Increase of LGBTQ+ censorship creates dangerous future for young people

By Lexi Meola

Web Editor and Social Media Manager

            At the end of March, Disney fired producer Victoria Alonso, according to Variety. Alonso worked on numerous Marvel and Disney films over the last 17 years, so the news of her departure was shocking to many.

It was later reported that Alonso refused to make edits that censor the mentioning of LGBTQ+ storylines; as a gay Latina woman herself, it would go against her ethics as a producer. She also called out former-CEO Bob Chapek over his stance on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Disney commented on Alonso’s statement, calling her actions “unfortunate.” It was reported that Disney executives did not like that Alonso did not notify anyone that she was working on the film “Argentina, 1985” with rival streaming company Amazon Prime Video.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Alosno violated her 2018 employment contract with Disney by producing the film…Disney said Alonso was not terminated after she violated the contract but was given a new employment agreement and was told not to continue promoting the film.”

Despite contrary reporting, the effects of LGBTQ+ censorship is rippling throughout the world, but is particularly vicious in the United States. Unfortunately, Florida governor Ron DeSantis sparked a new wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that has led to an uptick in censorship.

On March 28, 2022, DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights in Education,” which his opponents dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” in Florida.

According to NPR, the bill reads as follows: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

DeSantis defended his controversial legislation by saying that teaching kindergarteners “they can be whatever they want to be” was inappropriate for young children. This legislation is meant to “give power to parents,” but unfortunately, due to the uptick of anti-transgender legislation, parents may not be accepting if a child is a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Representation in the media including music, television, movies, and books are vital for all communities, especially LGBTQ+ children in schools. Creating a safe environment for all children is vital to their education and mental health.

To suppress stories in the media prevents young people from seeing or reading about people that represent them and learning about their own identities. Censoring LGBTQ+ stories causes more harm than good, despite what DeSantis says. The minute that representation is taken away, the more children will start to feel isolated.

In a survey released in May of 2022 by the Trevor Project – an organization that provides crisis support for LGBTQ youth – it was found that nearly half of LGBTQ+ youth ages 13 to 24 seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

If we continue down the path of censoring stories, how many more children are going to be put in danger? How long until people are no longer able to share their stories and have their identity shown on screens, on stage or in books around the United States? Continuing this cycle of suppression continues a cycle of instability for the LGBTQ+ community.

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