People in the LGBTQ+ community are often portrayed as other from the hetero-normative society. They get treated as a visiting alien that comes in peace and provides the comedic relief for a situation. Nothing about that is normal. This community of people is just that. PEOPLE! They should not be excluded but included within normal society. Their sexual or gender identity does not alter their status as a human. They do not go out of there way to make heterosexual, cisgender (when your gender identity aligns with the sex you were assigned at birth) individuals feel out of place or uncomfortable. Well most members of this community anyway. There are always exceptions to every rule.

One show that makes members of this community a spectacle is Modern Family. Now I know that sounds wrong because the show is supposed to be progressive and “modern” for all intensive purposes, but they have a gay couple on the show that follow every stereotype and traditional archetype put upon gay men. Cameron is this large bodied queen type of character. Loud, flamboyant, and over the top in all of his mannerisms. His partner is Mitchell. He is a little more toned down, but he still follows the same basic structure as Cameron. These are very stereotypical views on the gay man.

A show that gave a LGBTQ+ character depth is Orange Is The New Black. They have a character named Sophia Burset. The character is portrayed by actress Laverne Cox. Laverne is an openly trans actress. Her character on the show has a back story of pretransition and posttransition. It shows her journey and struggles. Burset has a child on the show which a lot of people do not associate with trans people. Sure the girl has got some sass, but it’s set in an all woman’s prison so the sass is necessary. They show the struggle Burset goes through with being accepted in general population and by her son. They talk about the struggle her wife faces with coming to terms with the fact that her husband is now a trans woman. This role even earned her an Emmy nomination.

The reason I say the Burset portrayal works is because it goes beyond the surface of stereotype and gives depth and humanity to the character. Whereas the Modern Family portrayals are more for a comedic effect. That only reinforces the stereotype that gays are a spectacle to laugh at.

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