Every generation has them- media or pop culture figures that resonate or are reflective of the changing fabric of society. The LGBT community is no exception. Our community has always found or made icons in pop culture that speak to us or we feel represent us.
For those who think that media representation of our community isn't important, all they need to do is look at the recent CBS poll that showed that 77% of Americans reported knowing an LGBT person, which directly correlated to greater acceptance of same-sex relationships and greater support for equality. Visibility matters. The more people see and know our community, the more they support us.
That's why I'm working on a series of blogs about media representation for our community and wanted to pick the brains of our readers to see what figures in the media or pop culture have resonated with them over the years.
It's a subject that seems to really get our community up in arms, which I found out recently...
When I recently blogged about Modern Family and the discussion arising out of the lack of physical affection between the show's gay couple, it really showed how sensitive many in our community are about their pop culture/media figures. Reactions seemed to be how could bloggers question a show that is friendly to our community and breaking ground by showing a functional gay couple with a child on primetime TV.
It got me wondering about how tied up our community is with media & pop culture and how we are represented in it.
I'll be looking at everything from the diversity (or lack thereof) of the representations of the LGBT community in media to the idea of pushing friendly shows to lead the way in truer representations to the meme of "rich, white, & gay" that permeates LGBT representations and how that effects our fight for equality.
So that's where all of you come in. I'm curious to see what characters or figures in the media and pop culture you have identified with over the years.
Does Ellen's refusal to be part of the gender binary speaks to you? Perhaps the new batch of young out characters like Ugly Betty's Justin Suarez and Glee's Kurt Hummel create a connection. Maybe The Real World's Pedro Zamora and his public battle with HIV/AIDS on television was a defining moment for you. Or maybe television hasn't been your thing, but a musician like Adam Lambert or Melissa Etheridge really made you identify with them. The same question goes for our straight allies that are reading- what figures shaped your views of LGBT people?
I want to hear your thoughts on this. The visibility of our community and the richness of how we are represented has a huge impact on how society at large views us and how quickly we create change, so I really think this is a discussion worth having.
So how about it, Projectors:
What Media or Pop Culture Figures Do You Identify With?