LGBT in Hollywood

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LGBT in Hollywood

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Hollywood is the place where life becomes glamourous. Everything has a certain glimmer to it, shown on screens of masses with awe-filled eyes as they see life; however, with beautiful people, beautiful scenery, and mystical situations that aren’t quite achievable in reality.

Even though films are supposed to be representative of and enjoyable by all of society, it lacks in representation.

One concept that Hollywood has an apparent obsession with is love. People are fascinated with watching characters coincidentally meet, realize how much they mean to each other, and fall in into a beautiful, loving relationship all within an hour and a half.

Love comes in many forms and with many complications, most of which are played out by actors for the enjoyment of audiences, but there is one common theme that tends to overhead most of what Hollywood produces that deals with love: everyone is straight.

The LGBT community is becoming a more accepted part of modern day society but, while it does have occasional representation such as in movies like the award-winning film Carol and Brokeback Mountain, there is definitely still a stigma against LGBT movies and actors.

“I was literally told from the day that I moved to Los Angeles that I could not be gay because I wouldn’t work. I was with my management team and a team of people that just literally told me I couldn’t be this way. They tried to set me up with girls, I was rumored to date Lauren Conrad for six months because they were kind of angling a story, and then I dated every other young person, which of course I didn’t date,” Teen Wolf and Arrow actor Colton Haynes told SiriusXM, highlighting the prejudice that LGBT actors face. Unfortunately, the label of “gay” tends to really mold Hollywood’s view of an actor and limit what roles they are given.

Hollywood producer and famed sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein was one of many who grossly objectified actors for being homosexual.

“‘When I first started to work as an actress, I was working on a film and I received a call from Harvey Weinstein asking if I had slept with any of the women I was seen out with in the media.  He said to me that if I was gay or decided to be with a woman especially in public that I’d never get the role of a straight woman or make it as an actress in Hollywood,” stated actress and model Cara Delevingne on her experience with Weinstein.

Once an actor opens up to the public about their sexuality, Hollywood uses that label to keep them from certain roles. Once the quirky gay best friend or the bisexual two-liner role is open, they’re willing to make phone calls, but an openly lesbian actress as the romantic interest for one of Hollywood’s sweethearts such as Chris Hemsworth? Not likely, which is pretty ironic considering that an actor’s entire job is to pretend to be someone they’re not.

A gay actor apparently can’t play a straight character because it’s too much of a stretch, but white actress Rooney Mara can play famously Native American character Tiger Lily in the 2015 film adaption of Peter Pan? Interesting.

“There’s still that double standard. I look at all the things I’ve done in movies: I’ve drugged a guy, tortured someone, become a roller-derby star overnight. But now I’m gay, I can’t play a straight person?” actress Ellen Page commented on this idea.

The concept of LGBT youth being able to see characters like themselves portrayed in films is an important one, as the more representation that is shown, the more people learn about sexuality and, in some cases, themselves. This would reduce the regrettable public distaste for anything other than heterosexuality, and give people the chance to learn about who they are through seeing renditions of people like themselves instead of enduring years of confusion, as many do.

“I do believe representation in Hollywood is very helpful, it leads others to feel better in their own skin and it helps parents and family to be more accepting of LGBTQ family members,” said senior Michelle Pierce, who identifies as a lesbian.

Another problem Hollywood tends to have with their portrayal of gay couples is that they are not as deep and developed as straight couples seem to be.

“If I had to make one complaint [about Hollywood’s treatment of LGBT couples], it would be that most girl-girl relationships shown in the movie industry are really over-sexualized. There aren’t very many moves focused on just the romance of LGBT couples rather than just the sex lives, which is different from how straight couples are portrayed,” pointed out junior Cassie Hurley, an LGBT student who hopes to see more improvements in how Hollywood handles couples that are not heterosexual.

Blake McIver Ewing, former child-star of movies such as “Little Rascals”, advocates for LGBT rights through song, as is seen in his song “It Gets Better”.

“I want to dedicate this video to those who are living with hopelessness. We’ve already lost too many to the darkness, to the hate, and to the closed-mindedness. Although it doesn’t always seem it, love is more powerful than hate. Remember, you are a miracle in spite of what they say,” McIver explained the significance of his song and what he intends for it to mean to those who listen to it.

It is important for celebrities who are part of the LGBT community to support others, therefore allowing fans to have someone like themselves to look up to.

“They need saving, certainly in this day and age as much as ever—no matter how much we think we’ve progressed,” American Horror Story actor Matt Bomer spoke of the need to influence and support LGBT youth.

It is not only crucial for more LGBT characters to be shown, but also for the actors who play those characters, and just LGBT actors in general, to support their community. There are many straight celebrities that support the community as well, though.

Famous ally of the LGBT community and Dorothy Zbornak in the 1980’s sitcom Golden Girls, Bea Arthur, dedicated a lot of her time to the Ali Forney Center. She mentioned them in numerous interviews, and performed shows that raised thousands of dollars for the home. The Ali Forney Center provides housing for homeless LGBT youth, which Arthur saw as an extremely noble cause to support. Celebrity allies such as Bea Arthur not only make literal contributions to the community by donating money, but their advocacy for the acceptance of LGBT people by using their platform is extremely valuable.

Hollywood is making progress in terms of treatment of LGBT actors and the incorporation of more LGBT characters in films, but it definitely still has a long way to go.

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