Movies teach us how to be. We learn morals, ethical lessons, how to interact with others, how to fall in and out of love. And we learn from movies how to view others—and how to view ourselves. This has been truly evident in how film has depicted queer characters from its earliest days as visual medium. We have seen people like us reduced to stereotypes—sometimes based in truth, sometimes played by queer performers eager to find work and express their own identities in front of a camera, for better or for worse.
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There are more gay characters on screen than ever before. Can Hollywood be seen as a beacon of enlightenment when it comes to gay matters? The Oscars was recently hosted for the second time by Ellen DeGeneres, an openly gay woman. LGBT characters routinely appear in movies and an increasing number of actors are coming out of the closet. Most would agree that at first sight, screen depictions of gay people, and the narratives in which they feature, are more positive than ever, especially on US television.
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When discussing media representation of various groups, especially those we consider marginalized, stereotypes are often a primary concern. With the exception of the most simplistically supportive or bigoted representations, there is room for much discussion and debate in determining a positive or negative LGBTQ presence. Harry M. Web sites, films, magazines and other cultural products made by out queer people can usually be defined as being queer media. Queer aesthetics typically challenge conventional ideas of what is thought to be universally true.
Conservative groups have urged a boycott of Disney over news that the family-friendly studio would feature its first "exclusively gay moment" in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Following that announcement, evangelical preacher Franklin Graham warned that Disney is trying to "push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of… children. The backlash is overblown for a number of reasons.