How LGBTQ+ Representation Behind the Scenes Can Positively Impact On-Screen Narratives

Posted on: Jun 04, 2024

Photo Credit: Southworks // Shutterstock

By Benjamin Hickson

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in film and television. While much attention has been focused on the visibility of queer characters on-screen, the impact of LGBTQ+ representation behind the scenes is equally significant. The perspectives, experiences and voices of LGBTQ+ individuals working in the industry contribute to a more honest and grounded portrayal of queer characters and storylines. 

Increasing LGBTQ+ representation behind the scenes has been my mission since starting in this industry. I truly believe that having a crew from various backgrounds and experiences can positively influence on-screen narratives.

Having this representation behind the scenes can play a big hand in shaping storytelling, character development and audience perceptions. This Pride month, I wanted to dive deeper into the influence of LGBTQ+ representation behind the scenes and show that it extends far beyond the credits.

Diverse Perspectives in Story Development 

When LGBTQ+ individuals are involved in the creative process as writers, directors or producers, they bring their lived experiences, insights and personal narratives to the storytelling process. This results in richer, more authentic portrayals of queer characters and narratives that resonate with LGBTQ+ audiences on a deeper level. Growing up, I remember the queer characters were always so one-sided—they were either the comic relief or they had some deeply depressing story and that was it.

Now that LGBTQ+ representation behind the scenes has increased, we’ve seen an increase in diverse, complex and fully developed characters that represent real-life queer experiences.

A queer writer may draw inspiration from their coming out journey to craft a compelling storyline that explores the complexities of identity and acceptance. Similarly, a director who identifies as LGBTQ+ may bring a unique visual sensibility and emotional depth to scenes depicting queer relationships or experiences. By infusing personal perspectives into the creative process, LGBTQ+ creators contribute to a more honest and multifaceted portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters and themes.

Inclusive Casting and Authentic Representation 

Having an LGBTQ+ crew also allows for more inclusive casting decisions and authentic representation. When LGBTQ+ individuals are involved in casting processes, they can advocate for the inclusion of queer actors in roles that authentically reflect their identities and experiences.

This not only provides opportunities for LGBTQ+ actors to showcase their talent, but also ensures that queer characters are portrayed with authenticity and sensitivity. 

Authenticity is a key part of the LGBTQ+ community, so the representation will positively influence the way queer characters are written and portrayed in scripts, and will allow audiences to better connect with the characters. LGBTQ+ writers and producers allow for a better understanding of queer experiences on-set, and can take charge in steering the narrative away from harmful stereotypes and clichés in favor of more authentic, and fully realized characters.

Creators can challenge mainstream narratives, push boundaries and elevate the visibility of queer stories on-screen. This not only enriches the cultural landscape, but also fosters a sense of belonging and validation for LGBTQ+ viewers who see themselves represented in the media.

As a young gay kid, all I wanted was to see people like me authentically represented in the shows and movies I liked. Times are changing for the better, but we still have a long way to go as far as authentic representation of the LGBTQ+ community. It is so important to me that this industry continues its work in accurately representing the queer community, both on and off the screen.

Impact on Audience Perceptions and Social Change

When viewers see authentic, positive portrayals of LGBTQ+ characters and relationships on-screen, it can challenge stereotypes, combat stigma and foster empathy and understanding. By humanizing queer experiences and identities, representation behind the scenes helps to create a more inclusive media landscape where LGBTQ+ stories are valued and respected.

Less than 5% of the population identifies as trans or nonbinary, so a majority of the population has not met, or does not know anyone who is trans or nonbinary. Audience perceptions depend on what is represented in the media, and therefore, accurately depicting LGBTQ+ characters and relationships can go a long way toward acceptance and forward social change.

Film and TV have been known to help inspire real-world change. By empowering LGBTQ+ individuals to tell their own stories, they are more effectively able to advocate for social justice and growth. I love this industry, and I feel that by advocating for more representation I can help create an environment on-set where everyone feels welcome to express who they are. This, in turn, allows for better stories and better performances by those on-screen.

As we continue to strive for greater diversity and inclusion in the media, the importance of LGBTQ+ representation behind the scenes cannot be overstated, and no matter how you identify, or who you love, you are welcomed with open arms in this industry. Happy Pride!

Benjamin Hickson is an aspiring producer and production coordinator who has 4+ years experience working on various Film and TV projects. He has a background in Public Relations and served for six years in the military. He also has passion for travel and aims to increase LGBTQ+ representation in the entertainment industry.

Browse thousands of jobs and find your next gig! Sign up or login to Staff Me Up and get on-set today!

You may also like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *