LGBT Representation in Entertainment

Are we as progressive as we think?

Korra and Asami at the end of season 4

Korra and Asami at the end of season 4

Kyle Michael, Reporter

For the longest time, The Legend of Korra was my favorite TV show. Ever. To this day, it remains in my top five. But the ending of the show caused some controversy: Korra, the main character, got a girlfriend. Although not fully confirmed in the show, the creators made it clear in social media that Korra was gay, bisexual to be exact. This was not the first time entertainment has had an LGBT character, and it would not be the last time. But are these characters really portrayed correctly, or do they follow too many stereotypes?

I surveyed three classes, and in each survey I asked if they supported the LGBT community.  I expected different results from each class. I expected the art class to mostly support LGBT rights, the English class to have mixed results, and the Field Bio class to have mostly negative results. To my surprise, between all three classes, the feedback was mostly positive. Another part of the survey asked if they thought the LGBT community gets represented well in entertainment.  Many thought that they do, but that stereotypes usually hold the characters back. This can be said about any character in any form of entertainment, but it’s worth noting. In addition to these surveys, I also interviewed three people. Two out of three were gay, and the other one could be identified as an “ally” who supports the LGBT community.  All three did confirm that representation in entertainment does matter. Anthony White, the “ally”, said that even when he was little, he looked for black people to identify with. When he was little, he often looked up to Black Panther, a superhero from Marvel comics. “When I was little kid, I used to watch the Ultimate Avengers. Not only was [Black Panther] a black guy, but he was also bada**.” Adrianna, who feels strong ties to the LGBT community, wishes that shows and movies could not be so “hush-hush” about LBGT characters. Representation does matter, and being able to see yourself and identify with people on screen is very important. Garnet from Steven Universe and Korra and Asami from The Legend of Korra give lesbian couples everywhere something to identify with. Leeron Littner from Gurren Lagann gave gay men an awesome, butt-kicking guy to look up to. When representation is done right, it empowers and inspires people.

When it’s done wrong, however, it can be very harmful. Take Fire Emblem Fates for example, which I can never seem to escape from in any article I write. The only two LGBT characters in the game are literally insane, with one being a stalker and the other one spouting innuendos every second he gets. While both can become likable characters if you read their supports (which are conversations between different characters in the game), on the surface they seem very weird and unappealing. Niles and Rhajat make being gay seem taboo, and when that happens, you’ve failed at creating a character that can represent a community correctly. In the future, the entertainment industry should take more of an effort into creating LGBT characters. With fewer stereotypes, someday we might be able to see a good LGBT character outside of a cartoon.