[An image of Avatar Korra, Buck Vu, Captain Raymond Holt, Sophia Burset and Selina Kyle with the text “LGBTQ characters of color”.]
Note I: If you send me a character for the list, please tell me their ethnicity in your comment/message and as much detail a you can! Note II: Mixed-race, white passing actors are totally counted as long as they consider themselves non-white, even if the piece of media whitewashed their characters. Actors who don’t match the race/ethnicity of the character, specially in the case of white actors playing non-white roles, will also be clarified. Note III: If you see any character is missing details or has any incorrect information, let me know!
Note I: If you send me a couple for the list, please tell me their ethnicity in your comment/message and as much detail a you can! Note II: Mixed-race, white passing actors are totally counted as long as they consider themselves non-white, even if the movies whitewashed their characters. Actors who don’t match the race/ethnicity of the character, specially in the case of white actors playing non-white roles, will also be clarified. Note III: If you see any couple is missing details or has any incorrect information, let me know!
If you want to read more on the importance of interracial relationships between people of color being shown in media, check out this post.
Anonymous asked: How do you feel about the upcoming Mexican Pixar movie about the day of the dead?
Listen, Jorge Gutierrez was rejected by Disney Pixar and by basically every other major animation producer when he tried to make The Book Of Life. If Del Toro hadn’t come along and agreed to produce the movie himself, TBOL would have never seen the light of day. (source)
GUTIERREZ: I had this movie for 14 years. Ever since I was in film school, I wanted to make it. When I got out, I pitched it to every studio and everybody told me the same thing. “You’re just some dumb kid out of school, and no one’s interested in the subject matter, and there’s no audience for Hispanic movies.” It took a long time. Eventually, I pitched the movie to Guillermo’s people four times and he said, “No.”
DEL TORO: When I heard it was on the Day of the Dead, in the last 15 years I had heard many, many Day of the Dead pitches. I didn’t like it because they were all postcard, folkloric, or coldly calculated things and none of them felt personal. Finally, Cary Granat said, “You have to meet the guy and see some of the art. If you don’t relate to that, that’s it.” So I met with Jorge – he’ll tell you the story – but I immediately connected to it because it was personal to him. For me to produce, I am so busy. I don’t have a personal life. I am a ruin. I’m dedicated to projects that support my family that goes with me. They cannot integrate themselves into that life. But I said, “Do I want to do this?” When I met Jorge, I knew there was something that we could do beautifully together, but more important than anything, I wanted to protect the movie. One of the reasons I was interested is because the things that make the movie great now are the things I knew were going to get us a lot of “no’s” from the studios.
If TBOL hadn’t gotten as much critical acclaim as it did and gotten enough revenue for Fox to approve a sequel and possibly a third movie too, Coco would have never become a serious project.
On the one hand we have TBOL, which was imagined, written, produced and directed by Mexican artists. On the other hand we have Disney, who rejected Jorge Gutierrez’ proposal for a Mexican-based movie and who tried to trademark “Day of the Dead” to make money off it after TBOL was announced (source).
I mean, sure, the same cartoonist who said this:
“How could Disney allow such a blunder,” marveled Lalo Alcaraz, a Mexican-American editorial cartoonist and founder of Pocho.com. “I knew they weren’t copyrighting the holiday, but I couldn’t believe they would let someone in their legal department let this happen. On the surface, it looks like Disney is trying to copyright the holiday.”
[image: a cartoon of Mickey Mouse as a skeleton destroying a city, with the legend “Muerto Mouse: it’s coming to trademark your cultura!”]
Several years ago, when Disney tried to trademark the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was one of the most vocal critics. That’s why it came as a surprise to many when news broke this week that Pixar, which is owned by Disney, hired Alcaraz to work on its animated film “Coco” that’s centered on the Mexican holiday. (…) Several years ago, when Disney tried to trademark the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz was one of the most vocal critics. That’s why it came as a surprise to many when news broke this week that Pixar, which is owned by Disney, hired Alcaraz to work on its animated film “Coco” that’s centered on the Mexican holiday.
But Disney’s intentions are still suspicious. I mean, their treatment of Elena of Avalor has already been more than questionable… For starters, the fact that the first Latina princess in Disney’s history gets a TV-show instead of a movie. (source)
TV is great, but all of the major Disney princesses appeared on film, first. So, what does is say when there’s no Latina princess with her own movie? (…) We could give Disney the benefit of the doubt since they may not be able to milk two new princesses at the same time, but that also means they decided Elena isn’t worthy of the big screen treatment. Despite that fact that in 2015 alone, Disney released 12 feature films.
