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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Are all gay men flamboyant on Hispanic television?

Por Damian

Nobody can deny that in the past years there has been improvements regarding inclusion and respect toward the sexual minorities on the media in the United States, but despite that, Spanish-language television channels continue to downgrade and misrepresent the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender collective (LGBTQ) in their dramatic programming, reported The New Herald.

Between July 2016 and June of 2017, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) analyzed all the characters portrayed on the three main Hispanic-speaking networks (Univision, Telemundo and UniMás) in primetime. The bilingual report, named “Still Invisibles” contains disheartening numbers: the organization identified only 19 LGBTQ characters of the 698 displayed, equivalent to a 3 percent.

The study also suggests that LGBTQ characters in “telenovelas” and series produced in Miami and Latin America are often conceived with pejorative features, under the prism of social prejudices and myths commonly accepted in those societies. The programming usually repeats the usual stigmas and clichés around homosexuality. In the few telenovelas where they are portrayed, gay men are shown as mannered males while lesbian women are represented as masculine females. What does it say? Well that the authors have a reductive view when it comes to this particular minority and that these characters are being caricatured to the extreme. The humorous dyes and the nervous disguise of the sexual orientation of these persons in the plots are absorbed in a deep homophobia.

Also, "disproportionately, the authors resorted to bisexuality as a tool to raise the sexual content on the screen, instead of displaying it as a legitimate orientation," GLAAD concluded in the report, which collects brief descriptions of each LGBTQ figure and their respective roles in the scripts. Using that study as a source, The New Herald produced a video report, with Spanish and English versions, showing the ridicule and wrong representation all the viewers can be perceived in the LGBTQ characters from telenovelas and drama series.

There is no doubt about the fact that this situation raises stigmas and obsolete myths about sexual and gender minorities. "The lack of inclusion or incorporating completely stereotyped characters solely as a comic element can have detrimental consequences on the audience, both in the LGBTQ community and in the other spectators," wrote in the introduction to the report Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD.