'Black Mirror' And Frank Ocean Honoured For LGBT Representation

  • Kate Lismore

This January GLAAD Media released their annual 'Where Are We' in TV and Film report, documenting how the LGBT community had faired in terms of representation over 2016. While there is still room for improvement, shows like Black Mirror and Supergirl were praised, along with artists such as Frank Ocean.

In the midst of a worrisome political climate where LGBT rights could be under threat from President Trump's next executive order, GLAAD Media's diversity report comes as a welcome reminder of the increasing representation, acceptance and celebration of queer characters on the big and small screen.The nominee's for this year's ceremony reflect the ever-growing list of shows and films that are portraying all parts of the LGBT spectrum.Films like Moonlight and Star Trek: Beyond were the main nominees among mainstream cinema, however television offered up a much wider range of stories and characters.Frank Ocean, Tegan and Sara and Lady Gaga were also nominated for their contributions to music, particularly their reactions in the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, Florida last year.Despite the positivity of the awards, some suggest that there's still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to increasing the levels of diversity. Especially when it comes to shunning tired tropes that often plague LGBT characters in film and television.

The shows that 'saved' 2016

Undoubtedly 2016 was a shitty year for numerous reasons, however there were a handful of shows that were able to redeem and even champion queer characters in ways that previous shows had failed.Charlie Brooker's epic 80s themed episode "San Junipero" was nominated thanks to its tender portrayal of an interracial queer female couple that mercifully is saved from the traditionally bleak Black Mirror ending. Similarly new shows like Syfy's Wynona Earp, and the CW's Supergirl are nominated thanks to their refreshing coming-out storylines that (so far) don't follow the same tired tropes that have led to fans dismaying of shows like The 100 and Orange is the New Black.

Why can't the CW get queer relationships right?

While it's worth noting the shows, films and artists paving the way for more diverse and inclusive pop culture, it seems that some channels are still struggling to get it 100% right.One such channel is The CW, who despite their season two success with Supergirl, have repeatedly come under fire for queer baiting.
'Queer baiting' is when shows tease LGBT relationships, either just with a steamy clip of a same sex couple kissing in a teaser or full on developing a queer relationship in a show, only to gratuitously kill one or both characters off.The CW has a bad rep for this already, having been heavily criticised after they killed off warrior queen Lexa in The 100 mere moments after she and Clarke had got together after months of getting fans' hopes up.Now the channel is back in familiar territory after their latest series Riverdale after they shared teasers from the first episode, including a kiss between Betty and Veronica.Based on the original Archie comics, both Betty and Veronica traditionally are frenemies vying for the affection of Archie. However, the kiss was obviously meant to entice a newer audience to the show that would be down for a possible queer relationship between the two.
Although the characters within Riverdale don't act with surprise that the two characters kissed, a relationship between the two has officially been ruled out by actress Lilli Reinhart, who plays Betty.So why tease fans? Well it's just another example of a show using queer relationships to entice viewers and feign diversity.Here's hoping that Riverdale can redeem itself for fans who're just looking for a little bit of representation.

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