What Is Queer Visibility and Why Should You Care?

I was freshly out of college (an experience that pulled me out of a homophobic fundamentalist small town and quite honestly saved my life) when I had an unexpectedly profound experience in a movie theatre. I had to just now look up the year. Apparently it was 2005, I guess not really all that long ago. It seems like a lifetime ago.

It was the movie Brokeback Mountain. A heavy film, for sure. Inspiring and uplifting it wasn’t. But it reached inside into an untouched place in me I didn’t even know was there. Up to that point, I had watched TV and movies play out humanity. Love, sex and heartache and all that. But all of it of the heterosexual variety. Every single time I had to sort of translate it for myself. Imagine a little harder.

But then there I was, sitting in a mainstream movie theatre watching handsome movie stars like Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger lock lips passionately. I had never quite experienced that before. For the first time, I didn’t have to “translate” anything.

It might seem silly to some. It’s just a movie after all, right? That’s how one might feel if you were allowed to take it for granted. This pride month, you might encounter the phrase “queer visibility” and this is an example of what I’m speaking of. Marginalized people feel invisible. Often, it’s not just a feeling, they ARE invisible as far as representation in media. But the more a person is allowed to SEE themselves, to experience a reflection of their own life in stories, they feel a little less alone in the world. And that is profound. It also increases acceptance in culture and lowers violence and prejudice.

Ammo, who plays “Luke” in the upcoming LGBTQIA series Stranger Hearts says, “There is so little queer representation on TV, so projects like this one where the cast is almost entirely LGBTQIA are vital. Pride season is upon us and before we get stuck in the trap of pandering corporations looking for our queer dollars, consider putting resources into a queer project by queer people, creating queer art.”

To learn more about the series Stranger Hearts visit www.strangerhearts.com

by Kevin James Thornton

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