Entertainment media produces series or films of ordinary people that audiences globally may relate to. Often times, audiences become enamored with characters that are depicted on screen because they are relatable. However, it has come to attention that the media lacks characters who identify as anything other than heterosexual. Sure, some television shows or films include LGBTQ+ roles, but these roles are simply rendered as token characters or to further assert certain stereotypes. LGBTQ+ characters lack a central storyline in most television shows and this is a huge problem. The inclusion of LGBTQ+ content in entertainment media should be mandatory; if entertainment media outlets can produce content that adheres specifically to a vast heterosexual audience, then the same should apply to the LGBTQ+ community. Television audiences and members of the LGBTQ+ alike should petition against major television networks and film studios to promote and include LGBTQ+ content.
Exclusion of LGBTQ+ Characters
LGBTQ+ characters have slowly found major roles in hit television shows and films. In the show “Sense8”, a show about 8 individuals who are all mentally connected and can share experiences together, two of the lead characters are LGBTQ+. This is a huge step in including characters who don’t identify as heterosexual in a hit television show! However, this is not enough. In a study conducted by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism concluded that 32 — out of 4,370 characters— or less than 1% of characters portrayed on screen identified as LGBTQ+. 4,370 characters. These results are appalling, exclusive, and devastating.
The content depicted in entertainment media is for the most part aimed towards a large heterosexual audience. Television shows fail to portray and focus on same sex couples or LGBT characters. Entertainment media is meant to be inclusive and produce content that viewers worldwide would deem relatable. The exclusion of LGBTQ+ characters in entertainment media is unacceptable. Viewers are supposed to relate and have an understanding with characters that are portrayed on screen. Quoting an article published by GLAAD( Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), LGBTQ+ characters should be portrayed with “thought and care to accurately represent an often tokenized community.” It is of utmost importance for television to portray characters that reflect the everyday lives of their audience.