Breaking Barriers: The Power of LGBTQ+ Media in Bridging Understanding and Empathy

As a fangirl of geek media and LGBTQ+ advocate, I am constantly on the lookout for media that represents and celebrates our community. That’s why I was thrilled to hear about my friend’s experience with the anime “Given”. I mentioned this before and today I’ll be discussing how everyone can enjoy LGBTQ+ media no matter who they are. So let’s talk!

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My friend (we’ll call him Sam) is a straight man, married with kids, and he stumbled upon the series while browsing Netflix. I was surprised and delighted to hear that he not only enjoyed the show, but it helped him work through some issues he was having in his personal life.

It’s not uncommon for people to assume that Yaoi, or Boys Love, is a genre exclusively for the LGBTQ+ community. However, as Sam’s story proves, the themes and emotions explored in these stories are universal and can be appreciated by anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. Through fiction, we can learn about and empathize with experiences that may be different from our own, and that is exactly what my friend did with “Given”.

My friend’s journey with “Given” started off as just a random browse online, finding some anime clips, but it quickly turned into a transformative experience. As he watched the story of Ritsuka and Mafuyu navigate their complex relationship, he found himself reflecting on his own relationship with his wife. He realized that he had become distant and disconnected from her, and that he was struggling to understand and connect with his children.

But as he continued to watch the anime, he was struck by the tenderness and vulnerability displayed by the characters, and he was moved to tears by their emotional journey. He saw how they communicated and worked through their problems, and he was inspired to do the same with his own family. He had heart-to-heart conversations with his wife and children, and he started to make a conscious effort to be more present and understanding.

Thanks to “Given”, my friend not only improved his relationships with his family, but he also became a huge ally for the LGBTQ+ community. He realized that the themes of love, communication, and acceptance are not exclusive to any particular sexual orientation, and that everyone can benefit from exploring them. He started seeking out other LGBTQ+ media, and he found that it not only helped him understand the experiences of others, but it also gave him a deeper appreciation for his own life. He even joined a local LGBTQ+ group and made some amazing friends who changed his life for the better. His transformation was truly a testament to the power of media to educate, inspire, and heal.

It’s important for all people, especially those who are not part of the LGBTQ+ community, to educate themselves through media like this. It can help break down barriers and promote understanding and acceptance. I encourage everyone to step out of their comfort zone and try something new this Valentine’s Day. Start by checking out some of the best LGBTQ+ graphic novels and visual novels out there. You can find recommendations on websites like Goodreads or at your local library.

In addition to the benefits that my friend experienced, there are countless other reasons why cisgender people should explore LGBTQ+ media. For one, it helps to break down the barriers of ignorance and prejudice by exposing individuals to different perspectives and experiences. By learning about the lives and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, people can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the diversity that makes up our world.

Moreover, LGBTQ+ media often explores themes and issues that are relevant to everyone. For example, many boys love stories delve into topics such as love, friendship, self-discovery, and personal growth. These are all universal experiences that we can all relate to and can be made all the more powerful through the lens of LGBTQ+ stories.

One great way for cisgender people to explore LGBTQ+ media is through visual novels. These interactive games often allow players to experience the story in a much more immersive and personal way than simply watching a movie or reading a book. They offer the unique opportunity to connect with the characters and the story on an emotional level. You also play as a character different than you which means you are living in someone else’s shoes, mind and choices.

There are also numerous resources available for those looking to dive into LGBTQ+ media. Websites like Velvet Park Media specialize in featuring LGBTQ+ media, including visual novels, interviews, artists and graphic novels. There are also many online communities, such as the All Ages of Geek Discord, where fans can connect with others and discuss their favorite stories.

Here are some resources that can help you explore and learn more about LGBTQ+ media:

  1. GLAAD – GLAAD is a media advocacy organization that works to accelerate acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. They offer a variety of resources, including a media reference guide, news and events, and resources for media professionals.
  2. The Trevor Project – The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ young people. They also offer resources for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and allies.
  3. Outfest – Outfest is the world’s leading organization that promotes LGBTQ+ equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ+ stories on the screen.
  4. The Center for LGBTQ Studies – The Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS) is the first university-based research center in the United States devoted to the study of historical, cultural, and political issues of vital concern to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals and communities.
  5. LGBTQ National Help Center – The LGBTQ National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides peer support and information to the LGBTQ+ community.
  6. PFLAG – PFLAG is a national organization that provides support, education, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ people, their families, and allies.
  7. The Human Rights Campaign – The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national LGBTQ+ civil rights organization that works to achieve equality for LGBTQ+ people. They offer resources and advocacy for LGBTQ+ individuals and families, as well as for employers and educators.

These are just a few of the many resources available for those interested in learning more about LGBTQ+ media and issues. By exploring these organizations and their offerings, you can gain a deeper understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and the issues that affect it, as well as find ways to support and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

One of the best things about reading LGBTQ+ media is that you can support the creators and the community. By purchasing books or streaming shows, you are helping to amplify the voices of these groups and show that their stories are valuable and worth telling. So, this Valentine’s Day, why not show your love for the LGBTQ+ community by diving into some new and exciting media? You never know what impact it may have on your life, just like it did for my friend.

I Married a Monster on a Hill by All Ages of Geek

On the other hand, series like “I Married a Monster on a Hill” by All Ages of Geek is a good example of how representation can be done right. The comic has been voiced and beta-read by LGBTQ+ editors, voice actors and talents, and it focuses on the wholesome. It gives a realistic representation of the LGBTQ+ community and their daily life and struggles without being stereotypical. Be sure to read it over on WEBTOON and subscribe there.

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