Outside the Closet

Lifestyle Editor

3/10/15

LGBTQIA representation crucial in media 

As far as LGBTQIA representation in the media is concerned, progress has been made, but alas, pickings are still slim.

There are a few shows and films bringing relatable, diverse LGBTQIA characters to life, such as Orange is the New Black, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder (shout-out to Shondaland). But we still see countless shows filled with straight, white, typical and predictable romance and day-to-day living.

The impact these shows can have on viewers who may be gay, straight, bisexual or an identity in between is immeasurable.

For instance, when I was just a small gay toddler, I saw little to no characters on TV and in movies that I felt I could relate to. Without exposure, I felt singled out. It makes a person feel like they are the only one who has ever identified that way. More or less, it made me scared of who I was.

You may say, “Britton, did you actually know you were a small gay toddler? How can you know you were gay at such a young age?”

To which I will promptly say, please hush. Yes, I knew. It is what it is. Regardless of whether or not you believe that, it is nonetheless a moot point. Having a visual representation to identify with, such as television, allows people to feel as though they are part of a community rather than a singled out, strange, isolated individual. Wow! Revolutionary!

Alongside representation of sexuality, diversity within the LGBTQIA community is also crucial. Not every gay person looks, acts, thinks and feels the same.

Who people choose to sleep with is not an accurate representation of their character. Not every gay man is flamboyant or effeminate, but some are, and that is perfectly fine. Not every lesbian is an aggressive, flannel-wearing, mullet-having woman, but some are, and that is perfectly fine as well.

Not everyone in the LGBTQIA community is white. Not every LGBTQIA person has a tragic backstory. Not every LGBTQIA person has an accepting family.

Exposure to those kinds of stories is important, but the ability to create diversity within these subcategories is crucial to allowing the LGBTQIA community to feel represented. Having these depictions helps break boundaries and stigmas.

Diversity is endless, and exposure to all varieties of people allows them to have an identifier. It diminishes the idea that any specific type of person is the right type of person despite their identity. People come in all shapes, sizes, colors, sexualities, denominations and socioeconomic statuses, but their common factor is simple. They are all people. 

Follow Britton Richter on Twitter @BrittonRichter

3/3/15

Texas takes a small step forward 

I have mixed opinions on the first gay couple that was legally wed in Texas.

I am beyond excited for the family. I cannot imagine the stress and strain put on them. I struggle with the fact that if I wanted to, I could not get married right now. Alas, I do not. Because young marriages are a very strange and foreign concept to me, but that is beside the point.

I am in disbelief it took ovarian cancer creating an uncertain future for this family in order for them to be allowed to marry. It takes a life-threatening sickness, potential death, to validate the marriage of a same-sex couple. This fact infuriates me. This family deserves marriage, but that is not to say every other gay couple in this enormous state does not. However, that is nearly the case.

The legal marriage (not “civil union”) gives this family recognition and implies equality between homo and heterosexual couples. Gay relationships are literally the exact same as any other relationship.

Sike, we are a little superior.

I am just joking. Or am I? Who knows?

Regardless, this couple is inspiring. Their resilient fight to unite their family paid off, and the long struggle for equality has worked for them. But they will be the only ones—for now.

I am jealous and joyous for them. But I am also absolutely furious this won’t happen again. This marriage inspires me but also hollows me out. No, gay marriage is not legal in this state.

This story is a beautiful one. The way gay couples are seen and see themselves has been slightly boosted due to this marriage. But I cannot only see the positive. It is literally impossible for me to exclusively see the positive in this situation.

I know Greg Abbott will not legalize it. I know the Texas constitution views marriage as between one man and one woman. I know because of that, there will be virtually no progress after this. I love that this happened. But I do not love that nothing will happen after this.

Marriage equality is not a sprint. It is not happening all at once. Over half of this nation has marriage equality, but as far as the South is concerned, it is a slow and painful crawl to the finish. With every step forward, it seems like there are three steps back.

I want nothing more than to be able to marry the person I love one day. I do not want a civil union. I want a marriage. That future looks bleak. Hope keeps us positive and keeps us moving. But right now, it feels like an eternity away. 

Follow Britton Richter on Twitter @BrittonRichter

 

Welcome to Outside the Closet

Hi everyone! Introductions are always strange, so I’m going to do my very best to keep this as relatively easy to read as possible. Currently I am a student at Texas State. I am an editor at the University Star, which you all should read. I am 20 years old. I am a daughter and a sister. I am an aunt. I am in a relationship. I love movies. I am an English major. I love making jokes. Also, I am a lesbian. All these characteristics mesh together and make me a person, but most are pretty boring, so this blog is going to stick with the latter of the options.

I want this blog to be informative and entertaining, which sounds pretty dull and standard, but I will keep it as lively as possible, promise. The goal for this blog is to create a space—or, you know just a blog—where I write about issues in the LGBTQIA community.

That’s it. That’s the whole ordeal. I don’t want to create too specific of a description because this is a topic that encompasses so much more than just one finite topic. Hopefully everyone can learn something from it or at least be exposed to something that hasn’t been seen previously. Ideally there will be a good mix of both positive and not-so-positive content shared here.

While it is more uplifting and exciting to read strictly positive material, there’s also a surplus of material that isn’t so uplifting but important to talk about, such as some political platforms that restrict rights and various experiences of day-to-day discrimination.  There are so many subtopics within this category, and it is one of my favorite things to talk about and learn about. The LGBTQIA community is such a wide array of people. All kinds of people identify within the spectrum, and I think it is a very beautiful thing.

Getting to blog about issues that pertain to myself and so many other people is a nifty way to give readers exposure as well as broaden my own horizons. I am very much looking forward to this, and I promise not all posts will sound as robotic as this one.

-Britton Richter, lifestyle editor