“They’re turning our children gay!”
There are myriad aspects of the previous sentence that make it into a fallacy, but the fact that one cannot be “turned” gay aside, many homophobic individuals seem to believe that increased LGBTQ+ representation in media and such will “turn their children gay.”
This assertion is quite weak, for several reasons. Children cannot be turned gay, obviously. If one’s child “turns” gay, it means they were already gay, to begin with. So including more positive LGBTQ+ representation will not suddenly make a kid into a homosexual. Besides, there are millions and millions of LGBTQ+ youth who grew up seeing heterosexuality literally everywhere, yet they still “turned out” LGBTQ.
Getting that oppressive misconception out of the way, it is astoundingly hypocritical of homophobes to oppose representation of the LGBTQ+ community simply because they don’t want it being “shoved into their faces.”
The world is a heteronormative place. Meaning heterosexuality is really all that you see and that people are assumed to be, “at default,” straight. Although this can be extremely oppressive to LGBTQ+ people, making closeted members of the community feel impossibly restricted and trapped, stripping society of it heteronormativity seems near unobtainable, which is truly depressing. But the fact of the matter is that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, see heterosexuality represented everywhere.
Straight couples never have to feel fear at expressing their relationship in public and one can find straight-ness in nearly every single type of media ever created: books, movies, magazines, music, et cetera. For LGBTQ+ people, it can be saddening to not see any sort of representation of them in mainstream media. It leads to feelings of invalidity and solitude.
When LGBTQ+ people are represented “on the big screen,” it is a rare occurrence, although it is getting better. It can do wonders for members of the community. But it is still an anomaly. LGBTQ+ is simply not the norm in society. However, homophobic people see this representation and believe that the community is trying to “force” themselves on the world.
This is undeniable hypocrisy, to the extent that it is almost laughable. In this world, heterosexuality is literally everywhere, forced onto everyone. Even simple things, like for example a closeted lesbian teen having to deal with incessant “So, have you got a boyfriend?” or “Any cute boys at school?” inquiries from relatives. Young boys, as little as being infants even, get hit with the “He is going to be such a ladies man when he grows up.” A lot of it is from well-intentioned, unsuspecting, somewhat insensitive, good individuals- it is definitely not solely from homophobic people. But it is the truth that being straight is enforced everywhere. So for someone to see LGBTQ+ representation and suddenly exclaim, “They’re forcing it on us! Think of the children, they’re too young!” is insanely hypocritical.
Just let the community have and enjoy the little bit of representation it does get, so members of it can experience that warm spark of joy that comes from seeing a core part of one’s identity represented in an empowering manner.