More Representation for LGBT People of Color
Your Take: A lack of diversity on TV and in Hollywood negatively affects racial minorities who are gay.
If the media won't reflect the reality of these people's lives, and if injustice keeps them out of the mainstream of society, it creates a classic catch-22. How can the issues that affect LGBT people of color become more than just abstract in the minds of voters and politicians if the people impacted by those issues remain invisible?
Although we are slowly starting to see some progress, 74 percent of LGBT characters on cable or prime time are white, according to GLAAD's "Where We Are on TV" report.
In 2011, breakthrough films such as Pariah and Gun Hill Road told the stories of young people and their journeys to be recognized for who they are, providing a glimpse into the experiences of present-day LGBT people of color. And while these compelling and well-acted films received notable praise (Pariah was awarded the 2012 NAACP Image Award for outstanding independent motion picture and Gun Hill Road's Harmony Santana was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for best supporting actress; both are 2012 GLAAD Media Award nominees) the films were overlooked by the Academy -- a move that is indicative of the mindset of the Academy (ahem, The Help).
But this lack of representation has a deeper impact that is larger than awards or recognition.
When media fail to show LGBT people of color struggling to live ordinary, everyday lives like other Americans, their audiences don't realize the inequalities that LGBT people of color face in their communities and workplaces. For example, while people may know that same-sex relationships aren't legally recognized in most states, many do not know how that lack of legal protections affects couples with children. The group the Movement Advancement Project released a document last week titled, "LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance," based on content from the report "All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families," which was produced in partnership with the National Black Justice Coalition, Unid@s, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance and Fighting Injustice to Reach Equality (FIRE), an initiative of the Center for American Progress.