Hollywood In-Queery: LGBTQ representation efforts need more…effort

DEJAN PEREZ; Opinion Section Editor; perezda@plu.edu

Yes, I was one of the people on your Facebook feed that excitedly shared multiple articles highlighting the announcement that in the Lionsgate reboot of “Power Rangers,” Trini, the yellow ranger, would be queer.

For many, the demands for more diversity in media is no new conversation. In GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), which reports the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBTQ people in films, found that of the 126 releases from the major studios in 2015, a dismal 22 of them (17.5%) included characters who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender.

Recently, both Lefou in “Beauty and the Beast” and Trini in “Power Ranger” made headlines after the studios announced that they will have queer storylines. Each were publicized greatly for being inclusive and progressive, with many members from the LGBTQ communities taking to their social media platforms to express their excitement. Myself, a queer woman who had a crush on Trini throughout the original franchise, was one of those people.

While I see the need to appreciate these roles, I also believe there is a need to be critical of these roles.

Yes, it is beyond amazing to see a queer woman of color ponder having “girlfriend problems,” but it was also one of the only references made to her sexual orientation.

Yes, it was extremely affirming to see Lefou struggle with his feelings for Gaston (not because he was a male identified, but because he was an awful human being), but it was literally less than two minutes long.

Disney and Lionsgate did make an effort to add to the diversity in movies, but these few minutes should not be all that representation can amount to. Hollywood should not feel as if they have fulfilled a social justice requirement, but rather that this is a stepping stone for more. More needs to be done in battling the long history of a solely cisnormative and heteronormative representation.

Yes, I appreciate the effort. But like with many diversity efforts, there’s more work to do. 🅼

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