“If you are different from the crowd, you stand apart.” This is supposed to be a positive saying. But seldom has it meant much glee to those belonging to the LGBTQ community. Their emancipation has been long overdue and with countries like India striking down age-old laws against being LGBTQ, the clamor in support of equal rights for the community is steadily rising. The latest to voice his concern is Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snowon the show.
Kit, who recently attended theToronto International Film Festival(TIFF) with co-actors Thandie Newton, Emily Hampshireand director Xavier Dolanfor their filmThe Death and Life of John F. Donovan, talked toVariety about the representation of LGBTQ in mainstream cinema and other important walks of life.
He said,“There’s a big problem with the idea of masculinity and homosexuality. They can’t somehow go hand in hand. That we can’t have someone in a Marvel movie who’s gay in real life and plays some superhero.I mean, when is thatgonnahappen?”The film deals with a celebrity’s life, whose closet homosexual identity receives a tragic impact when the ‘truth’ gets surfaced in the society.
Newton remarked,“If we look at the sports industry, just the few people who have stepped into their true selves in an uncompromising way. The effect that would have in 10years! It is changing, but we have to get behind those changes and keep pushing it.’’
Xavier Dolanadded his voice to Kit’s, observing,“When I started writing Donovan, the Instagram was there but in the past year there have been so many young queer actors and actresses that came out through social media. But does that mean that the industry has changed in how it regards these talents and the opportunities it wants or doesn’t want to offer them”
“A lot of these people are my friends and they say ‘I am free now but I know I am notgoing toget the career I once wanted. But I am at peace with that because at least I can be who I am.’’’
Marvel has faced the uproar of the community in the past due to the lack of LGBTQ representation in theMarvel Cinematic Universe, especially when a scene inThor:Ragnarokthat could have hinted at Valkyrie’s bisexuality was eventually cut from the final edit.
Valkyrieis a member of an elite group of female warriors tasked to defend Thor’s home planet, Asgard, and the character is bisexual in the comic books. Other potential queer characters presently residing in the MCU have suffered similar fates such asLoki, Okoye & Ayo in Black Panther,Korgin Thor:Ragnarok, with none being able to come out on the big screen.
The case doesn’t just point to Marvel, but to other mainstream productions as well.DC Comicswriter Greg RuckaconfirmedWonder Womanas a bisexual character, which could have made her the first bisexual superhero on screen. But this finds no mention in the 2017Warner Brosfilm Wonder Woman.
This has led to aChange.org petition being filed byGLAAD(Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organization that shares LGBTQ stories to accelerate acceptance, to portray Wonder Woman’s bisexuality in the highly awaited sequel.
Recently,KevinFeige, President of Marvel Studios, had hinted at out LGBTQ characters in MCU in the future, from the ones we’ve already seen and the ones we haven’t yet seen on screen. But this remains a mere possibility unless an official confirmation is made.
As far as Game of Thrones goes, it has a fair share ofLGBTQ characters. Whether it’s Oberyn Martell andEllaria Sand’s flaunt of their bisexuality, Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell’s hidden gay romance or Yara Greyjoy’s fierce acceptance of being lesbian, the land of seven kingdoms & beyond has had no qualms of presenting queer identities. Though when it comes to the people from the LGBTQ community taking mainstream roles in the society, we have a long way to walk. What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.