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  • Damaris Chanza

Pride Representation in Television

It's Pride Month, and you know I love any reason to highlight representation in the media.

June is Pride Month, and pride parades and events are clamoring on in full force. Pride media is at an all-time high during pride month, but regular integration is still sparse. Undoubtedly, the LGBTQIA+ community has gone through so much unnecessary controversy and is still experiencing hardships such as representation in media.

When an LGBTQIA+ character is on screen, their storyline almost entirely focuses on their dramatic and sometimes traumatic coming out story. Despite knowing the importance of coming out, I think there are so many more types of stories that could be told involving these characters. On the off chance that coming out is not the main storyline, the characters are often one-dimensional, with "gay" being their only personality trait or descriptor.

I'm not going to pretend to know what constitutes excellent LGBTQIA+ representation, but as an ally, I am more than willing to be educated. The characters I have chosen to highlight are based on shows I have seen and enjoyed. These are characters who I feel have some depth and complexity regardless of their sexual orientation.

I hope that LGBTQIA+ representation in television improves and includes dynamic characters with well-written storylines. Representation just for representation's sake is not enough.

My list of pride representation in television is not in any particular order.

1. Callie Torres

Played By: Sara Ramirez

TV Show: Grey's Anatomy

Callie is bisexual. Throughout her eleven-season run on the show, she experiments with her sexuality. Her coming-out story was filled with love, although she had some opposition from her religious parents. She became a strong advocate for queerness and empowered women.

2. Arizona Robbins

Played By: Jessica Capshaw

TV Show: Grey's Anatomy

Arizona is lesbian. She evolves from a promiscuous woman to a wife and mom throughout her ten-season run on the show. Arizona is also an amputee, but most of her obstacles are work-related when she chooses to change specialties amidst her crumbling marriage.

3. Rue Bennett

Played By: Zendaya

TV Show: Euphoria

Rue doesn't clearly label herself, but does have a romantic relationship with a girl. Rue's storyline focuses on her drug addiction and how that affects the people she loves most, including her girlfriend.

4. Jules Vaughn

Played By: Hunter Schafer

TV Show: Euphoria

Jules is a transgender woman who is attracted to both men and women. She struggled with mental illness and gender dysphoria, which only worsened when her mother forced her into psychiatric treatment. She is one of the many people affected by Rue's drug addiction.

5. Ian Gallagher

Played By: Cameron Monaghan

TV Show: Shameless

Ian is gay. He is very hard-working and determined once he narrows down a goal. However, his bipolar disorder makes choosing a goal difficult. Ian is a family man, often caring for his siblings, his father, and eventually his husband.

6. Mickey Milkovich

Played By: Noel Fisher

TV Show: Shameless

Mickey is gay. Mickey was raised as a hoodlum or gangster, quick to choose violence as a solution. However, he completely melts and shows his sensitive and caring side towards his husband.

7. Jude Adams Foster

Played By: Hayden Byerly

TV Show: The Fosters, Good Trouble

Jude is gay. Lesbian mothers raised him, so his coming out was filled with acceptance and love. Despite a rough upbringing in the foster system, Jude is a very peaceful and happy character who is always capable of seeing the bright side of any situation.

8. Lana Winters

Played By: Sarah Paulson

TV Show: American Horror Story

Lana is a lesbian but secretly lives her romantic life to avoid social repercussions. She is a strong-willed reporter who is determined to get the story that will make her famous.

9. Ana Morales

Played By: Karrie Martin

TV Show: Gentefied

Ana is a lesbian artist. She often finds herself caught between the passionate and commercial sides of art. She has a hard time balancing familial, romantic, and community responsibilities.

10. Alex Mercer

Played By: Owen Patrick Joyner

TV Show: Julie and the Phantoms

Alex is a gay teenage ghost. He accidentally died when eating a bad hot dog. He is a sensitive drummer focused on finding his unfinished business.

11. Fabiola Torres

Played By: Lee Rodriguez

TV Show: Never Have I Ever

Fabiola's storyline consists of her exploring her sexuality. She is an awkward robotics nerd and a loyal friend.

12. Loki

Played By: Tom Hiddleston

TV Show: Loki

Loki is best described as a trickster who has been "burdened with glorious purpose." After many appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki takes on his own show where he grapples with the consequences of his actions. He revealed to have had relationships with men.

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