CNN no Plural+: How strong is our representation?

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More than twenty years ago I came out as I am: a gay cis man .

There have been many stages of growth so far.

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And even though I feel mature, I confess that when the invitation to write the column for the CNN no Plural+ I caught.

I stopped because I didn’t know if they would like it.

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I stopped for the responsibility of taking on that flag.

I stopped because after the first article published I would be, as I joke, “officially gay”.

I have no return path and I have no intention of returning. I make it clear that this is not possible.

There have already been 23 articles published in almost six months of work.

And that’s why today’s topic is something that I’ve learned all this time to value a lot: the place of speech.

And do you know your place? Or rather, first: do you know what the queerbaiting ?

I think it’s this push-up, when you try to manipulate the audience. Generally speaking, it is manipulation. Queerbaiting is you manipulating both audiences, both LGBTQIA+ and normative straight.

Fabio Audi, actor and photographer

Who explains the expression is the actor and photographer Fabio Audi . He became known after playing the teenager Gabriel, who falls in love with his visually impaired friend, in the feature “Today I Want to Go Back Alone”. The film (2014, originally a 2011 short) portrays the same-sex relationship between the two with normality and sensitivity.

With respect to queerbaiting and the “forced bar” he mentions is when someone or some work uses the ideals of the LGBTQIA+ flag to attract this audience, but is not transparent about the positioning of support for the community and only seeks financial return. Fabio is a gay cis man.

The impact of queerbaiting is precisely that it does not collaborate in the already so painful, so destructive process that is the process of being born gay. I am from 1987 and it is very painful to arrive in the world, to realize super new that you are gay and that this is seen as a problem for society, that this is a situation that will generate shame”, says the actor.

Sorry Fabio, but I also need to share with everyone that I agree with you one hundred percent. The process, in addition to being painful, is also lonely.

When you enter adolescence and start to like a guy, what do you “normally” do?

… Hides in fear of what will happen. The turbulent fifteen-year-old passion turns to the panic of being discovered.

Then you mature and struggle in an attempt to accept, you confuse a lot of things, because you think you have something wrong. And you look for love in another way. We don’t have any worthy references, no authentic references since childhood, in my case, of 2 men in love, for example”, explains Fabio Audi.

We look for something to reference all the time. And at our age, what we found on television: the comedian who “plays” the “happy fag”, with all the ways to make fun of friends and family. Or the possible relationship between two people of the same gender completely “in the closet” – that we were touched by a simple look, but that was nothing more than that. Everything was veiled, nothing was said.

Anyone born until the mid-1990s didn’t see love between two men just as love.

We go to the movies, we watch soap operas, we live these experiences through images. Images provoke, teach and everything in between. So I think that when you have representation, for example, in the case of ‘Today I want to go back alone’, which is a film that portrays the love of two teenagers, it’s a subtle way and at the same time it shows sincerity. If one of the characters is gay and you don’t reveal it, you don’t generate transparency, you know?

Fabio Audi, actor and photographer

And not generating this transparency is queerbaing. Lead the audience to believe in a certain sexual orientation of the character and not reveal it.

What for? What slice of reality did you make? How did this work help to reduce prejudice in such an LGBTphobic society? It’s bringing new doors to the closet.

If you’re going to describe a character who is gay, then why can’t he meet, have a date? He can meet someone, he can date, he can get frustrated. So I think queerbaiting is precisely this non-fulfillment of this transparency, of what would be something true. We can watch that and recognize that and learn from that and be provoked by that in a complete way”, says Fabio.

And do you know how we can understand the importance of all this?

When you take the place of speech.

Not that an actor has to be gay to play a homosexual, but if this work is written and has the participation of someone from the community, in every gesture, speech and cry on stage, I’m sure it will come loaded with truth from those who lived and lives the challenges of being who we are.

I felt a lot of frustration when I watched series and movies. Because it felt like the creators were ashamed of the relationship between those characters. Because I saw myself in those characters, but when I saw that things never came to fruition, my tendency was to believe that for me, too, things would never come to fruition.

Gautier Lee, director and screenwriter

Anyone who talks about the frustration of not seeing themselves represented is Gautier Lee – now screenwriter and director who insists on bringing the strength of representation to his works.

Gautier is a black, non-binary person. In addition to other audiovisual successes, she wrote the script for the second season of the series “Back to 15”which is in production by Netflix.

A quick explanation of the series for you to understand her important work. The story is about a woman, Anita, who goes back and forth in time, to the time when she was fifteen. In the past, she is played by Maisa Silva. In the present, she is Camila Queiroz.

But in addition to Anita, a character from the series interests us a lot. Caesar. César is a boy who is discovering himself in adolescence. However, when there is the passage of time to the present, it presents itself as Camila , a trans girl. And all this being handled the way it has to be: normal.

I think removing this stigmatization and bringing the character to everyday life is what makes people realize that trans people are not a seven-headed animal, they are just people who wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, go to study, go to work, go to live. life and come home at night. And that’s it, it’s a completely ordinary person, just with identity problems and different experiences, but in the end… it’s just an ordinary person”, declares Gautier.

And for us to be able to show the normality of being different, it is necessary that not only the front, but the back of the cameras is also different.

People with enough decision-making power to insert LGBTQIA+ narratives that are doable with reality. Because the queerbaiting it can happen ‘unintentionally’ – but if there are LGBTQIA+ people involved in the projects, the chances of it happening decrease.

That is, beyond a mere place of speech, representativeness matters for the quality of the stories brought to the screen.

We need to have LGTBQIA+ people within the major platforms so that content that is anti-lgbt does not go forward, so that it is corrected. Because everyone is prone to mistakes, but there is a very large team behind each audiovisual production – if we have only one person, only one LGBT person within a team of 50, 100, 200 people, how can this single person person will make the work genuine? It really takes a task force within the creative industry for us to actually end queerbaiting. This ranges from a professionalization program so that LGBT people can access more spaces, improve their curricula and assume these leadership and decision-making positions.

Gautier Lee, director and screenwriter

And has it been better than this? Being inside the work in every way, seeing yourself and realizing that we are one more.

  • Production: Letícia Brito and Carol Raciunas



Source: CNN Brasil

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