Visibility to Acceptance

What do Hunger Games, PRIDE, Barbie dolls, and RuPaul’s Drag Race have in common? Visibility! The inclusion of minority actors, events, mainstream products, and entertainment with minority involvement is not derived from using minorities as props or stereotypically portrayed clowns. 

When I was newly out of the closet about 15 years ago, LGBTQ people were relegated to clownish portrayals on TV or they were victims in crime dramas as a sensationalized twist. Individuals with DS were also portrayed in a negative light as more of a jokeish punchline. We have come so far in trying to fully include minorities in the public sphere in all sorts of stories and motivations more deserving of the diverse populations. But those inclusions, even the bad ones, gave visibility. They let the family or child know that they were not the only one. They normally showed some value of the character as a human. It was a starting point.

Around that time, the It Gets Better Project launched where people of all types would make short YouTube videos aimed at preventing suicide letting young LGBTQ people know it does get better. And standing on this side of those 15 years, I can emphatically state, “It gets better!”. This movement was important because it was one of the first times huge diverse groups from all walks of life made a message to the LGBTQ community. It had celebrities, politicians, faith leaders, normal people, and intellectual leaders. The voice was inclusive visible and hope-filled. 

After that, things progressively got better for both groups as bit by bit minorities were made visible as not just the butt of a joke. Will and Grace added some depth, all be shallow, to gay characters. Victoria’s Secret had a model with DS. In TV,  Call the Midwife, Stumptown, and more have had characters with DS. RuPaul was mainstream media to the point of being in an SNL skit. Survivor had a trans man defended by his tribe when his being trans was an attack on his truthfulness. It has gotten better, but we still lack acceptance. 

It Gets Better Project was a call to perceive and get to a better place, and moving for global acceptance through the GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge is a call for the community to do a bit of the work on how they view and treat other people. This month brings PRIDE and GiGi’s Playhouse’s movement for universal acceptance of all people. This adds visibility as people of all types move for acceptance. Please join the GiGiFIT Acceptance Challenge and help make the world a more accepting place, and take the #GenerationG pledge to show your support for acceptance.     

I have the same hope that it gets better when I look another 15 years in the future when Freddy, my son, will be coming of age. The visibility laid now via GiGi’s Playhouse’s movement for universal acceptance and other visible inclusive projects will bear acceptance in the future. Let’s all make the future a better more accepting one for ALL of us.

Happy PRIDE month!

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