QUEERNESS: Represented In Pastel Art Films And Male Fantasy Driven Porn

Art cinema used to have a reputation for being the forte of pretentious but cultured film scholars with a penchant for dreamscapes and earthy soundtracks. Over the years, that has definitely changed and art films have become more accessible to larger consumer bases and mainstream actors have now added abstract cinema to their palate. Despite being more accessible, art cinema retains its prime quality: being niche. Art films will always be among the pioneers of social change due to the need to be new, unique and exciting. For this reason, it’s now commonplace for art films to feature some element of queer representation. And while the recent surge in LGBTQIA+ art films is hugely appreciated, it’s time to start questioning for how long will “queer” be synonymous with “niche.”

Moonlight (2017) for one has taken huge strides for this, becoming the only film with a gay protagonist to win an Academy Award. But the LGBTQIA+ community still awaits the same portrayal of queer relationships to be as romanticized as straight ones and plot lines that don’t revolve around coming out. Obviously, being queer is multidimensional; there are a plethora of issues that shouldn’t be erased or brushed off in conversation about the LGBTQIA+ community, but we’re still waiting for cheesy, sappy gay rom-coms and action adventures with a non-binary protagonist. We’re waiting for queer couples to be as normalized, as romanticized as straight couples are.

The YouTube restrictions placed upon queer content on their site was just another startling reminder how the LGBTQIA+ community is still not deemed “child friendly” and prompted a discussion as to why queer content is seen as more “adult” than heterosexual relationships.

Historically, homophobia was rampant during the HIV outbreak in the 1980s as so many see homosexual relationships as inherently sexual. That’s not helped by the over-sexualization of homosexual women for the pleasure of straight men has contributed to the association of lesbian couples to porn. In addition, there aren’t many queer spaces in cities in a less adult context. Apart from Pride Week, which comes once a year, those of the community have nowhere to meet but at clubs and bars which do absolutely nothing to romanticize queer relationships.

Because, despite the recent legalization of same sex marriage in most western countries, and despite the surge in straight allies championing their support for the LGBTQIA+ community, we are still othered, still mocked. Furthermore, in the slim picking we are given, racial diversity still remains an unrealistic hope. Straight media still lacks a basic understanding of who queer people are, the similarities, the differences between us. We’re long overdue projects by queer people and for queer people that don’t alienate or antagonize us, for the sake of not only representation and being able to identify but also to educate those that still think white gay men make up a majority of what constitutes as queer. We are all complex and intricate and it’s time that was done justice by what we see in the media.

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