How Hollywood Is (and Isn’t) Getting Better at LGBTQ Inclusion

Brandon Flynn, one of the breakout actors from Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” has spent the last two years fielding questions about his personal life. In 2017, he wrote a passionate post on Instagram, advocating for an Australian vote that allowed for same-sex marriage. Soon enough, news sites such as HuffPost and E! News were reporting that he’d come out of the closet. Flynn, 25, says that wasn’t the case. “I was embraced, so I never want to take that away from people who have been supportive of me, but in no way, shape or form did I say that this is me coming out,” says Flynn, who at around 15 years old had told his friends and family that he was attracted to men. “I had done that years ago. Being in the industry makes you somewhat of a public curiosity. Hence all of a sudden I was a gay actor, just because I was supporting human rights.”

Flynn is aware that he’s benefited from decades of progress. Unlike one of his favorite movie stars, Montgomery Clift, who remained in the closet, Flynn has been afforded the freedom to be with whomever he wants to be with, which is a gift he can pass along to his fans. “Personally, deep down,” he says, tearing up, “I’m happy to be the guy that any gay boy at home can say, ‘F—, it’s totally possible to do anything.’ Because it is. No matter how scared you are, or no matter how much hate you have to deal with, there are opportunities for us.”

Many of the people interviewed for Variety’s inaugural Pride Issue talked about how it’s the best of times for LGBTQ actors, writers, producers and other storytellers. From FX to Freeform, there have never been more cable TV channels with empowered gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender protagonists. But there’s also the caveat that change comes in waves, which can sometimes feel slower than it should. On TV, the representation of LGBTQ characters has been bolstered by the streaming services — Netflix, Amazon and Hulu — which are programming to teenagers and other viewers who value inclusivity.

“The one thing about the entertainment industry that I love is that it reflects the society that it caters to,” says Raven-Symoné, the actress, singer and star of the Disney Channel’s “Raven’s Home.” “The LGBTQ community wants to be represented on a medium that they watch as much as everybody else.” Read more via Variety