Sunday, 16 July 2017

Why LGBT+ representation on TV should be celebrated

Earlier this week it was revealed that complaints had been made to UK TV show Holby City, as there are "too many" gay characters on the show.

The BBC's Head of Continuing Drama Oliver Kent defended the show, saying that currently 4 out of 17 characters on the show are LGBT, adding: "I don't think that's disproportionate".

It's not the first time Holby City has received these ridiculous complaints, in 2011 a gay kiss received over 100 complaints from viewers.

In a statement producers said in a statement: "Holby City aims to reflect real life in the setting of a medical drama, and this means telling stories about characters from many different backgrounds, faith, religions and sexualities".

This gets to the core of it! LGBT+ people exist, so why shouldn't they be represented?

Now I can't say I'm surprised. In the past Ofcom have received complaints just because TV shows featured a brief gay kiss on screen, but it appears the bigots are out in force again.

It's safe to say the argument is completely illogical and quite frankly absurd.

For example, as a gay man brought up in the late 90's early 00's, I could have easily wrote to the BBC saying there are too many straight characters and request they "tone it down". Obviously I would never do such a thing, because straight people exist.

Growing up I never felt represented on television. Though long running soaps in the UK such as Coronation Street and EastEnders are representative today, this was certainly not the case when I was young.

I remember one occasion when Coronation Street featured a gay kiss and it was like headline news, but it made me feel a bit more "normal" as someone who was still struggling with the process of coming out.

But imagine if as a community we campaigned to remove straight characters from television, we would be labelled as insane by the public. But when the shoe is on the other foot and people don't want gay characters, some people are willing to entertain the idea.

It should be said that the majority (gay and straight) welcome gay inclusion on television, but I think these reports do show that an air of homophobia still exists, even within the most progressive of countries.

The weird thing is I have no doubt those making these complaints, if questioned, would say "I have nothing against gay people, I'm not homophobic" and leave it at that. What they're actually saying is "I have nothing against gay people, I just don't want to see them!".

Representation is so important because it shows that we exist, we are here, and we are contributing members of society in all walks of life. It makes young people, who maybe feel abnormal, to actually see that they ARE normal.

Nothing is wrong with them, there's just an awful lot wrong with the bigots, who make up some sections of our society.

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