LGBTQ+ representation in pop culture

Shouldn’t be a problem right? There’s a growing amount of it, accessible to all age groups, genders, countries, available to everyone. Don’t get me wrong, that’s good, but everything tends to be misrepresented. True, here I can only speak from my personal experiences and exposure to the LGBTQ+ community, but from what I’ve seen, the community is shown in an incredibly incorrect way, which can damage the public’s perception of the community.

For some examples:

  • Dumbledore is gay – Good. That’s good, someone with such power and respect has been portrayed as gay, and is still seen as normal. However, once it was seen that Dumbledore didn’t find true love, J.K. Rowling stated:  “He lost his moral compass completely when he fell in love and I think subsequently became very mistrustful of his own judgement in those matters so became quite asexual. He led a celibate and a bookish life.” The link in this quote leads to the Wikipedia page on asexuality. Frankly, it shouldn’t. J.K. Rowling has severely misrepresented an entire part of the LGBTQ+ community. She has stated that Dumbledore was gay, asexual and celibate in the same quote. The gay part is fine, but she has stated this in such a way that makes it seem like asexuality and celibacy are the same. Newsflash, they’re not. In case you didn’t know, asexuality is the lack of sexual feelings or attraction. Celibacy is abstaining from sexual acts by choice. Not the same thing. Celibacy is by choice, something you can control, and asexuality isn’t. Yes, Dumbledore could be gay and asexual. Or he could be gay and celibate. Because asexuality is an umbrella term for varying levels of a lack of sexual interest or feelings, he could well be all three. But it isn’t okay for an author with such a large following to suggest that asexuality is the same as celibacy. As an asexual myself, I find this very disrespectful to my community. Additionally, Rowling stated that he ‘lost his moral compass’ and ‘became very mistrustful of his own judgement’, after which she has stated he became asexual. This is portraying being asexual as something that happens after you lose trust in yourself, and showing it as immoral. No, it isn’t stating that asexuality is bad, it just isn’t portraying it as good or something that is alright to be, if you haven’t gone through such a sort of inner turmoil and heartbreak. I understand that this may be seen as a misunderstanding, and a lack of knowledge on someone’s part, or that I may be overreacting. Believe me, I respect J.K. Rowling more than probably anyone, I enjoy her work, and I would never try to slander her work or views. I simply believe this is because of a lack of information on her part.
  • Speaking of asexuality, where is the representation? There is an asexual character on the Netflix show BoJack Horseman represented in a positive way. Good! Jughead from the original Archie comics was asexual. However, this fact seems to have been ignored by the fans. Apparently, Cole Sprouse (playing Jughead in the Riverdale show) has stated that Jughead will still be asexual, but a very common theme with the fans is ignoring this and portraying him in relationships where he isn’t asexual. That’s not particularly healthy for the asexual community, to see that part of a character’s identity minimised and ignored. Still, two characters. Two characters, in a world where pop culture runs lives.
  • Now, I recently read a book with an asexual protagonist. I can’t remember the title, or the plot, honestly, but I do remember one thing. The main character was asexual. yay, right? Yeah, no. She was asexual because she “hadn’t had a boyfriend in a while, but once she found one, she would be fixed.” Fixed. FIXED. That’s not okay. What she was thinking was abstinence or celibacy. Not asexuality. But then, of course, by the end of the book, she found a boyfriend, was all happy and literally said that she was now fixed. Again, that’s not okay. This is portraying asexuality as a state of mind, which is simply that if you don’t have a partner, or aren’t currently looking for a partner, you are asexual. Not correct.

Anyway, this was a fair bit of a rant, and yes, this probably looks like a massive overreaction, but this is my personal opinion on these topics, according to my experiences.

Signing off – Tam

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