Growing up in the 2000’s, people my age were boy crazy, obsessed with the newest boy band or who was Team Edward vs Team Jacob. Media pushed love triangles, hell, even Disney channel pushed the Demi and Selena vs Miley drama that lasted for what seemed like months, years in my ten-year-old brain.
I grew up not relating to those around me:, sure, I was obsessed with One Direction, but I didn’t think any of the members were attractive. I never found the boys, men in media attractive. I did, however, find a lot of the women attractive. Hayley Graham (Missy Peregrym) from Stick It and Milly Pantone (Eliza Dushku) from Bring It On: All or Nothing were my absolute biggest girl crushes. Growing up the only lesbian in media I knew was Ellen DeGeneres (and she turned out to be such a shitty person). I had no one that looked like me; when I saw people in media, being gay was a bad thing. If I even seemed like I wasn’t straight I was called a dyke, a queer, carpet muncher, horrendous names because of why? Because I didn’t fit into societal norms. Being a part of the LGBTQI+ community is so much more broadly accepted these days.
Now in 2023, kids growing up have so many people they can have crushes on, of all different sexualities and gender expressions. I can easily find characters that are lesbians, I no longer have to have headcanons on who I think could be gay or bisexual. Now, characters are out, proudly. Clare Devlin (Nicola Coughlan) is a lesbian in the show Derry Girls. Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) from Orange is the New Black, in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic season nine, Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty are two lesbian ponies raising Scootaloo. Singers, actresses, authors are out and proud. Normal people, teachers, parents, the person who delivers your mail all could be a part of the LGBTQI+ community and you would never know.
Children nowadays have so much queer representation, and I am so happy. I hope that kids growing up can see someone like them, someone I didn’t have.
I believe the reason that this has changed is because there is a lot more acceptance around the queer community in general, we see more representation in the media and in our day to day lives.