As much as we need to talk about the issues people in minority groups face in real life, we also need to talk about the representation they receive in fiction. It's always important to see people in the things we read, play and watch that look like us, and for many people, that representation is very hard to come by. That's why whenever that representation shows up, it's generally celebrated as a pioneering moment. It shouldn't necessarily have to be pioneering, though: diversity on TV and in fiction in general shouldn't just be a novelty, it should be commonplace enough that we don't notice it. That's not necessarily where we are right now, but diversity has very much been on the upswing.
Since we're winding down on Pride Month right now, and we've talked about how to be an ally to the LGBT community, I thought it would be fun to talk about some amazing fictional members of the LGBT community, and how they've changed things in their respective mediums. Here are fifteen amazing LGBT characters, in no particular order, that are excellent representations of well rounded characters that are worth talking about.
15 Game of Thrones Characters
Oberyn Martell is like a lone beacon of hope for male bisexual characters. For so long, people have gone about dealing with male bisexuality by pretending it doesn't exist or assuming every male bisexual is actually a gay man in denial. Oberyn is different because you see him show active and genuine interest in both men and women while still having a story of his own that had nothing to do with his sexuality. That's huge. On top of that, he found the time to have his mind opened to the concept of a sexuality through noted Westerosi asexual Varys.
14 Glee Characters
13 Magnus Bane (The Mortal Instruments/Shadowhunters)
12 Once Upon a Time Characters
11 Orange Is The New Black characters
Orange Is The New Black is a popular Netflix Original TV show that thrives on diversity, and that includes a few LGBT characters. Not only does this show go out of the way to show all types of relationships and give them the same, equal attention that any other TV show would give its "traditional" (now rather "old" "school") heterosexual couple, it also goes out of the way to shed light on hot button political issues with a sense of pride and bravery that very few popular shows possess.
10 Jack Harkness (Doctor Who)
9 Connor Stevens (The Fosters)
8 Dr. Remy Hadley (House M.D.)
7 Connor Walsh (How To Get Away With Murder)
Connor Walsh is an amazing character because not only does he have a well rounded relationship that gets a ton of screen-time and importance, but because as a character, he's actually pretty deeply flawed. A lot of characters that end up representing a minority end up not really having flaws or fears, and Connor Walsh really averts that. On top of that, his relationship is the most recent I can think of that deals with the issues surrounding the HIV positive community.
6 Lily Aldrin (How I Met Your Mother)
5 The Gems (Steven Universe)
4 Princess Bubblegum and Marceline The Vampire Queen (Adventure Time)
3 Carmilla Karstein (Carmilla)
2 Degrassi characters
1 Hannibal characters
Hannibal is a really weird show. It's weird that I'm about to call a TV show that's about a man that literally eats people a "mutual love story," but those are the words that the show's creator used to describe the show, so I'm not alone in this. The relationship between Hannibal and Will Graham is incredibly unhealthy and disturbing, but literally everyone watching the show knows that the relationship is a romantic one. Bryan Fuller had this to say on the subject:
"Mads and Hugh, there were a lot of takes where they got very intimate, and lips were hovering over lips. I definitely had the footage to go there, because Mads and Hugh were so game. They called me and warned me: "We really went for it!" And then I saw the dailies, I thought there was a fine line from that #Hannigraham fan fiction motive to give the hardcore audience exactly what they want in terms of this actually being a homosexual relationship between these two men, and what is authentic for the characters in that final moment. I mean, it's not "Brokeback Mountain." Mads isn't gonna be spitting on his hand and getting to work. (laughs) We felt we had to keep it genuine to the tone of the relationship as we've been telling it in the series, and even in that moment when Will asks if Hannibal is in love with him, and Bedelia says, "Of course he is, ya big queen!" Even in that moment, it's not quite dipping into the physical passions that would be the case if they were both homosexual. But I feel one is ominisexual and one is heterosexual and there's a lot of influence going back and forth, who knows with a six pack of beer what would happen."
Their relationship is proof in fiction that sexuality can be incredibly fluid, which is actually a basic point about sexuality in general.
Sources: ew.com, degrassi.wikia.com, hitfix.com
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