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Watched It for the Representation

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"Turning Red finally showed me what people saw when they watched Black Panther, ShangChi [sic], and Encanto on the big screen. I ugly cried so many times because I finally got to saw me, unfiltered, on screen. Even though I don’t have the comfort Meilin got, this movie sure gave me everything I needed to hear. Representation truly matters guys."

Representation undoubtedly drives viewership and these works are proof of this — fans turned out to see these works in part because of the representation (of women, racial or religious minorities, a disability, or gender or sexual orientations) they provided.

What constitutes as "representation" varies widely. In some cases, it isn't a very big part of the work. Perhaps it is one of very few works that contain a character from a certain minority group. Maybe its minority characters are empowered, non-stereotypical, and nuanced, or its portrayal of an underrepresented culture is well-researched and respectful. In other cases, the work markets itself in part on the representation it provides. Maybe it is the first work of its kind to have a lead from one demographic or have a cast majorly composed of said demographic.

The works themselves may be anything from highly anticipated blockbusters to lowkey network comedies to older works that depicted minority characters well by the standards of the time they were made and are just now getting recognition from the mainstream. A More Diverse Sequel or reboot/remake might take advantage of more liberal attitudes behind the scenes and diversify the cast of a preexisting property to take advantage of this. Works that women watched for their strong female characters may be a Feminist Fantasy.

Note that this is only about audiences deciding to consume a work for its representation. While many works are praised for well-done diversity, a well-meaning work might still fumble in its execution and lose the favor of the group they were trying to represent in the first place, resulting in accusations of baiting or exploitation. "Queerbaiting" is a specific term in LGBT circles when LGBT representation is teased for attention from the community but ultimately withheld.

It is also worth remembering that Tropes Are Tools. Audiences tuning in to see a work purely for the representation is not a mark against the work, nor is it a statement on a given work's quality if you took away the representation. In many cases, fans may be hooked in by the representation and then become invested in the plot and stick around. All the same, it is important to try to avoid invoking this trope, for the reasons outlined above. Good representation is great, but it shouldn't be the only reason for a work existing, and is liable to lead to accusations of tokenism if handled poorly.

A Sub-Trope of Just Here for Godzilla, which covers any peripheral element of a work that people come in to see. Non-main minority characters whose portrayals are praised might also be Ensemble Darkhorses. Compare LGBT Fanbase, the Periphery Demographic of fans who consume something regardless of any LGBT content, and Germans Love David Hasselhoff for cases where a foreign country likes a work (perhaps because it portrays their country well). Compare and contrast Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales, where a culture likes a caricature of them against all odds. Contrast Minority Show Ghetto, Girl-Show Ghetto, and Queer Show Ghetto, the notion that minorities/women/LGBT characters will only be popular among those demographics.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Birds of Prey: Besides the fact it was a female-lead team book and, ostensibly, the main character was Black Canary, but deuteragonist Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl and then-current Oracle, was a huge draw in large part because she was a rare example of a wheelchair-using character in a comic book who actually got character focus and development.
    • The popularity of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy exploded in 2015 after DC Comics revealed that the two are in an open sexual relationship. This made them the most high-profile same-sex pairing in comics, and also made them popular amongst the Polyamory crowd as well.
    • I Am Not Starfire: The graphic novel heavily leaned into this in its marketing leading up to its release. Quickly revealing that Mandy, Starfire's daughter, was a lesbian and had a crush on a fellow schoolmate. Indeed most of the plot of the story is Mandy growing close with said classmate till they become an Official Couple at the end of the book.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Older Than They Think example; Stan Lee has commented how, when they were first making Daredevil, he was unsure if the character would be deemed offensive to the blind community because the things Daredevil could do were well beyond plausibility and his Disability Superpower might come off as Inspirationally Disadvantaged. He was pleasantly surprised however when he got letters from care assistants who worked with blind children and adults, applauding Marvel because their charges loved the character. Decades later, Matt's managed to survive being one of the most enduring and popular disabled superheroes in comics.
    • Hawkeye: Many people picked up the 2012-onward Hawkeye runs because they co-headlined Clint Barton (which emphasized Hawkeye's deafness) and his Legacy Character protege, Kate Bishop, with the 2016 run particularly focusing entirely on Kate).
    • Ironheart (starring a Black girl) outsold the previous runs starring her predecessor, white guy Tony Stark.
    • Loki: Agent of Asgard: Right before this run launched, Loki's bisexuality and gender-fluidity, traits from the mythological character he was based on that had yet to be properly canonised for the Marvel Comics version, were confirmed by the creative team and Marvel themselves, which helped to build hype for the book prior to releasenote . Within the book itself, it avoided Tokenism or playing into promiscuous bi stereotypes or But Not Too Bi by having Loki go sans love interest, and instead spend the run casually flirting with both genders and making their bisexual attraction clear without Have I Mentioned I Am Gay? style pandering, while their gender fluidity came up in natural ways, with Loki spending two different arcs primarily as a woman. The book also featured a sympathetic asexual character in the form of his best friend Verity Willis. It's remained Loki's most successful solo endeavor and has, likely, solidified Loki being recategorized as an antihero rather than a villain in Marvel.
    • Ms. Marvel (2014): Kamala Khan gained a lot of positive press and immediate popularity for being a teenage, Pakistani-American Muslim female superheroine. This made her popular amongst a multitude of different minority groups, and she proved to be an interesting and refreshing character within her own right, due to her Fun Personified personality combined with tackling various real-life issues like body image and bigotry. Anecdotal accounts from comic book stores remarked how her introduction led to people (specifically young Muslim girls) who had never once read a comic coming in to check out the character, which is virtually unheard of actually happening beforehand. Her success sparked a a new wave of female and/or minority heroes, including Silk, Ironheart and America Chavez, as well as pushing others into the spotlight.
    • Thor (2014) picked up a lot of interest based on the premise on "The Mighty Thor being a woman".

