Is it time for more diverse characters in children’s television?

Being positively represented through the media and on television has greatly improved with the help from social media, the music industry and film. More and more people are able to see a reflection of themselves within these spheres of society. From gender to race equality, the media is taking a step in the right direction in praising diversity and becoming more inclusive for smaller and more ignored communities. 

Within children’s television it is obviously important to see LGBT relationships being represented. Not being a member of the LGBT community, there are few issues with heterosexual representation as it is typically presented as the norm. However, it’s interesting to see the impact having someone to look up to and associate with has on self confidence and acceptance. 

Typically within film there is the token ‘gay best friend’ and their character does not tend to exceed that. Although technically yes there is a gay reprentative but this still leaves a very large percentage of the community still unrepresnted and ignored. 

When talking to Ciara Mason a member of the LGBT community she gave her perspective on the importance of gay representatives within film and the media.

Within Disney there has been issues with the types of characters that are representing the LGBT community. Members of the LGBT community felt an injustice with the look and characterisation of those supposedly representing them in Disney’s newest film ‘Onward’ and argued the LGBT characters in cartoons always tend to follow a trend as looking as undesirable as possible, fans are not for arguing this.

In some countries Disney’s ‘Onward’ has been banned due to the reference of a lesbian relationship between two characters in the film. The passing comment of police officer ‘Specter’ in the film; “It’s not easy being a new parent – my girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out, okay?” did not down well within multiple Middle Eastern countries and has banned the film from all cinemas. In Russia, although still showing the film, ‘girlfriend’ and the mention of Specter’s gender has been removed to avoid any reference to an LGBT character at all.  

However, within the UK, there has been more references to couples and relationships in children’s tv programmes that exceed the typical husband and wife, male and female dynamic. From refraining to just representing a single community of people and praising diversity has had a positive impact on children.

The above statistics clearly suggest the lack of LGBT representation has a negative impact on members of the community. Seeing more diverse people would have a positive impact on a wider scale on not just self acceptance but also from others who are not aware of the issues at hand.

Introducing the concept of LGBT couples and relationships within children’s tv shows and in schools will help to create a wider acceptance for members of the community and those outside of it too. There has been progress for these communities, especially within the UK, however, it does remain a global issue and one that needs to be solved.

Featured image credit: Anthony Quintano ©

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