The “Snowball Effect” is the idea that as certain things gain momentum, they build in size, mass, and velocity. That is the ONLY definition of the phrase “snowball” as a verb I can think of right now. Surely there’s others, no? I’ll have to do a google search after I’m done writing this article—I digress. Moore’s Law states, that “the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years.” With that, we’ve seen the profoundly rapid expansion of technology from farm tools to exploring intergalactic outers pace within about a hundred years. We didn’t even see the first microchip until 1958! With that technological snowball, there is a resulting snowball effect in the arts and entertainment.
When I was little, the only gay character I had availability to was Wilson Cruz as Ricky in My So-Called Life. It was a groundbreaking show and an even more groundbreaking role. He was gay, he was fem, he was unapologetically himself at a time when it was dangerous to be so. At that point, it was still legal to be fired for being gay in almost every state, and hundreds of thousands of gay men had been dying for two decades from AIDS, completely ignored by the US government (sidenote: fuck Ronald and Nancy Reagan).
Flash forward 25 years and Queer culture is seemingly everywhere. To be young and Queer in 2022 is a vastly different experience now than it was in the early '90s. We quickly snowballed from Ricky, to The Real World, to Just Jack, to The Lonely Hearts Club & The Birdcage, to Gossip Girl, and now just about every TV show, movie, and comic book has not only Queer characters, but have profoundly Queer-centric story lines, as well. In most cases their identity isn’t even the central focus of their story line.
The current culmination has led to shows like HBO’s Euphoria and Gossip Girl to say nothing of Netflix’s Big Mouth, Elite, Sense8, and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. These shows are so Queer-forward it’s almost unbelievable for this Reagan baby. With this snowballing of Queer characters and story lines, I’m so fucking excited to see what’s next. Billy Eichner’s new romcom Bro’s is coming out this September, and it’s an entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast, a first for a major studio movie, and a new reboot of Queer as Folk is heading to Peacock, again with a diverse, gay cast.
Only time will tell what the next evolution of Queer exposure in the media will be, but I’m so incredibly excited to see the impact it has on the evolution of society in general. We’re already witnessing an incredible breakdown of our understanding of gender and sex, how that informs the media vs. how the media informs the societal evolution is a dance that’s yet to unfold. But if a generation that grew up with extremely limited exposure to LGBTQ+ characters has yielded this revolution of Queer media, then imagine what the generation raised in that revolution will yield.
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