As Hollywood steadily becomes more progressive, an increasing number of gay, bisexual and transsexual characters are emerging in the world of American cinema. While other liberal republics are also producing various movies focused on gay, bisexual and transgender characters, most of the movies making an impact on the global scene are American productions focusing on the struggles of people who are not straight and cis-gendered. Sometimes these characters are more respectful to the people involved and others have reveled in the outrageous camp of varying levels of good taste, camp, poor taste and outright offensiveness.
Probably the most well-known gay character to come out of Hollywood actually originated in Britain. Albus Dumbledore of the Harry Potter franchise is well known to both children and adults and according to the franchise’s creator, Dumbledore was gay all along. However, as many literary and film critics have noted, Dumbledore’s sexuality has absolutely no impact on the plot of the Harry Potter series, despite the fact that Dumbledore is one of the most important characters in the Harry Potter narrative. Indeed, Dumbledore’s homosexuality was only announced after the last book and a number of the films had been released, making it more or less an almost invisible manifestation of homosexual representation.
Elsewhere, the film “But I’m A Cheerleader” is fairly heavy and open about its homosexual themes. The film focuses on the story of a teenage girl named Megan Bloomfield who is forced into a conversion therapy camp that claims to be capable of “curing” her homosexuality. Despite Megan’s best efforts to change her sexuality away at both the behest of her parents and her own beliefs about her identity (hence the title; she feels that because she’s a cheerleader and very feminine, she can not actually be a lesbian). However, as she falls in love with another girl at the camp, other former students of the camp infiltrate the ranks of students and begin to coax them out of their efforts to become heterosexual.
The film is notable for being rated NC-17 specifically because of the homosexual content. While a few people in less tolerant areas, like Texas, would argue that such a sexually charged film was worthy of an R rating, the decision to keep it at NC-17 (and thus out of mainstream theaters) was done specifically in regards to the homosexual content. This prompted a great deal of anger at the MPAA, though little can be done about that organization at the moment.