel then tried to move discussion on to another topic, but Sorkin was still fixated; later asking, “You’re saying that if you are a woman or a person of colour, you have to hit it out of the park in order to get another chance?”

The story, at least, has something of a happy ending, as Sorkin’s great revelation was swiftly followed by an offer of assistance. “What can I do [to help]?” Sorkin said. “I do want to understand what someone like me can do … but my thing has always been: ‘If you write it, they will come.’”

An infuriating moment for any non-white male member of the panel’s audience, surely, but if these kinds of cringe-inducing moments of education are what it takes to get Hollywood to wake up a little - well, we can just all do our best to suppress the sighs and eye-rolling.

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The Lovely Bones (2009) dir. Peter Jackson

“These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence. The connections, sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent., that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it.”