    Films — Animation 
  • Encanto received much attention for its largely accurate representation of Colombian culture, especially since Pepa and Félix's side of the family appears to be Afro-Colombian, a demographic that is not often represented in US media. One video of a two-year-old black boy getting excited that Antonio looked like him went viral as a symbol of why "representation matters." The film also received praise for having a large number of female characters with complex, multidimensional personalities and varying character designs.
  • Turning Red was praised for its many different types of groundbreaking representation both on and off the screen. It is the first Pixar film to have an Asian lead characternote , the first to be directed by an Asian woman, the first directed solely by a woman and the first to have an all-female creative leadership team. It is Pixar's first diabetic representation, and its first feature-length film set in Canada. The main characters are all female and represent Chinese, South Asian, Korean, and (likely) Jewish ethnicities. Other characters are Black, multiracial, Vietnamese, Caribbean, and Polish. Background characters include Muslims and Sikhs. Languages spoken in the film include French, Cantonese, and Korean in addition to English. There are background characters in wheelchairs and several characters wear glasses. There are main and supporting characters strongly implied to be bisexual or gay. All of the characters have realistic varied body shapes. In addition to all that, the film serves as a rare opportunity to see Toronto portrayed on film as itself and not someplace else.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Blade Trilogy: Way before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a thing, Marvel actually turned some heads with this trilogy back in the late '90s/early 2000s. Not only because he was, at the time, one of the lesser-known heroes from their stockade, but because he was a person of color at that, so getting his own movie was certainly a draw for many African-Americans.
  • Blaxploitation was rooted in this trope. Films like Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and Shaft proved that African-American audiences were clamoring for films with Black leads, generating a wave of movies that were aggressively marketed in inner-city neighborhoods. How much they were specifically about Black people varied; while Sweetback was rooted in militant Black Power ideas to the point that the Black Panther Party endorsed it and made it required viewing for its members, many films labeled Blaxploitation were rather ordinary '70s crime thrillers, comedies, action films, Westerns, and dramas that just so happened to star Black actors and feature funk and soul soundtracks.
  • Asian Americans turned out in droves for Crazy Rich Asians, the first major film to have an all-Asian American cast in 25 years, and one that focused on both Singaporean Chinese and Chinese-American culture. Unprecedentedly, Asian-Americans made up almost 40% of the premiere weekend box office.
  • Ghostbusters (2016) attracted a large female audience, including those new to the franchise, who were interested in seeing an all-female Ghostbusters team.
  • The Godfather. While it was instantly recognized as a classic by most, for Italian-Americans it was an especially pivotal film. Paramount went out of its way to hire Francis Ford Coppola to direct and co-write the film and a great many actors of Italian descent to play the Italian characters, knowing the long history that gangster movies had of relying on ethnic stereotypes in depictions of The Mafia, plus famed Italian composer Nino Rota for the soundtrack. While the film was initially met with protests from Italian-American civil rights groups due to its subject matter, most of the community embraced the film for how it bucked lingering stereotypes of Italians as dimwitted thugs and instead portrayed its Villain Protagonist Michael Corleone as a Man of Wealth and Taste, and in the long run, it heralded a sea change not just in how Italians were depicted in Hollywood cinema but also in the integration of the Italian-American community.
  • In The '70s, Hong Kong martial arts movies experienced a variation on this. They proved extraordinarily popular in inner-city Black neighborhoods because, while they didn't have Black actors, they did have non-white actors in leading roles, which for many young Black men was the first time they saw action heroes who weren't the traditional White Male Lead of mid-century Hollywood. This produced an enduring affection for martial arts movies among a generation of African-Americans.
  • While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been long-criticized for its adherence to the White Male Lead throughout its first two Phases, it has admirably started to shift away from that come Phases 3 and 4.
    • Black Panther (2018) was the first MCU production to have a majority Black cast and crew. In addition to the superhero fare, Black fans tuned in for the Black All-Star Cast, the way the film addressed real issues of colonialism and diasporic identity, and the film's celebration of African and African-American cultures. It grossed over a billion dollars, got absolutely glowing critical reviews, and was the first comic book film ever to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
    • Captain Marvel (2019) was the first MCU film to be headlined by a superheroine, which brought out a female viewing audience of just under half, compared to the normal superhero movie audience statistic of being about 40% female. This is seen to be at least in part behind the film's mixed-to-positive critical reception along with grossing over a billion dollars worldwide at the box office.
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was the first Asian-led MCU film with a mostly Chinese cast and helmed by a Japanese-American director. Overseas Chinese viewers in particular watched the movie precisely because it was made by East Asians.
    • While Eternals got a rather mixed critical response and So Okay, It's Average reception from most audiences, two major points of praise that have been given in its favor (and are seen as at least partly responsible for its impressive box office intake) have been the characters of Phastos and Makkari, two of the eponymous Eternals:
      • Phastos is the first official gay superhero in an MCU film and is also a gay black man, making him a "twofer minority" who is almost never shown to exist in mainstream Hollywood. It helps that Phastos' sexuality is treated as completely normal, to the point where nobody ever questions it, and he averts virtually all negative stereotypes associated with members of the LGBT community.
      • Furthermore, this film marked the inclusion of the MCU's first official deaf superhero Makkari, who is presented as being just as competent and on an equal playing field as the other Eternals are. One particularly great detail is how the other Eternals add sign language to their dialogue without question whenever she's in the conversation, something very rarely displayed in mainstream media.
  • DC Extended Universe:
  • The Ringer is very popular among persons with disabilities, and those who work with individuals with disabilities as well. Due not only to having so many characters with disabilities having speaking parts but portraying them as human beings rather than objects of pity.
  • Love, Simon became a major movie for those of the LGBT community because of having a closeted, gay teen in the main character role without stereotyping him and giving the protagonist a love interest.

