Has pop culture affected our society’s views of the LGBTQ+ community?

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Has pop culture affected our society's views of the LGBTQ+ community?

From the fun-loving qualities Mitch and Cam have to offer, to the scandalous love lives of Ian Gallagher and Mickey Maguire, LGBTQ+ representation in movies and TV shows have brought excitement and diversity to our screens.

In the past decade, movies and TV shows have begun to include representation of the LGBTQ+ community in their projects. Several TV shows — such as “The Fosters,” “Gossip Girl” and “Glee” — include LGBTQ+ storylines and help give the community something to relate to.

To gain a better understanding of how pop culture impacts perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community, we visited San Fransisco, one of the most influential cities in the gay rights movement.

“It’s important to see a variety of people in pop culture and media,” podcaster Rebekah Olivera said. “Being a youth, and a lot of people watching the media, it gives them an opportunity to say ‘Hey, I can relate to that.'”

Their partner, Nissa Guerrero, added: “Some of the things I’ve seen on Netflix and TV, I think to myself, ‘That’s good for straight people to see, that’s good for straight people to see that exists.’”

San Fransisco resident George Gbadebo said that there is no shame in being different. Instead, he said, people should come together and embrace our differences, as some of these shows exemplify.

“Looking back to a couple years ago, you wouldn’t really see any of that on TV, or anything like that,” Gbadebo said. “For kids now, even younger than 21, seeing something like that on TV makes them feel empowered to say, ‘Okay, even if I’m gay, bisexual, trans, or whatever, it’s pretty much normalized.’”

In comparison to previous years, celebrities now find it much easier to speak out and participate in the discussion of LGBTQ+ rights. Following President Trump’s policy of banning transgender people from participating in the military, former One Direction band member Liam Payne posted a quote from the Declaration of Independence on his Instagram.

“I think celebrities coming out will help people feel more accepted and make people more comfortable in their own skin, even for in a classroom setting” said Annette, a San Fransisco native.

As a response to an Entertainment Weekly interview with Shawn Mendes regarding his transgender producer Teddy Geiger — where Mendes said he will try to not include he or she pronouns in his latest album — San Francisco passerby Frederika said that kind of advocacy is very beautiful. Similarly, Brittany, a San Fransisco crossing guard, said such support from allies is the best method of acceptance of the community.

“People don’t talk about it, and talking about it is better than not talking about it at all,” Brittany said.

With this in mind, movies and TV shows will continue to produce content that engages all audiences and supports people of all demographics — and that push for inclusion in pop culture will likely help spur acceptance and activism.

“You’re not born choosing your sexuality,” Frederika said. “When someone is referring to a person as ‘she,’ or I have some friends that go by the names ‘they’ and ‘them,’ it makes someone who’s trans feel like they are more included, they feel like they are more part of the community, like accepted. Everyone wants to feel accepted.”