Monday, October 15, 2012

"The New Normal"?

     This week's reading about LGBT issues interested me greatly.  I grew up in California, where one of my mom's best friends is a lesbian with a long term partner.  For as long as I was old enough to understand the relationship, I never found it odd or gave it much thought. However, as I grew older I was made aware of the negative social views about people who consider themselves part of the LGBT community.  I participated in events at my high school like Day of Silence which allowed people, gay and straight, to come together for an hour of silence that represented the silence endured by many people who are afraid to say they are LGBT. Through this time though, it never really occurred to me how the LGBT community was affected by the media beyond new coverage of "gay rights" and marriage equality. Reading about all the changes in 1997 about LGBT images in the media made me realize just how recent these changes have been. The fact that this has all happened within my lifetime makes it seem even more surprising because I am used to reading about changes that happened before I was born, which is a lot harder to relate to.  

     Having read about this I began to think about Modern Family (2009) and The New Normal (2012), which are television shows that feature a gay couple as lead roles or main characters.  The title of the show "The New Normal" really says a lot about the media's relations with the LGBT community.  It took till this year to make a show that focuses completely on the life of a gay couple and the title of the show even identifies this idea as something "new." The show itself really plays off stereotypes about the gay community and society in a comical way.  However, as we have learned, the media affects society and society affects the media.  More shows and movies featuring LGBT characters means that in the past years LGBT relationships have become more accepted in the public sphere. However, the stereotyping still means that there is a lot to be changed for equal LGBT representation in the media. I have yet to see a positive and non-comedic role of a transgender in the media, with the exception of some murder mystery shows.  Although changes are being made for equal and fair representation, I do think that it will still be some time before we see more changes of LGBT representation in the media. 

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