In Hollywood, most L.G.B.T.Q couples have been relegated to the quirky friends who give the main characters advice on their love life. While things are definitely looking up for the L.G.B.T.Q community with networks like Netflixs introducing some good L.G.B.T.Q characters, there is also a lot more that needs to be accomplished.
Once awhile we get films like Brokeback Mountain that seriously explore L.G.B.T.Q issues and themes but unfortunate they are the exception rather than the rule. In most mainstream Hollywood films, we still get the bland old characters, who act in predicable way.
That's not to say films aren't better than they used to be. The new Star Wars films unquestionably succeed in creating new icons for women and people of colour. Diverse main characters like Finn Poe Dameron and Rose Tico aren’t so whitewashed as the originals but most agree that they can be better at representing minorities
For example, after the massacre in a gay night club in Olando, Joshua Yehl whose friend Drew Leionnen was murdered, had petitioned Lucasfilm to introduce a gay Star Wars character in tribute to Leinonen. #PutDrewInStarWars amassed nearly 12,000 signatures, and even an endorsement from Mark Hamill
Even Kathleen Kennedy who has recently produced the Star Wars franchise calls for many more gay people. However as of yet the Star Wars films have thus far failed to introduce a single L.G.B.T.Q. character, let alone a central gay couple. Queer fans have lobbied since 2015 for a romantic relationship between Poe and Finn.
But when asked if the franchise’s upcoming installment might include a love story for Finn and Poe, Kennedy has said in interviews it’s unlikely.
Unfortunately, most franchises are risk-averse simply because there is so much money involved and if a film that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce fails then it can put a studio into deep financial trouble.
However, audiences have proven that more diversity is welcomed as shown by films like Black Panther. However there still isn’t any major films with believable L.G.B.T.Q characters or themes and this may be because of the threat of foreign censorship could be to blame, specifically China.
Unfortunately Chinese censorship is notoriously strict and fickle, and that the nation as a whole is not particularly L.G.B.T.Q friendly.
In recent years, the Chinese government has also blocked the release of Deadpool, due to nudity; Christopher Robin for memes of Pooh and the Chinese president ; and World War Z, because lead Brad Pitt once starred in Seven Years in Tibet. (Yes, they still haven’t gotten over that.)
Regardless, plenty of Hollywood blockbusters still include sex scenes and brushes with the paranormal—and Pitt, who was formally forbidden from entering China and didn’t return for 17 years, clearly isn’t considered box-office anathema. Yet some corners of Hollywood still deploy the threat of foreign censorship to justify constant, consistent exclusion of gay themes, even though there are various other areas in which the film industry isn’t afraid of risking foreign censorship.
While Netflix is trying to expand its audience, specifically with South Asian content, it doesn’t have to worry about foreign sensorship the same way Hollywood does which may be one reason they are leading the charge with L.G.B.T.Q content with shows like Orange is the New Black which has remarkably grown up as a show since it’s inception. When this will trickle to Hollywood is yet to be seen.
There is a glimmer of hope as Disney is one studio that is leading the way with its first openly gay main character in the film Jungle Cruise played by British comedian Jack Whitehall. If Disney can do it then other large studios can follow suit.
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