The exposure of the LGBTQ+ community has grown a lot over the years. In TV and film, literature and music - the gay community is wriggling its way in to our everyday life. It's brilliant. It's showing just how normal it is for a boy to love a boy or a girl to love a girl or for any person to feel like something they aren't. So, I decided to showcase my favourite pieces of LGBT exposure in all areas.
One of my favourite TV shows is Neighbours. It is an Australian soap based in fictional suburb, Erinsborough and filmed in Melbourne.
Neighbours first introduced a lesbian character to the show in the form of Lana Crawford, played by Bridget Neval. Lana was a closeted lesbian schoolgirl who joined the cast in 2004 and her main storyline culminated in her leaving town in 2005 after spending the night with friend, Georgina Harris.
Their first male gay character was Chris Pappas, played by James Mason. Chris faced some homophobia during his time on Neighbours and despite coming out very early on in 2010 and having a number of gay relationships, he ends up fathering Lucy Robinson’s baby and leaving the soap for New York in 2015.
There have been a number of gay characters since Crawford and Pappas but the two most relevant and prominent characters currently are Aaron Brennan (Matt Wilson) and David Tanaka (Takaya Honda) . They are a gay couple who are currently in the process of planning their wedding.
Tanaka struggled with his sexuality at the beginning of his work on Neighbours and his attraction to Brennan before pursuing relationships with Will Dempier, Tom Quill, Rafael Humphreys and eventually making up with Aaron.
Aaron has been openly gay since beginning his stint on Neighbours in 2015 and has also had his fair share of gay relationships, including one with Tom Quill.
I love this show as it has not shied away from welcoming LGBT characters to the cast and has fought any negativity and defended any unwelcoming reception valiantly, totally unashamed of the sexuality of whichever character is in question.
Neighbours is on Channel 5, Monday to Friday, at 2.15pm and later at 5pm.
I think it's obvious which film I'm going to go for here. It is Love, Simon of course. This film has created quite a stir in the LGBT community. It is based off the 2015 young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. It follows teenager Simon Spier as he is forced to come out of the closet due to someone blackmailing him using his private emails to another closeted classmate. I saw this film in cinemas with three of my friends when it came out and I ended up sobbing. It is such a touching story and it is understandable why so many LGBT people related to it and were so touched by its tale.
Nick Robinson, who played Simon, admitted he was nervous to play a gay boy as a straight man himself.
“There were moments when we were making it when I would wake up some mornings and be like, 'I don't know if I can do this'. But Greg [Berlanti, director of the film] was always there to remind not just me but everyone why what we were making was different and, dare I say, important.”
I love Love, Simon because it's so realistic and relatable and has really made homosexuality much more widely accepted or at least seen as more ‘normal.’
Love, Simon is still showing in some cinemas and is out on DVD, 4K Blu-Ray and Blu-ray.
My favourite song which is based around gayness and homosexuality is a song called Everyone is Gay by artist, A Great Big World. It is a song which just spreads a positive attitude and message that it's okay to be gay and today's world is so much closer to being accepting and supportive of the LGBT community and that it'll get there, one day. It really makes members of the community feel loved and accepted and the comments on their video are filled with love and acceptance and pride. Some of the lyrics which particularly stand out to me are as follows.
‘If you're gay, then you're gay. Don't pretend that you're straight.’
‘You are unlike the others, so strong and unique.’
‘We're all with you.’
‘We're one step closer to breaking down the wall.’
The first lyric highlights how there is the issue that so many people pretend to be something they're not. They sometimes get someone to act as their scapegoat or their beard, as it is called in the gay community, to make people think they're straight. This song stands up and says ‘no, be proud of who you are!’
It also highlights how being gay makes you different but not in a bad way and even when it doesn't necessarily seem like it, you have so much support behind you. You're strong and unique and special but that's okay.
The final lyric shows how much more accepting we are becoming as humans and we're so much better at loving and supporting LGBT people and we're closer to getting rid of that divide and prejudice all together. And that… that is so good to hear.
Everyone is Gay is available on YouTube as well as iTunes.
Here are some more notable works which you should check out.
There are so many good works in the world which give the LGBTQ+ community more well deserved exposure. It is so lovely to see. I couldn't possibly mention them all but there are so many out there for you to see.
Just remember, if you're struggling with your sexuality:
You are loved.
You are unique.
You are accepted.
There is nothing wrong with you.
You are normal.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.