    Literature 
  • The Babysitters Club: As documented in The Claudia Kishi Club, released ahead of the 2020 remake, plenty of Asian-American kids and teens picked up the books for Claudia Kishi, the club's airheaded, boy-crazy, and fashion-forward Japanese-American member, for her creativity and non-stereotypical depiction.
  • The Honor Harrington novels are beloved for, among other things, being a very racially diverse Feminist Fantasy Military Science Fiction series in a genre normally dominated by straight, white, male protagonists. And though sexual orientation isn't often discussed, at least a few of its most prominent characters are established as not-exactly-straight; there's even multiple canonical examples of polyamory!
  • Tales From Alcatraz: A lot of readers are drawn in by the nuanced and realistic autistic character Natalie and her life in a society that doesn't yet understand autism very well.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100: Season 2 drew in a lot of new fans with the introduction of Lexa, the cool and composed Grounder Commander who happened to be a lesbian. The character was seen as positive lesbian representation, and her tension with Clarke also revealed the latter was bisexual. Disappointment was loud when Lexa was killed, but the show continued to introduce more bisexual and lesbian characters.
  • Part of the appeal of Bridgerton is not just seeing black and brown people as desirable romantic leads, it's seeing them as desirable romantic leads in a period romance, a genre that has historically not been diverse. Not as servants or outsiders, either — they're integrated into English high society and allowed to be high-class lords and ladies, adding to the escapist appeal.
  • Black Lightning (2018): The show is a huge draw among audiences, especially African-Americans, for starring a Black superhero in a landscape where the majority of superhero shows are led by white protagonists. It also has an LGBT Fanbase courtesy of the title character's lesbian daughter and her relationship with an Asiannote  woman named Grace Choi.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Besides the fact it has a diverse cast (including a Jewish-American lead, two Hispanic-American women, and two African-American men, alongside their families and a racially diverse supporting cast), B99 attracted a lot of attention for Captain Raymond Holt, a middle-aged gay black man, providing representation for the LGBTQ community outside of the typical young attractive white gay/lesbian sector. Adding to this, Holt avoided pretty much every gay stereotype, being The Stoic and Comically Serious, Memetic Badass, and A Father to His Men, while also having a genuinely touching and romantic relationship with his husband Kevin, leading to Holt being applauded as one of the best sitcom characters in years and garnering the show a great deal of attention from the LGBTQ community. Later down the line, the show brought Rosa Diaz out as bisexual (reflecting her actress Stephanie Beatriz), to much applause, adding further to the show's LGBT Fanbase.
  • Cold Case: Not necessarily the show itself, but several individual episodes Framing Story flashbacks feature the gay community, women's rights movements, or various often-overlooked ethnic groups. For example, ''WASP" and "Factory Girls" have a lot of fans due to their portrayal of women in historically accurate World War II support roles.
  • Doctor Who saw a notable uptick in viewership for the 2023 Christmas special The Church on Ruby Road after the introduction of Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor. Gatwa is the first Black British man to play the role and the first openly queer man to play the role. The show also saw some interest for the introduction of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, the first onscreen incarnation of the character in the series proper to be played by a woman, but Gatwa was widely acknowledged as having breathed new life into the series' viewership numbers.
  • Everything's Gonna Be Okay: This was the first show where an openly autistic actress played an autistic lead character. Autistic people streamed and recommended it in droves as it was the very first time many of them had seen any sort of accurate, positive representation whatsoever. And the character in question was an autistic woman, who are less visible in stereotypical depictions of autism.
