Media portrayal of LGBT people

The media portrayal of LGBT people is the depiction or portrayal of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in media. The initialism LGBT is commonly used to include gender change concepts and all non-heterosexual sexual orientations represented in shorthand. Although the initialism originated in North America, media representation of LGBT communities may be examined on a global scale, with varying degrees of tolerance.

Historically, the portrayals of LGBT communities in media have been negative, reflecting the cultural intolerance of LGBT individuals; however, from the 1990s to present day, there has been an increase in the depictions of LGBT people, issues, and concerns within mainstream media in North America.[1] The LGBT communities have taken an increasingly proactive stand in defining their own culture with a primary goal of achieving an affirmative visibility in mainstream media. The positive portrayal or increased presence of the LGBT communities in media has served to increase acceptance and support for LGBT communities, establish LGBT communities as a norm, and provide information on the topic.[1]

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster admits, "We may still live in a world of white dominance and heterocentrism, but I think we can agree that we are in the midst of postmodern destabilizing forces when it comes to sexuality and race."[2] Through Judith Butler's book Imitation and Gender Insubordination (1991), she argues that the idea of heteronormativity is reinforced through socio-cultural conditioning, but even more so through visual culture which promotes homo-invisibility.[3]


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