*Disclaimer: This is by no means a comprehensive list nor necessarily the most important moments in the realm of entertainment of this year, but hopefully an encompassing look at some of the ways LGBTQ representation continues to improve.*
It’s June – which means we’re celebrating Pride Month here at All Things Reel! There have been huge milestones for the LGBTQ+ community this year, from Colorado swearing in Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor in history, to Taiwan becoming the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, from the United States House of Representative passing the Equality Act to the marking of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Today, All Things Reel is going to celebrate some of the major entertainment moments of 2019 that prove that representation matters and that at the end of the day #LoveWins.
1. The Oscars 2019 – Febraury 24, 2019
This year the Oscars went hostless after Kevin Hart was pulled from hosting for his past anti-transgender tweets. The Academy Awards featured several huge moments for LGBTQ representation with Queen and Adam Lambert (who identifies as gay) opening the awards ceremony. Two of the biggest moments came from the awardees themselves with Lady Gaga (who identifies as bisexual) being awarded Best Song in A Star Is Born‘s “Shallow” and Rami Malek winning Best Actor for his portrayal of gay icon Freddy Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (although a lot can be said about the film’s erasure of Mercury’s bisexuality).
2. Sam Smith Comes Out As Non-Binary – March 2019
Singer Sam Smith revealed in an interview with Jameela Jamil that he identifies as non-binary/genderqueer, terms he uses interchangeably (some non-binary individuals choose to use the singular they as a gender-inclusive pronoun, but Smith has stated that he will continue using traditionally masculine pronouns for the time being). Sam Smith previously came out as gay in 2014. Regarding his gender identity he had this to say:
“When I saw the word non-binary/genderqueer and I read into it and I heard these people speaking, I was like, ‘f**k, that is me. Non-binary/genderqueer is that you do not identify in a gender. You are a mixture of all different things. You are your own special creation. That’s how I take it — I am not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between — it’s all on the spectrum.”
3. Arthur‘s Same-Sex Wedding – May 13, 2019
The second longest running animated television show in history made history this May when it aired Season 22’s 13th episode Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone. In the Arthur episode, the kids’ longtime teacher Mr. Ratburn marries his partner Patrick. The episode also guest stars Jane Lynch as Mr. Ratburn’s older sister, Patty. Unfortunately, since we can’t have nice things, the episode caused a controversary and has since been banned in Alabama – although Birmingham’s First United Methodist Church is partnering with Sidewalk Film Festival and SHOUT LGBTQ Festival to offer a free screening of the episode. The church’s senior pastor, The Reverend Stephanie Arnold, had this to say about the decision:
“First Church’s mission is to be an open place for all and for many years we have been advocates for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons not only in the life of the Church, but in all of society. We have seen the good that can come from sharing our space with our partners who seek to elevate conversations about justice in our community.”via NBC News
4. Booksmart‘s Critical Success – May 24, 2019
We gave Booksmart a raving review on our website a couple of weeks ago – as did countless other critics! Booksmart is a coming-of-age high school dramedy that stars Kaitlyn Dever as Amy, a soon-to-be graduate who came out as a lesbian two years prior. The story focuses on her and her best friend, Molly (played by Bean Feldstein), as they try to get all of their wild partying needs filled in one night after four years of fervent studying. Much like the next entry on this list, Booksmart is one of the first widely successful films to feature a honest, realistic portrayal of gay sex.
5. Rocketman Makes History With Portrayal of Gay Sex – May 31, 2019
While Rocketman is perfect in a lot of ways, it deserves special recognition for its portrayal of the sex scene between Elton John and his manager John Reid. Films featuring queer characters have long left the sex scenes to the imagination, often with the sexual acts being given the connotation of being dirty (such as Bohemian Rhapsody’s scene when Rami Malek’s Freddy Mercury follows a truck driver into a roadside bathroom). However, Rocketman did exactly what it should have – shot the sex scene as any heterosexual sex scene would be shot. It was a tender passionate scene between two lovers that offered an honest look at what sex between two men can look like and, like the rest of the film, it didn’t hold anything back. It isn’t the first major film to feature same-sex intercourse, and certainly won’t be the last, but it is one of the first to do so in such an monumental way.
6. Ruby Rose’s Batwoman – Coming Fall 2019
Last but not least on our list is a moment that hasn’t been fully realized yet: Ruby Rose portraying the titular character in the CW’s Batwoman. Ruby Rose will become TV’s first gay superhero lead. Both Ruby Rose and the shows show runner, Caroline Dries, identify as lesbians. The CW’s Arrow-verse is no stranger to queer characters and themes; being led by Greg Berlanti (who identifies as gay), the connected universe has featured numerous queer characters across all of its shows and actress Nicole Maines (who is transgender herself) portrayed the first transgender superhero on Supergirl. We’re excited to see this trend of queer representation continue in the CW’s Batwoman.
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