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What Are The Biggest Themes Found In LGBTQ Stories?

Curious about the most common themes in LGBTQ fiction?

By Jay KobayashiPublished 10 months ago Updated 10 months ago 6 min read
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LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) stories have played a crucial role in shaping literature, cinema, and various forms of creative storytelling. These narratives from LGBTQ writers offer a unique perspective and have created stories based on the their experiences, struggles, and triumphs.

Through their stories, these diverse voices explore a wide range of themes that resonate with people across different backgrounds, fostering empathy, understanding, and social change. So in this article, we will dive into some of the biggest themes found in LGBTQ stories, examining their significance and impact on both the LGBTQ community and on society as a whole.

Self-Discovery

Some of the most common LGBTQ themes found in stories are the themes of self-discovery and the journey of coming out. Movies like Brokeback Mountain, Moonlight, and Love Simon, all feature narratives that revolve around characters who struggle to understand their sexual orientation.

This theme of self-discovery usually goes hand-in-hand with the theme of coming out, as characters who finally understand the nature of their sexual orientation are often faced with the challenge of finding people they can confide in about this personal truth.

The exploration of one’s true self and the decision to come out to family, friends, or society at large are central to many LGBTQ stories and are usually showcased in scenes that has no background music in order to highlight the heaviness of this personal truth coming out.

The emotional turmoil, fear, and the eventual empowerment experienced by these closeted characters during the process provides a relatable and universal element that resonates with readers and viewers within the LGBTQ community.

Love & Relationships

Love and relationships are universal themes that is fully understood by everyone on the planet, however, with LGBTQ stories they tend to explore the complexity of relationships with great depth. These narratives often depict a wide range of relationships showcasing all the different ways to show love and support, whether it is through romance, friendships, and even support networks.

Despite the amount of tropes that may have came from this exploration, television shows like Glee, Brooklyn 99, and Grey’s Anatomy all explore the subtle nuances of LGBTQ relationships. Whether it is finding love, challenging social stigmas and misunderstandings, or arguing with your partner over something trivial, television shows highlight these day-to-day occurrences in order to show how relatable LGBTQ characters are and that there shouldn’t be any divide based on one’s sexual orientation.

Meanwhile on the movie side, the depiction of love and relationships in LGBTQ movies take more of a dramatic role in depicting these themes showcasing how complex and difficult relationships can be. Movies like Blue is the Warmest Color, Chasing Amy, and Carol emphasize the power and value of human connections and challenges heteronormative ideals. This would all eventually culminate to address and promote the importance of acceptance and equality.

Identity & Authenticity

In relation to the themes of self-discovery, the theme of being authentic to one’s identity is an LGBTQ theme that examines the multifaceted nature of the human existence. Characters in these narratives proudly confront societal expectations, stereotypes, and prejudices as they try to navigate and broaden their own sense of self.

“Embrace yourself before society embraces you.” | Credit: Love, Victor (Hulu)

Shows like Euphoria, Transparent, and Orphan Black all present proud LGBTQ characters who not only challenge traditional notions of identity, but encourage like minded viewers to embrace their authentic selves. By celebrating diversity and promoting self-acceptance, these narratives inspire readers and viewers to question societal norms and cultivate a greater understanding of the fluidity of human identity.

Discrimination

Of course, at the heart of all LGBTQ themes and stories, discrimination is the key source of conflict in the majority of LGBTQ stories. Movies like Boys Don’t Cry and Milk address the challenges that the LGBTQ community faces in a society that often marginalizes, stigmatizes, and even violently attacks them.

In fact, contemporary films within last two decades highlights the lasting effects of homophobia. Movies such as Dallas Buyers Club showcases the stigmatization of being an ally of LGBTQ community and even shows off the damaging effects of homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of bigotry.

“Can themes of fluid sexuality be just as strong contemporary sexism?” | Credit: Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

By shining a spotlight on these issues, it actually allows other similar discrimination based social issues to be brought up in discussions. Whether these social issues are addressed or not, it invites the conversation to be made and LGBTQ themed stories played a crucial role for that in addition to fostering empathy, raising awareness, and catalyzing social change by showing the ugly violent side of discrimination.

Resilience, Empowerment, & Triumph

Despite the adversities they face, LGBTQ themed stories frequently emphasize the importance of resilience in ways that is unique to their own. The number of stories that showcase the strength and resilience of LGBTQ individuals as they navigate a world that is hostile and unsupportive towards their way of life is in the thousands.

However, as LGBTQ acceptance has grown so has the number of LGBTQ themed content and shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Queer Eye are revered for their entertainment value and making LGBTQ shows mainstream. Meanwhile animated shows like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and even Harley Quinn introduces a new side of storytelling that is not only empowering, but serves as a triumphant achievement for the community.

“One queen to rule them all.” | Credit: RuPaul’s Drag Race (MTV)

By portraying characters who overcome obstacles, find their voices, and embrace their authentic selves, LGBTQ stories provide hope and inspiration to its audience. In fact, there has been a noticeable shift in contemporary shows and movies, where they focus more on the idea that LGBTQ individuals should take more pride in their identity.

This furthers the encouraging notion that everyone should take pride in their identity and shouldn’t feel ashamed of who they are. As LGBTQ content continues to promote the idea that everyone deserves respect, acceptance, and the opportunity to live their lives authentically, we see this notions and themes being shown in newly developed television shows and movies.

All Caught Up Queen?

LGBTQ stories encompass a diverse range of themes, all of which contribute to a greater understanding of the LGBTQ experience and promote inclusivity and acceptance. From self-discovery to discrimination and resilience, these narratives explore the complexities of the human experience through an LGBTQ lens.

By Raphael Renter on Unsplash

By sharing these stories, LGBTQ individuals and allies can continue to challenge societal norms, break down barriers, and foster a more inclusive and compassionate world for everyone.

If you liked what you read, be sure to follow for more related content!

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About the Creator

Jay Kobayashi

A starving writer from LA who aspires to be plagiarized one day. I like to write about academic pieces that identifies philosophy and psychology in pop culture, and sometimes random fun pieces that interests me or the algorithm!

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  • Paul Russell10 months ago

    Hey Jay - really liked your article! I am enjoying the growing number of shows that freely demonstrate a support for the normality of relationships such as those amongst the LGBT community and all its peoples :) Latest film I saw on this was Nimona - where two of the main characters are gay and its done so well. See what you think :)

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