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The Importance of representation in reflection of LGBTQ+ romcom “Bros”

AS Productions and LGBTQ+ Western embrace new gay romcom with campus showing; Is this film good representation?

AS Production’s 2023 winter quarter film lineup published on their Instagram. // Photo courtesy of AS Production

This week, Western Washington University’s AS Productions and LGBTQ+ Western are working together to host a viewing of ‘‘Bros.” The event is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. in the Viking Union. A discussion will be held after the viewing. 

“The quarterly film series in particular are fun, low-key events," said Ethan Johnson, AS Productions film coordinator. "We serve popcorn and sometimes other movie theater snacks for free at the door. It's a great opportunity to go out and see a movie by yourself or with friends, free of charge.” 

JoeHahn, the director at LGBTQ+ Western, felt a discussion of this film was a good idea after viewing the film sometime after its release.

When “Bros” hit theaters, LGBTQ+ relationships made one of their first premieres to the romantic comedy genre and attracted conversations about the current direction of proper representation. 

The film was marketed as a film of many firsts for the LGBTQ+ film genre as it had a cast entirely of LGBTQ+ actors. Discussions among movie goers have been started regarding the mainstreaming of LGBTQ+ media. 

“I’ve seen the movie back in August or September. I think it has an overall good message, and there’s some good stuff [for] conversation around queer representation, especially how they were advertising it,” JoeHahn said.

In recent years, positive LGBTQ+ representation in the media has become more noticeable.This includes LGBTQ+ relationships becoming more prominent in mainstream media, according to a Where We Are on TV Report published in 2021 by GLAAD.

The number of LGBTQ+ characters in scripted broadcast programming has increased 2.8% in the 2021-2022 season. This is a new record high of 11.9% of recurring characters being members of the LGBTQ+ community, said the report. 

“I don't see why queer people with more mainstream tastes shouldn't be able to enjoy happy, fun, lightweight romantic stories about ourselves just like everybody else. Why would you want to limit people's choices in art and entertainment to just one model?” said Professor Susan Lonac, a Film and English teacher from Whatcom Community College.

Film professors like Lonac are noticing the ever-growing LGBTQ+ representation in media. With more queer-positive films like “Bros” representing the community, the romance genre has been made a more positive and safe space than it has been in the past.

“Few films were queer-positive in the ‘80s and early ‘90s when I was young and still figuring myself out. The movies available to me had so much gloom and distress about being queer,” Lonac said.

From the late ‘90s to now, films began addressing LGBTQ+ characters with a lot less of that distress, focusing more on positive motivated storylines and thus giving new generations of viewers more comfort in their identities. 

“I think if I had been able to watch happy, well-made romcoms from queer creatives like Jamie Babbit's ‘But I'm a Cheerleader’ or Alice Wu's ‘Saving Face’ or, more recently, Greg Berlanti's ‘Love, Simon’ or Andrew Ahn's ‘Fire Island,’ I would have been so much more comfortable with myself. We've really seen an enormous amount of progress in recent decades, though there's still very far left to go,” Lonac said.

The progress in integrating LGBTQ+ characters into mainstream media is still ongoing. Many LGBTQ+ students at Western look forward to seeing what’s to come.

“I love a gay romcom. Do I wish there was more? I guess you need basic representation before you get more representation,“ said Paola Falcon, a second-year Western student and member of the Royal Gambit Drag Club.

Films like “Bros” are just the beginning for positive storytelling that creates safer spaces for discussion by and for LGBTQ+ people.

“As always, we're hoping to put on a fun, free event for students that gets them excited and engaged,” Johnson said. “With this showing in particular, we hope to spark discussion about LGBTQ portrayal in film and the potential significance of this film in particular."


Jase Picanso

Jase Picanso (he/him) is a city life reporter for The Front. He is a third-year student majoring in Public Relations. His work focuses on local events, organizations, resources and community perspective and experiences on current world topics.

You can contact him at Jasepicanso.thefront@gmail.com


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