The Queer Hollywood series brings LGBT representation into the spotlight with films that don’t “tokenize” their characters.
This year’s installations focus on representations of LGBT people of color in movies. Ohio University’s LGBT Center will host Blackbird, The Color Purple and Bessie Smith in March and April — each for one night only. The screening of Bessie Smith was rescheduled for a date to be determined
“This series is sort of an opportunity to raise awareness about who we are as a community historically and the contributions … of queer people,” delfin bautista, the director of the LGBT Center, said.
If You Go:
When: 4 p.m., Wednesday
Where: LGBT Center, Baker 354
What: The Color Purple
When: 4 p.m., April 5
Where: LGBT Center, Baker 354
The Center wants to balance mainstream films, independent films and documentaries.
“Some are considered to be classics within the LGBT world,” bautista, who uses the lowercase spelling of their name and they/them pronouns, said. They also show newer films and ones where the queer themes are less central to the story and characters.
Films with queer themes help “normalize different sexualities and gender identities,” Emma Wooldridge, a senior studying social work who works at the LGBT center, said.
Anna Turner, a junior studying women’s, gender and sexuality studies and a member of the LGBT center, said with showing The Color Purple the Center makes an effort in “queering the lens” so people can consider it from another point of view.
“The storylines that have to do with sexuality, when the film was made, were not as forefront and central because of fear at the time,” bautista said.
Through Queer Hollywood, the center wishes people to view LGBT characters as more than that specific part of their identity.
Blackbird details the life of a young black gay man who tries to balance his sexuality and religion while living in a conservative town.
But not every religion is set against LGBT people, bautista said.
“There are movements within Christianity, within Islam, within Buddhism, within Hinduism, within Judaism where folks are reconciling faith, sexuality and gender from the perspective of their religion,” bautista said.
Another important element of this year’s selections was the focus on LGBT people of color.
“Within the LGBTQ community, there’s still narratives that tend to get overlooked, especially queer people of color,” Turner said.
A film can wrongly focus on a certain type of LGBT person that wasn’t as relevant when those events actually happened, Turner said. She mentioned Stonewall and how the story centered around a gay, white male when the most important figures from the Stonewall riots were transgender women of color.
“Often times, what we see in the media are very white, gay male images, and so this is an opportunity to sort of shift that and deconstruct that,” bautista said.
Queer Hollywood means to raise awareness and continue discussion about issues in relation to LGBT people, bautista said.
In addition, those films show people that “normal doesn’t look one way,” Wooldridge said.