LGBTQ in Media & Culture [Part 2]
In the previous article, we discussed studies that have been conducted on the possible science behind homosexuality and why it should not be simply seen as a lifestyle choice. We also learned about the inspirational perspective of Teddy Quinlivan, a trans woman who succeeded in a modelling career.
In this part, we will look at some films that have dealt with the LGBTQ topic and the events around the world that continue to shape the way we perceive the LGBTQ community.
Stonewall (2015) is a coming-of-age movie based on the historical stonewall riots of 1969 in New York. The violent rebellion by gay community members was a groundbreaking event that led to the gay liberation movements in the US.
Starring Jeremy Irvine as a homosexual teenager who leaves his small backwater town for the big city, the movie explores the discrimination faced by the LGBTQ community in the 60s and their grueling battle for equality that goes on up till this day.
Johnny Beauchamp, who portrays one of the rioters in the film, felt a strong urge to showcase the energies of the time. Real police officers were hired for the filming of the riot scene.
Beauchamp and some of his co-stars decided to instigate the police officers and let them have a go at it. According to Beauchamp, the result was so physical that it left some of the actors crying on set. It was probably a good gauge of the ferocity during the life changing revolt set nearly fifty years ago.
Beautiful Boxer (2003) is a Thai film directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham based on the life story of kickboxing champion, Parinya Charoenphol.
Woman demonstrating the mean moves endured by Charoenphol .(Credits: pixabay.com)
The most compelling segments of the film emphasised the struggles that Charoenphol underwent as she suffered serious physical blows and setbacks as a boxer to afford her gender re-assignment surgery.
The fight for identity is turned into a physical one. It is also evident from the beginning of the film that Charoenphol had identified herself as a girl since childhood days. The growing-up scenes support the popular notion that gender dysphoria is a biological state that is noticeable from a young age.
In the Bollywood comedic film Dostana (2008), two straight male buddies are forced to channel their inner diva as they feign being a couple.
The reason? They wish to rent an apartment owned by a strict landlady who is only willing to sublet to ladies, in an attempt at protecting an attractive and party-going niece who lives in the same flat. The context of the movie does not involve an actual gay character but homoerotic behaviours are highly suggested throughout the course of the film as the two close friends maintain their humourous charade of being romantically entangled.
India, a land of strong traditions. (Credits: fancycrave.com)
Traditionally, Indian culture values the perfect concept of the masculine man, the solid provider of the family who wears a mane whenever he can.
Homosexuality is still a touchy subject within India and remains largely unspoken.
The Indian government despises the term “gay” to the point that they would rather settle for the insulting term of MSM (men who have sex with men) when referring to the homosexual community.
Dostana is a step in the right direction as the topic of being gay is made the central theme in what could become a classic comedy in Indian cinema.
In the film Carol (2015), the story is sweet and simple. Girl meets girl, attraction brews, uncertainty lurks in the corner but ultimately, nothing can stop a destined love affair.
And of course, there is Brokeback Mountain (2005), the infamous movie that took the western concept of rowdy masculine cowboys and turned it into a sentimental “sausage party”.
The movie was so controversial and reaped tremendous success, winning three academy awards, for Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Despite the plentiful media coverage and LGBTQ celebrations in modern times, there is still much to be learnt about the circle.
There is a darker side of rejection, acceptance and the bumpy road in between that does not get sensationalised.
For transgendered folks, the journey is even more treacherous with the involvement of hormone replacement techniques and changes in the body that can be downright painful. The entire process is a very challenging one. For male to female transformations, some individuals use testosterone and estrogen blockers that result in weird changes to the body.
Some common side-effects include: the drying of skin, cravings for salt and fat gets redistributed in the body, forming weird and unnatural shapes.
Above this, there is the threat of being disowned and ostracized by family members. It could prove to be a really traumatic process that leads to depression and suicidal tendencies.
For religious families, there is the consistent guilt-tripping, where it is reinforced that the traditional roles of men and women have been decided by the divine and anything against those roles are a mockery of goodness, of God and nature.
Sometimes, people from the LGBTQ weigh the pros and cons of coming out and unfortunately, some end up as silent martyrs who betray their true natures so as to appease the people around them.
However, against the many struggles of being a part of the LGBTQ community, members continue to stand tall for their pride in many celebrations.
1) Pinkdot SG is an annual event in Singapore that celebrates the inclusivity of love. Attendees are encouraged to dress in pink as they rally together, witness performances by local bands and take memorable photos along a light up display.
Most importantly, the event celebrates the freedom to love. Many members of the LGBTQ community take the opportunity to be loud and proud of their nature. Participants usually feel a great spirit of love and acceptance in the atmosphere that improves the morale of every person present.
2) Miss Tiffany’s Beauty Pageant is a competition opened to the lady boys of Thailand between the ages of 18–25. The annual affair celebrates transgenderism and demonstrates the feminine beauty and elegance achievable by an effeminate male. As per the standard for any cisgender women pageant, the winner is rewarded with a regal crown and banner ensemble.
Many participants look truly ravishing and some biological women have reportedly been stung by the green-eyed monster of envy as they see the ladyboys strut their stuff.
3) The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a large-scale celebration held in Sydney Australia, involving members of the LGBTQ community. The event is fashioned after the legendary Mardi Gras event in Brazil, displaying a similar bonanza of bright colours, loud music and energetic participants. Cher, the singer commonly impersonated by transgendered cabaret performers, made a special appearance in the 2018 edition of the event.
Welcome to the pride parade. (Credits: Jesse Yelin pexels.com)
AIDS Prevention, a dangerous thing?
AIDS (autoimmune deficiency Syndrome) is a sexual condition disproportionately linked to homosexual and bisexual individuals. According to some studies, the reason for this unfairness is due to societal biasness. As a result of the prejudice, LGBTQ members are not given proper job opportunities, shelter and the financial means to afford AIDS prevention measures such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).
Is this true though?
Unlikely, according to some experts. It is said that PrEP (such as the brand Truvada) must be taken every day for maximum effect and a missed dose could spell trouble.
This sort of diligence and discipline is unrealistic for anybody, regardless of their sexual orientation.
And PrEP is not the miracle drug as it is sometimes advertised to be.
People who resort to PrEP methods tend to think themselves invincible and forgo other prevention methods such as the use of condoms. And on top of that, there are the dangerous side effects such as serious kidney problems.
Lastly, imagine if a PrEP resistant version of the virus was to arise once sufferers abused the medication? The results would be unthinkable.
The interesting question holds…why do some members of the LGBTQ seem more vulnerable?
A Red light district. (Credits: Mali Maeder pexels.com)
It is possibly because many transgendered people turn to sex jobs for survival, due to the lack of opportunities in society. These at-risk positions multiply the exposure to AIDS.
More awareness ought to be raised to reduce unfair treatment within the different countries.
In the following final installment of this 3-part series, we will look at the biggest misconceptions of the LGBTQ community.
In the meantime, do check out Premise TV, the online interactive audience platform that creates videos on a wide variety of unique subjects! SHARE your voice, be heard today!
Author: Laurenzo Jude