  • Holby City: The romance between Berenice "Bernie" Wolfe and Serena Campbell became one of the great lesbian Super Couples of British television for this reason — a pre-watershed, female/female romance with actresses over fifty was so rare on primetime television as to be nonexistent, and the pairing was wholeheartedly embraced by legions of queer women who otherwise had no particular interest in the show. Both Jemma Redgrave (Bernie) and Catherine Russell (Serena) — but particularly Russell, who is the more outspoken one of the pair in general — have noted often that they are well aware of just how important the representation is, and are incredibly pleased and proud to have been part of it.
  • The television side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe also deserves mention here:
    • Luke Cage (2016) was considered an extremely timely series, starring an African-American superhero right at the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter Movement, which helped gather tons of views and positive press. The creators acknowledged the serendipity, and the powerful symbolism of a bulletproof, heroic black man in a hoodie shortly after Trayvon Martin (a young black man in a hoodie) had been shot. However, they have also stated that this was just a case of extremely good timing, and the symbolism was not intentional.
    • Quite a few Egyptian fans tuned into Moon Knight (2022) due to it providing much-needed positive representation for their country in a Hollywood production. It helps that one of the show's directors, Mohamed Diab, has loudly advocated for better representation for Egyptians in movies and TV as a whole, and had previously been involved in writing and directing films about Egypt's social issues and recent history. It's not for nothing that a few people have even gone as far as to describe the show as "Egypt's Black Panther (2018)".
      • The show also pulled in some viewers due to Oscar Isaac being the first Latino actor to get a headlining role in the MCU. Likewise, a number of Jewish fans also took interest in the show due to Moon Knight being the first overtly Jewish superhero in the MCUnote .
      • Because the protagonist Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Jake Lockley has Dissociative Identity Disorder, the show picked up a following among viewers with DID in real life hoping to see a more nuanced and sympathetic portrayal of the condition, given that DID is often heavily sensationalized in extreme and offensive ways (see Split Personality for how it is more typically depicted in media).
    • Ms. Marvel (2022):
      • Like the comic, the show has been praised by Muslims and Pakistani-Americans for portraying Kamala Khan's faith, family, and community in a mundane manner rather than villainizing or exoticizing them. We see Kamala's home life and how both of her parents are Pakistani immigrants whose families were affected by the Partition, as well as her brother Aamir's wedding, her friend Nakia's decision to wear hijab, and even mosque politics when Nakia runs for the mosque board to address issues with the women's side (poor maintenance, shoes going missing, etc.).
      • It's also worth pointing out that Aamir's wife Tyesha is Black. While she's not a major character and her background is never expanded on, her mere presence acknowledges the fact that not all Muslims are South Asian or Middle Eastern, and African-American Muslims have their own distinct history and identity.
  • Nevertheless: Many fans of the show have admitted that they started to watch for the queer romance between Seo Ji-wan and Yoon Sol, which is often seen as well-developed and more interesting than the main pairing between Yoo Na-bi and Park Jae-eon.
  • Nurses (2020) has become popular partly as a result of this, as it has an Indo-Canadian and a Black Canadian amongst the main characters, and also portrays sexual assault victims realistically, with the protagonist Grace Knight a victim of sexual harassment/assault. Its fanbase likes the fact that Ashley Collins, the Indo-Canadian character, doesn't get portrayed as Asian Airhead, Asian Rudeness, or Asian Speekee Engrish, but a more realistic, nuanced take. Although it hasn't covered LGBT issues much, it's been praised for a diverse cast.
