For so many of us who grew up watching almost uniformly negative representations of our lives on the screen, finally seeing a semblance of our community and our stories reflected in all their glorious diversity brings great joy despite how far we have yet to go.
Queerty is highlighting six creators, all of whom identify as LGBTQ, and all of whom have created provocative, queer-themed work designed to educate and enlighten audiences. Their contribution has made a striking difference in what we see on TV: GLAAD's annual Where We Are on TV report found that of all the LGBTQ characters on television, 47% are people of color--a record high.
From timely subjects to groundbreaking levels of visibility, their passion, their risk-taking, and their artistry have given us pride not just in them, but in ourselves and our community. True representation still has a long way to go, but these fine people are working to make that day come faster.
6. Tanya Saracho
April saw the return of Vida, the beloved Starz series. The show focuses on urban gentrification as experienced by two Mexican-American sisters. Now in its third and final season, Vida earned wide acclaim for its portrayal of Latino culture, and how immigrants sometimes struggle balancing traditional and American identities. That balance translates to director Tanya Saracho’s personal life as well. During the 2020 George Floyd protests, Saracho tweeted her support for #BlackLivesMatter, calling for her followers to take part in the movement.
“Words of sentiment can feel so empty right now,” she wrote. “I have started so many tweets expressing my feelings about the senseless tragedy that befell #GeorgeFloyd & about how our black brethren are in everyday danger. But the words feel hollow. Action. I need action. A real how and what.”
Saracho spent most of her youth between Mexico, where her father lived, and Texas, where her mother resided. She eventually settled in the US, studying at Boston University. After college, she worked in the Chicago theatre scene, where she founded Teatro Luna, an all-Latina theatre company. She then landed a writer’s job for Devious Maids, and later, as a story editor for Looking.
Starz executives then hired her to create a “millennial” show about women. The result, Vida, examined life among Latina women with a queer twist.
Saracho, who identifies as lesbian, set out to create opportunities for other marginalized artists. While Vida earned a reputation in large part because of its Latinx content, the show also skillfully integrated LGBTQ characters.
As Saracho told Deadline:
I never thought of it as a queer show, early on. It was just the show I was writing. That actually came later when people started framing the show when it already existed. But I wasn’t saying, ‘I’m writing a queer show,’ because it was just a show that was true to life, to me. Also, I didn’t go, ‘I want to write a queer show and I want to staff most of my writers queer.’ That mattered, but I just felt like the people who I staffed were the best people to tell this story that was steeped in queerness. But calling it a queer show came later. For me it was like, this is the story I’m telling, as true to life as I can.