Kas Maryland

On LGBT Representation

A letter on LGBT representation in the media.

From Kas, Baltimore, MD

Dear President, whomever you may be,

Did you know that, according to GLAAD’s 2014 survey of television, out of 813 characters on primetime TV, only 32 of them are LGBT? This is a shocking statistic, as you’d expect at least 33 of them.

Seriously though, this is a shocking statistic, it’s only about 3.9% of the media. You would think that there would be more representation in the media due to the pro-LGBT legislation that has been passed by the Supreme Court. However, there is still a lack of it. Many would pass this up as a trivial thing, but television and the media influence our decisions more than we think.

I fall under two of the main ‘identities’ of the LGBT community, transgender and homosexual. And when one is part of a community, one notices its members (or lack thereof) in their lives and their environment. Thus, I notice the huge lack of positive LGBT representation in this country and others. The very few examples of this representation have brought me great joy and have helped those who hadn’t known about it understand me.

Many others have shared their stories about how LGBT representation has made their lives safer and healthier. This is a wonderful benefit for the community but it comes so rarely that we don’t know when it will arrive. Some people are still in the closet, waiting for someone or something to come and provide a safe haven for them. Waiting for people to see that they are humans just like them, that they should be accepted just like them.

There isn’t much I can tell you to do to inspire writers and directors to add more inclusion, but I can give you motivation. Perhaps you can propose more pro-LGBT legislation. Perhaps you can support outreach programs, elect openly LGBT officials to office, and make a White House initiative to promote equality. Perhaps you can somehow ban and crack down on damaging conversion therapy that destroys lives and forces children and teens to become self-hating, brainwashed machines. Or perhaps you can leave this issue alone and let us suffer in silence while we have very few leaders and examples to live by.

I speak as someone who didn’t even know what ‘gay’ was until I was in 7th grade, and even then I thought that if I was, I would have to fear for my life. I speak as someone who has written speeches in my mind, rehearsed them to perfection, to keep others from thinking I’m somehow ‘different’. I speak not only for myself, but for a percentage of people, conservatively estimated at millions of people in the world, that everyone constantly underestimates and believes doesn’t or shouldn’t even exist. If you can help, even just a small amount, I beg of you to do so. I plead for my community, find a way to bring more acceptance in the world.

Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts

Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts

A comprehensive high school, with an arts magnet program, serving 1500 students in Dundalk, Baltimore County, MD.

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