  • Orange Is the New Black became popular largely because of its representation of various races, sexualities, and gender identities. Laverne Cox's character Sophia received a lot of praise in particular for being a trans female character played by a trans woman. However, as later plot points were criticized for using this representation poorly — most infamously the Black lesbian character Poussey being suffocated to death in a manner reminiscent of a real-life high profile Police Brutality case — members of these demographics tuned out.
  • One Day at a Time (2017) maintained a small but passionate fanbase who praised the show's majority-Latin American cast. In addition, many fans liked that one of the main relationships was between that of a Latina lesbian and her nonbinary partner.
  • Police, Camera, Action! was liked due to showing a diverse cast of individuals from real-life footage, and although the presenter is a White Male Lead, it pulls no punches for a series.
  • Power Rangers Dino Fury gained fans from the LGBT community once "The Matchmaker" revealed that Green Dino Fury Ranger Izzy was dating her former rival Fern, cementing them as the first LGBT couple in the TV series.
  • Rutherford Falls marketed itself as being the first sitcom with a majority-Native American writers' room and a cast largely composed of Natives, and received positive feedback from Native media outlets for making Native issues and identity politics a central part of its narrative.
  • Parodied in the Saturday Night Live sketch Lesbian Period Drama, a trailer for a fake movie. Despite the Cliché Storm, wooden acting, and the leads being played by straight actresses "daring to not wear makeup," the review from Lesbian Monthly just reads, "Sure. I mean, I'm gonna see it."
  • Sense8 attracted some people who were general SF fans, or fans of J. Michael Straczynski and The Wachowskis, but an awful lot of fans watched it because it was a show conceived by two trans women that had prominent LGBT characters and a positive attitude towards polyamory.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series was very popular with Black viewers when it came out because it featured the character Uhura, who was one of the few Black characters on TV at the time not to be a walking stereotype. None other than Martin Luther King Jr. was a fan and went so far as to say it was the only primetime show he let his kids watch, and encouraged Nichelle Nichols to stay in the role when she was considering leaving to pursue a career on Broadway.
    • Star Trek: Discovery got a lot of attention for featuring the franchise's first homosexual characters Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber, played by real-life gay actors Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz, although unfortunately this got them in some hot water when Culber was temporarily killed, and the huge backlash forced them to spoil that he'd be coming back and the story wasn't just Bury Your Gays. Jett Reno, a lesbian mechanic, was introduced in a supporting role as well. In Season 3, this increased with the introduction of non-binary Adira Tal, played by actual NB actor Blu del Barrio, complete with a storyline of becoming comfortable enough to come out to the rest of the crew. Further, their deceased (initially) partner Gray Tal was a trans man. All were also played by actors of the same gender or orientation.
    • At the same time Star Trek: Picard brought back Seven of Nine with Word of Gay from Jeri Ryan that she was bisexual, and she ends the first season holding hands with female character Rafi, in what some saw as a Take That! to Rick Berman, who was singlehandedly responsible for killing just about every attempt to introduce LGBT characters into the franchise in the '80s and '90s, saying it wouldn't feel natural to show gay couples holding hands.
  • Many Deaf/Hard of Hearing people tuned in to Switched at Birth (a show that prominently features Deaf culture as several of its characters, including one of its protagonists, are Deaf) to see how the show would depict their mannerisms, culture, and community. All Deaf and Hard of Hearing characters were played by actors with the same condition as well.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): A lot of fans who were unfamiliar with the books and uninterested in the standard fantasy premise of the show only really started to watch it when it was revealed that the TV versions of Moiraine and Siuan are a couple.