Disney could’ve added Elena to its slate. It’s not too big of a burden for Disney to create a princess who represents 17% of the nation’s population — which is why I refuse to accept that the Latina community’s first Disney princess will not be in theaters.
As a Latina, I’m sick of being told to be grateful to have a princess when movie after movie features strong, usually white, heroines. And while I’m a light-toned Puerto Rican (that’s a whole other can of worms), I believe my culture deserves to be viewed by a national audience, not just households with kids 5 and under.
Latinas haven’t waited 79 years and fought for recognition to accept a supporting role.
And then we have the fact that she… She isn’t even Latina. She’s a caricature. She represents no actual Latinx in the entire continent. (source)
Elena isn’t indigenous or Afro-Latina or from a specific Latin-American country. She is a thin, light-brown Latina princess from Avalor, a made up Latin-American-esque kingdom that exists in a pre-colonial, pre-Columbian world. This, by the way, is baffling: how does one understand their Latino identity without acknowledging colonialism? While the backdrop of Elena is influenced by Mayan culture and Chilean folklore, her race and ethnicity is otherwise based in Disney fantasy.
To add to it, “Coco” sounds like a straight plagiarism from TBOL (source)
According to Entertainment Weekly, Miguel lives in a Mexican village and dreams of becoming a musician. The only problem? His family has sworn off music ever since Miguel’s great-great-grandfather abandoned his wife to pursue his own musical dreams.
While trying to emulate his musical hero, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (voiced by Benjamin Bratt), Miguel accidentally enters the Land of the Dead. There, he teams up with the aforementioned funny skeleton (voiced by Mozart in the Jungle’s Gael Garcia Bernal), meets his ancestors, and tries to track down his idol.
We have a hero who wants to make music but doesn’t have his family’s support (Miguel’s family has sworn off music, Manolo wants to be a musician but his family wants him to be a torero). We have a hero accidentally entering the Land Of The Dead and meeting his ancestors. Bet you $20 that Miguel becomes a “Day of the Dead”-styled skeleton during this trip to the Land of the Dead.
Like “Moana” is an amalgam of Polynesian tradition and cultures created by white people first and foremost for white people’s consumption (check Fangirl Jeanne’s criticism of it), Elena of Avalor and now Coco are heading in the same direction, and the worst part is that we’re constantly being told by white fans that we should be grateful for whatever “representation” these major producers decide to throw at us.
Let’s just hope they don’t go around selling sugar-skull masks and make-up with the Disney trademark like they did with the brownface Polynesian-tattoo costume for Moana. (source)
jane, xiomara and alba villanueva from jane the virgin
paula proctor from crazy ex girlfriend
olivia pope from scandal
The Villanueva women in Jane The Virgin
The show opens its very first episode with a 20-something college student and worker who has a very careful life-plan ahead of her being accidentally inseminated. From the pilot and until S01E13, Jane –the protagonist and “pregnant virgin”– graples with how this unwanted pregnancy will affect her life, with her mom and her doctor offering an abortion method as one of her possible choices.
Other people in Jane’s life –her religious grand-mother, the fetus’ biological father and his wife, and Jane’s fiance– try to weigh in her choice, but the decision of aborting or continuing on with the pregnancy, and of what she’s gonna do once the fetus is born –giving the baby up for adoption, giving it to the biological father, co-parenting with her current partner and/or the biological father, raising the baby herself– is left to her. She chooses to go through with the pregnancy.
During this arc, it’s revealed that Alba –Jane’s grandmother– and Rogelio –her father– wanted Jane’s mother to have an abortion when they found out that she was pregnant at 16 years old. Xiomara chose to go through with the pregnancy despite everyone else in her life insisting she shouldn’t.
Two seasons later Xiomara –Jane’s mother– is fresh out of a relationship with Rogelio, which they broke off due to the fact that he wanted to have a baby and she did not want any more kids now that Jane is an adult After unprotected sex with another man, Xiomara finds out she is pregnant, and decides to have an abortion. This arc deals with the fact that, though she isn’t ashamed or regretful about her choice and she is more than sure that she doesn’t want to have any children in the future, the guilt of knowing her mother would not approve –and the overall stigma around abortion– still hurts her deeply.
