2020: An Outstanding Year for LGBTQ Representation Against All Odds
2020 LGBTQ Representation – Film Explored Strife and Success
The impatience to bid adieu to the tumultuous and often brutally devastating year of 2020 is all too well warranted; however, it is important to note the triumphs of the beginning of the sprouting decade before the collective expunging of 2020 from the global memory. One specific but crucial development of last year was the increase of LGBTQ films produced and distributed, despite the grueling obstacles of the pandemic’s grasp on the filmmaking industry, as well as the rampant homophobia and transphobia yet to be stomped out of the darkest corners of international society. With each coming year, the implementation of queer stories into mainstream Cinema improves, as does the handling of the LGBTQ individuals whose stories are told.
The film that stands out as a true beacon of hope for, as well as an homage to, the LGBTQ community is the Laverne Cox produced, ‘Disclosure,’ a documentary that sheds light on the reality of trans peoples’ experience in the entertainment industry, in front of and behind the cameras. This documentary is the epitome of positive queer representation as it is entirely produced by, starring, and dedicated to trans people as the history of transgender representation is critiqued and an improved future for transgender entertainment is called to action. From early depictions of trans people in the silent film era to the exciting potential that television series like ‘Pose’ hold for the media portrayal of trans people, ‘Disclosure’ is as empowering as it is informative for allies of the trans community eager to advocate for more diverse queer stories. Highlighting a beautiful and resilient community that is often underrepresented and mistreated, ‘Disclosure’ serves as a unifying celebration of the trans community’s legacy as well as their limitless future in entertainment.
Another film that exhibited 2020’s impressive catalogue of queer representation is ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ which sheds light on the overlooked life of the legendary blues singer, Ma Rainey. Not only has Rainey’s contribution to the genre of blues music been erased over time, but the songstress’s gay identity has also been wiped out. ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ elevates the story of a black gay woman from the trenches of obscurity to the platform of a hero brought to life by movie star Viola Davis. Other films of 2020 were spectacular in creating much-needed havens of queer joy for LGBTQ audiences such as Ryan Murphy’s, ‘The Prom’ and Clea DuVall’s ‘Happiest Season,’ both of which share inspiring, feel-good stories of gay and lesbian characters overcoming oppressive homophobic discrimination and finding the inevitable elation that accompanies self-acceptance.