    Music 
  • Beyoncé's "Brown Skin Girl" music video became a universal hit for many women from other nationalities because of how the video empowered dark-skinned women.

    Theater 
  • One of the reasons Be More Chill has a strong LGBT Fanbase is due to Rich explicitly coming out as bisexual near the end of the play.
  • Flower Drum Song, despite including what some consider outdated stereotypes, still enjoys a strong fan base among Asian-American viewers: the film adaptation is noted for being one of the very few Hollywood films of its era to feature an almost entirely Asian and Asian American cast. As David Henry Hwang (who revised the book for the Broadway revival) said of the film, "It was kind of a Guilty Pleasure... and one of the only big Hollywood films where you could see a lot of really good Asian actors onscreen, singing and dancing and cracking jokes." Meanwhile, the solo number "I Enjoy Being a Girl" gained classic status for inadvertently representing a different fan base...
  • In the Heights and its film adaptation are quite popular for their positive representations of the Latino community of New York City.

    Video Games 
  • Celeste: Quite a few folks decide to check it out not only due to its plot and gameplay but also because it's a rare example of a greatly acclaimed indie hit with a transgender protagonist.
  • Guilty Gear -STRIVE-: The return of fan-favorite Bridget, and her subsequently coming out as a trans girl, brought a lot of attention to the series from queer gamers who otherwise may not have been into fighting games.
  • Splatoon 2 gained a surplus in Black audiences largely due to one of its major characters, Marina Ida, being black, along with being some of the few instances a Black character in a video game gained mass popularity amongst the gaming community.

    Webcomics 
  • Acception: One of the selling points of the comic as, while the main character is Camp Straight, he supports the queer community with his clothes designs and isn't afraid to wear a dress now and then. The cast also includes gays and trans as well and often tackling issues like bigotry and being comfortable with who you are despite peer pressure.
  • Homestuck, while already more popular than the author's previous works, picked up a large new fanbase starting in Act 5 with the introduction of the Trolls, a race of bisexual-by-default aliens. Many people who picked up the comic later on in its run were drawn in by the comic's Everyone Is Bi nature, Queer Romance, and exploration of LGBT identity that started emerging around that time.
  • Peritale: Starts off as an underdog tale and deconstructing fairy tale tropes. But becomes obvious the main character has a crush on her charge and their blooming relationship. A later character that joins in is confirmed to be a transexual. And a spin-off book, "Life of Melody" focuses on two male creatures raising their adopted daughter. First out of concern for her well-being, but eventually falling in love with each other. To say the least, the webcomic has been a hit in the queer community.
  • Sister Claire started to garner this reputation after the author, Yamino, came out as a lesbian and her partner joined in on writing the story. Even more so when a good majority of the cast turned out to be gay, bi, or trans. Yamino herself is a major advocate for gay pride on Twitter so that likewise helped.
  • In-Universe in Trans Girl Next Door, in which Kylie, a trans girl, is apparently watching Orange Is the New Black Season 2 just for Laverne Cox and her trans character and complains that there aren't more scenes with her.

