LGBTQ+ Representation in 2018

2018 has been a strong year for LGBTQ+ representation on screen. Many films have focused on the issues the community is facing that have historically not been covered through the lens of film and television. There have been the stories that focus on the positive aspects of the community finding acceptance with the films Love Simon or Bohemian Rhapsody, where both the central protagonists find it in themselves to come out and accept themselves for who they are. Bohemian Rhapsody focuses on the life and times of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), as the frontman of rock group Queen. The film also focuses on the not so private life of the rockstar, including his sexuality. It shows an insecure Mercury become one of the lead figures in the fight against AIDS, as part of his legacy. We also see him open up about his sexuality and become more comfortable with himself as a process.

Other films have showcased the issue of conversion therapy, a controversial method and practice, with the films Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is focuses not only on the designer Gianni Versace (Édgar Ramírez) or his killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss), but also touches on several issues in the LGBTQ+ community. The first one that really struck me was brought up in the first episode where the FBI and Miami PD had made it a point to avoid putting up wanted posters of Cunanan in Miami, which could have prevented the killing from happening. This showcases a disregard from police towards crimes against the LGBTQ+ community at the time. It took the murder of Versace to start an actual manhunt against the killer.. A prominent episode of this miniseries was Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which shows how LGBTQ+ people were discriminated upon in the military. The episode develops showing how superiors and coworkers view sexuality in the military. There is a lot of mental trauma that happens alongside the discrimination by the crew. It would only be until 2011 under the Obama administration that the policy would be repealed due to the issues surrounding the policy.

Boy Erased, from director Joel Edgerton, is based on Garrard Conley’s memoir about being forced into attending a gay conversion therapy program by his Baptist parents. This film dives deep into the issue, especially regarding the mental abuse that conversion therapy inflicts on its patients. The move is over dramatic at times, but it helps make a point about what it feels like to be a patient of conversion therapy. The tone of the film make the emphasizes the conflict between religion and homesexuality.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post from director Desiree Akhavan takes on the same subject, but I find tends to avoid the dramatization, instead finding the human elements. This is done without the character having an issue with the barriers of her religious and sexual identity . There is still a focus on Cameron Post (Chloë Grace Moretz) in the late early 90’s attending a conversion therapy program, alluding to the program has been around for 2 decades, but not in a main focus of society. There are still the issues of the psychological effects that happen with the program but instead of over dramatizing the issue it is dealt through dialogue. This is best showcased during the discussion that Cameron has with Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr) about his past life before the program that causes him to break down.

2018 has brought to the spotlight issues that are current and historically connected to the LGBTQ+ community. It is not only important to share these stories for the historical context, but also to give a voice to people who were affected.