As technology and social media continue to help change our everyday lives – for better or worse – it’s undeniable that social media has helped the human race in so many different ways. From connecting loved ones who are an ocean away to where one doesn’t even need to leave their own coach to see, to finding their soul mate. Though one of the potentially most overlooked ways technology has helped humans is something that may have been accidental, at least in the production side of things. That oversight was how manga assists people within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community and become more aware of different orientations and genders.
The Emphasize on LGBT:
While having LGBT characters within anime or manga series isn’t anything new or mind-blowing, but the fact is that it’s happening a lot more. For instance, between the years 1960 to 1989, thirteen different anime characters identify within the LGBT spectrum. Thirteen various characters for thirty years isn’t terrible though it isn’t great. Some Westerners may consider having a character who was part of the LGBT community so long ago. Still, for American audiences, the term homosexual wasn’t declassified as a mental illness until 1973, nearly seventeen years after the final manga for Princess Knight – arguably the first LGBT character, genderqueer.
The unfortunate aspect of looking back at millions of individual characters about who was part of the LGBT based on characteristics is somewhat troublesome. Albeit, it’s easier to look back and find out orientations and genders than trying to label a nonexistent name that has yet to be created yet. Which became a lot easier to self-identify people with the age of the internet; between the years 2000 to 2005, there were thirty-nine anime characters within the LGBT spectrum. Perhaps this sudden boost of equality was due to the World Health Organization (WHO) removing homosexuality from its mental illness.
LGBT Manga Are Great:
However, looking back on any part of history with a magnifying glass and finding the negatives is always accessible. This is why modern manga is so much better in some aspects, especially when it comes to including LGBT characters without diving into hentai. For example, the Fukakai na Boku no Subete o (Love Me for Who I Am) manga series is a relatively new manga for western audiences. While more and more manga series are being made daily, it’s evident that people will relate to certain characters more easily. Especially when it comes to questioning one’s gender or orientation, manga to westerners can promptly become a mecca for questioning youth.
For instance, some readers may find stories with a person struggling with their sexuality, or maybe even their born gender. While Love Me for Who I Am may not be for everyone, the story does have a wide range of positives for anyone whose feeling different, whether that be LGBT or not. Though sometimes being different comes with many additional difficulties, especially when one questions their own sexualities. That’s why manga series like Bokura no Hentai is another beautiful series that can quickly help people within the LGBT Community.
Three boys in junior-high who cross-dress because of differing reasons meet each other through a cross-dressing community website and decided to meet in real life. One boy chose to cross-dress because he wanted to attract a heterosexual boy he liked. We’ve all been there, wanting to change something about ourselves mostly when we were young. This series talked about transgender issues, family issues, and both LGBT and romance themes. However, this series can be a little heavy hitting at points, the story can be really cinematic.
Having so many series talk about love towards Gay and Lesbian relationships and real hardships that come with being different within a world that some people may not understand. Whether it be a backward way of thinking or lack of resources to discover that it’s okay to be different. What remains the most exciting and inspiring part of these newer manga series is that they can challenge gender norms. A perfect example would be My Androgynous Boyfriend; the story is about how their relationship is anything but traditional. She spends her days working hard in the world of publishing, while he spends his time obsessing over fashion and makeup – solely to make himself beautiful just for her. The entire series is about how love, friendships, relationships, and everything that comes with them aren’t always the same and are best untraditional.
No matter what orientation or gender one may use for themselves, they are only a label, and sometimes people don’t like specific nonheterosexual labels. These three manga series are just a few of the countless LGBT themed series that people can enjoy. No matter what age the reader is or where they read the story, these stories are detrimental to opening up the world of helping readers who may feel different from everyone else. These stories show that it’s okay to be different and you’re not broken or abnormal; you’re just yourself. Don’t ever be ashamed to be yourself, and most definitely don’t think that just because ones questioning their own body or sexuality that they’re broken.
Just be you!