Sexuaity addressed in fluid, unspoken terms
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 22:10
The sounds of Broadway and the strife of the ABC Village took over the Rainbow Center on Saturday afternoon, as they screened the popular musical “RENT.”
Rainbow Cinema, hosted every Saturday, presents a film depiction of LGBTQIA issues and invites viewers to participate in a discussion about the portrayal of the issues and the culture around the identities. Previous selections have included “Billy Elliot” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”
This week’s selection focused on a broad range of LGBTQIA issues, including homosexual relationships, transgender characters and heterosexual relations. The overarching theme of the film was each character’s struggle with HIV/AIDs, whether directly or indirectly, and the struggle of aspiring artists in New York City during the late 1980s and early 90s.
In a time when New York City was known for high crime rates, litter and high drug abuse rates, the main characters confront love, death and friendship. The film depicted the many ways HIV/AIDs can be transmitted. Some characters contracted it through drug abuse and others through intercourse. The diversity in the contraction methods was realistic and a nice change from the mainstream media’s portrayal of HIV/AIDs as a homosexual man’s disease. Even the characters who didn’t have HIV/AIDs were affected, a realistic depiction in and of itself.
“RENT” also demonstrated how difficult it is to accomplish the American Dream of working your way up from the bottom. The struggle of making a living in the city that never sleeps was not solely confined to the late 1980s, as many young people still struggle to make ends meet in the city today.
The film also discussed sexuality, but in very fluid terms. Angel, a transgender female, is so comfortable with her identity, something that is rarely portrayed by the media. Furthermore, her acceptance by her male partner and her friends is so easy and no mention of her sexuality is made until the end, when another character is confused as to whether or not he should address her as a “he” or a “she.”
“I don’t think the concept of transgender was even discussed,” said host Chris Richards.
Richards, a 7th semester cognitive science major, also mentioned that an important part of the film was the audience’s ability to “witness how it affects family and friends.”
The film series aims to provide a safe and comfortable environment to have an active conversation about LGBTQIA representation in film, while also having fun.