#RepresentMe: What Gay Media Isn’t Doing
Written by Jordan Daniels (@johodaniels)
When you look at the most popular tags at the bottom of Queerty’s website, what do you see? Colton Haynes, Gus Kenworthy, Nico Tortorella and Nyle DiMarco. The commonality between these names is that they’re all conventionally beautiful, especially because they’re white skinned. Where’s the tags for darker skinned “babes,” or women, trans and genderqueer?
When you look at INTO’s homepage you get a Buzzfeed-y vibe as stories about tv show recaps, traveling guides and the occasional social awareness piece line the screen. Still, there is a space missing for the radicalism that is arguably the core of the Queer community.
I’m not trying to discredit these publications nor the work that they do – I consume them both. I am, however, making a point of the lack of inclusivity that these very publications call for.
In most of gay media, there’s a call to action to be represented more fairly, authentically and along the spectrum. We call for racial diversity, trans inclusion and body positivity. Yet these same medias don’t put out what they claim they want to take in.
This makes me believe that gay media is on the Hollywood track, trickling little moments here and there and what we want to see, but refusing to just give us what we demand. I know it’s there, I’ve seen it before. But the space for alternative voices or pieces that aren’t white, or attractive, is small.
I find it strange that a community calling for so much doesn’t always take the time to serve itself in the same capacity.
Where are the interviews with Tre’Vell Anderson from the LA Times? Why aren’t we covering the works of Doctor Jon Paul? Where’s coverage of the undocumented Queer community and their struggles? Why are we not seeing trans faces of color in our videos discussing issues and pressures of identity?
Our fight for recognition and representation is exhaustive because we’re not just fighting against the tide of the majority, we’re fighting ourselves.
The fact that I even have to write this in response to the state of our media is proof that we truly are the “problem gays.” There isn’t enough Queer media that is representing more than a singular, often white, lens.
EKNIKS Media, in San Francisco, is focused on telling the stories of QTPOCs. As far as I’ve observed, that’s the only publication dedicated to our voices. Communities of color have spaces such as The Root, Blavity, Mitú and more, but we need to demand that our mainstream media give us the platform too – the platform for our stories to be represented and for us to tell them.
We’re more than another senator’s “hot gay son,” Drag Race and sex tips. We have a shit-ton more to offer than reducing ourselves to fit some mold of homosexuality – wasn’t it a pillar of Pride that we stop conforming?
I love knowing thoughts about what will make my partner reach completion, but I’m more interested how we navigate life in a society that tells us we don’t belong. I want to consume stories about how we stand up to oppression, how we fight ageism and how our different backgrounds power us into becoming a stronger, more beautiful and more representative community.
Representation is key, but it cannot happen if it’s not intersectional, intercultural and intergenerational.