Paula Proctor in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
In season 2 of the show, Paula Proctor is a mother of three in her forties who’s just decided to start Law School to fulfill her life-long dream of becoming a lawyer. It will require a lot of her time and a lot of money, but Paula is convinced that this is finally the time to follow her passions. This is when she finds out she is pregnant.
The decision of Paula prioritizing her career and aspirations over a fourth child that she never planned for is not questioned or shamed. She takes a couple days off work, her husband brings her soup in bed and she continues studying with a renewed passion.
Olivia Pope in Scandal
The fifth season’s finale of Scandal closed not with a bang but with a quiet, stern, determined implosion of feeling. Olivia, feeling suffocated and constrained in a (borderline abusive) relationship with Fitz that she never truly wanted and was about to become permanent –if she officially became his First Lady–, finds out that she is pregnant. We don’t see her when she discovers it: the narrative shows us all the other things stacking up to trap Olivia in the White House, her increasing restlessness, her need to leave… and then it jumps to her, leaving a White House event to enter a clinic.
Scandal doesn’t offer any explanations for the abortion, and neither does Olivia. She makes the choice by herself, for herself, with nobody in-show to judge her for it and no place for the viewers to demand more of her, and that’s it. Then, Olivia walks out of the White House.
If you can’t write a story without erasing people of color or relaying on racist stereotypes, you are a bad writer.
If you can’t draw/paint people of color without lightening their skin, cartoonizing their features or making them look white, you are a bad artist.
If you can’t make gifs/edits of people of color without whitewashing them, you are a bad editor.
If you literally are unable to create content without being racist, you are a talentless and bad creator. If you have the ability to create content without being racist and choose not to, you are racist. Simple as that.
If you can’t create content without being racist, you are bad creator.
When will racists stop crying “censorship” every time audiences demand that creators produce better content if we’re expected to buy it?
We are not the fucking government, we aren’t throwing anyone in jail for being a talentless racist shitstain. We are exercising our right to free speech by calling a racist creator “racist”, just like the racist creator is exercising their right to free speech by publishing their shitty ass work.
[image: a triangle with three colored circles on each angle. the top circle reads “characters of color”, the bottom left is “healthy and not abusive”, and the bottom right is “actually get screentime”.]
I feel like every time I talk about Harry Potter I have to start the conversation with, “I love Harry Potter, but…” in the way that one talks about a relative who used to get us good birthday gifts but now we realize are a bigoted piece of shit. It’s a too accurate comparison, since I’ve always felt that this series played as big of a part in my childhood as my family did. And, just like with many of my relatives, my relationship with the Harry Potter series is strained by the fact that I’m a woman who likes women, and JKR, like these subtly and not so subtly homophobic family members, doesn’t seem to like queer people very much.
To be fair, Joanne K Rowling doesn’t seem to like abuse victims, fat people, people of color or the mentally ill very much either, but I digress.
I have a Harry Potter tattoo. I own a bunch of Harry Potter merchandising, and the books, and a couple movies, and some of the video games too. And yet, my relationship with this series that has been so integral to my life since I was six years old is now tainted by bitterness. The recent premiere of the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them has only increased this resentment.
I think this is a good time to review the homophobia that’s plagued the worldbuilding of the Harry Potter universe from, at the very least, 1999, the year Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released.
Remus Lupin, Fenrir Greyback and predatory gays
A screencap of Remus Lupin as portrayed in the Harry Potter movies.
Though this has always been public knowledge, both because of the blatant intent easily caught by critics when the third book of the Harry Potter series and from what JKR has repeatedly said in interviews for over a decade. Yet, with seventeen years worth of chances to realize just how homophobic the metaphor is, JKR still insists that lycanthropy is a metaphor for AIDS. In a recently published e-book (“Short Stories From Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship, and Dangerous Hobbies”) she writes:
“Lupin’s condition of lycanthropy was a metaphor for those illnesses that carry a stigma, like HIV and AIDS,” Rowling writes. “All kinds of superstitions seem to surround blood-borne conditions, probably due to taboos surrounding blood itself. The wizarding community is as prone to hysteria and prejudice as the Muggle one, and the character of Lupin gave me a chance to examine those attitudes.”
The reader might now ask (as many of those who insist on defending JKR’s character have), “how is this homophobic?” Well, it all begins with a long withstanding urban myth that appeared in the late ‘80s: the “pin prick attacks” and similar stories.