TV and movie execs – please stop the shameless LGBT baiting!

The pink pound – The phrase first appeared in The Guardian in 1984 and for those not in the know, it is generally considered the amount of money that the entire LGBT community together have to spend on products and services.

Worth an estimated £6 billion per year just in the UK alone, it’s a pretty lucrative market for businesses to target, so I’m generally not surprised when I see countless brands across industries shamelessly whoring themselves out to us gays who they can see making a quick buck (or two) off!

We seem to be seeing characters that have actual depth and are portrayed as more than just the typically camp stereotype

It seems more than ever though recently, that the TV and film industry are all of a sudden breaking down barriers and introducing LGBT characters who aren’t solely there to act as the ‘Gay Best Friend’ or butt of the straight guys jokes!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that more than ever before we are being represented. We seem to be seeing characters that have actual depth and are portrayed as more than just the typically camp stereotype that was rife in shows previously. Not that there is anything wrong with being “camp” I might add, but simply that we are now getting away from the stereotype that all gay guys most love RuPaul’s Drag Race and be best friends with Sir Elton.

What I do have a slight issue with though is how all of a sudden it appears as if some films are simply adding a gay character to simply attract the LGBT audience, get a piece of the Pink Pound pie. It’s as if they know their film is rubbish so they need to provide a GSP (Gay-selling point) to sell it to us.

the choice is rather poor considering we’ve been marginalised to a character that is actually a bumbling sidekick

Case in point – Beauty and the Beast. Now, I think the film has had pretty good ratings, but it seems awfully suspicious how they announce that Le Fou would be the character in question who is now gay right before the film releases. Firstly, the choice is rather poor considering we’ve been marginalised to a character that is actually a bumbling sidekick in the original movie. And secondly, it seems as though they’ve simply made him a gay character to get us to watch it.

Personally, I wanted to watch the film before it was announced that any character was gay, but the director and writer pandering to an LGBT market has kind of turned me off the prospect.

It’s also just been announced that the Yellow Ranger in the new Power Rangers reboot will be lesbian, and portrayed to be having “girlfriend problems”. Yet again, it’s hard for me to overcome my thoughts that they’ve only done this to be seen as doing something different and get that Pink Pound through the doors. On this occasion, early reviews haven’t been great so they’re more than likely desperate to get as many bums on seats as possible, gay or straight.

“I think so many people in the LGBTQI community are going to be excited to see that representation.”

The fact that this is going to be the first superhero movie on the big screen to feature an LGBT superhero is quite big for the community. David Yost who played the Blue Power ranger in the original series, and left due to his own sexuality causing him to face harassment, has praised the decision saying “I think so many people in the LGBTQI community are going to be excited to see that representation.”

But for me, I guess I still find it difficult to believe that in this day and age it’s big news, and almost a marketing ploy to announce a gay character in your movie. Yes, I understand the potential risk of the few homophobes not going to see the movie because of the character, but I think the benefits to the moviemakers outweigh the risks.

Also, if film and TV makers are ever going to provide a real groundbreaking change, they need to have the main character as LGBT, and this doesn’t mean that we have to have a scene of them kissing a character of the same sex, simply having that character be identified as LGBT is enough. The moment when it’s not actually made a “big deal” that the lead character of a major blockbuster is gay is the moment when true equality in Film is achieved.

The Doctor Who spin-off series Class did this quite well, featuring two of the main characters being gay, but it was simply part of the story and wasn’t made a big deal of. None of the characters had the “coming out” moment so favourable with other shows, they go to Prom together with actually no evil stares or homophobic abuse (can you believe it) and it simply displayed a relationship like any other.

Characters with depth, characters who have a purpose, characters who can save the day even though they are gay!

So a plea from me, let’s us not be happy or content with being represented by a side character in a TV show whose major story is coming out as gay, do we not want LGBT characters who actually represent all of us, do we not want LGBT characters who aren’t just put in a show or film to boost the ratings or box office takings! Characters with depth, characters who have a purpose, characters who can save the day even though they are gay!

Rant over now…thankfully!

Until next time…

 

 

 

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