    Western Animation 
  • A significant portion of the Arcane fanbase showed up specifically for the Homoerotic Subtext between Vi and Caitlyn.
  • Baymax! obtained plenty of viewers for having characters of color along with some minor LGBT representation, featuring a trans man in episode 3 buying menstrual products (which also made it gain attention, as that's an aspect of being a trans man that's often ignored) along with a gay black man mustering the courage to talk to his crush.
  • BoJack Horseman surged in popularity within asexual communities once main character Todd was revealed to be asexual and went through his Coming-Out Story; for the majority of viewers, this was the very first time they had ever seen a canonically asexual character in the media.
  • Craig of the Creek is incredibly popular with the Black community for its positive Black representation, as well as the numerous LGBTQ+ side characters. The episode "Sink or Swim Team" also attracted positive attention on social media due to its representation of a Filipino family, complete with specific cultural in-jokes.
  • Danger & Eggs is best known for its LGBT representation, including explicit transgender rep — a rarity in a children's show. It's also the first cartoon series created by a trans woman. Many LGBT people watched and promoted the show for that overt representation.
  • Hero Elementary gained a lot of fans because of AJ Gadgets, who is not only autistic but also Black — a conscious choice on the part of the creators since Black children are less likely to be diagnosed with autism even though they too can be autistic.
  • The Loud House:
    • The Loud House: Howard and Harold McBride, the fathers of Lincoln Loud's best friend Clyde, were the first LGBT couple on a Nickelodeon show since the The Legend of Korra (on top of being an interracial one), and their onscreen debut made the show gain a decent number of viewers from the LGBT community. The biggest representation-based jump the show had, however, was the establishment of Lincoln's sister Luna being LGBT in "L is for Love", to the point that her crush in the episode, Sam Sharp, was the one among the multiple crushes who got the most subsequent development, both individually and as a full-fledged couple with Luna, with Luna and Sam becoming one of the most popular couples among both fans of the show and Nick in general for a good while.
    • The Casagrandes' focus on a Hispanic family that was first fully established in the main show, but was hardly used as a whole aside from specific members, made the franchise in general gain a following from the Hispanic community. CJ Casagrande's status as a person with Down Syndrome also dragged in some members of the disabled community.
  • Glitch Techs gained fans for having a non-caucasian cast with the main characters being Hispanic and Japanese-American respectively. Other representation includes African Mitch Williams and female Muslim Zahra.
  • The Hollow gained fans in Season 2 after it was revealed that Adam was gay, and casually stated it like it was no big deal.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts included not just a racially diverse cast, but a Black gay character (Benson) who actually referred to himself as "gay," a rarity in children's television. This got the show a sizable LGBT Fanbase that used Benson as a major selling point to animation fans.
  • Molly of Denali focuses on Alaska Native characters, stories, and traditions, and has indigenous people at every level of production, making the show very authentic and genuine. The show gained a lot of positive press for its native representation and a ton of Native teens and adults watch the show.
  • The Owl House: The fanbase of the show grew almost overnight once it was revealed that main character Luz was not only bisexual but would also be getting a female Love Interest in the form of lesbian Amity. The introduction of a Raine Whispers, a nonbinary love interest for Eda, was similarly well received.
  • Quite a lot of fans tuned in to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power for its varied representation. The diverse cast was always a selling point, especially for little kids. While the LGBT representation was more of the "plausible deniability" flavor early on, vocal support from fans who picked up on the queer subtext enabled more varied and explicit depictions of queerness in later seasons. As the representation became more explicit, it also got a lot of attention for being set in a world where sexual orientation simply doesn't seem to be any kind of issue for anyone, with not a single character ever batting an eye when someone turns out to be non-hetero, enabling them to have stories like anyone else with zero Gayngst.
  • South Park attracted a lot more young LGBT fans shortly after "Tweek x Craig," the episode that parodied the Yaoi Genre and paved the way for Tweek and Craig to become the first canonically gay students in the series. Despite Tweek and Craig being secondary characters at best, a lot of these fans care more about them than any major character.
  • While Steven Universe was already popular, the fandom exploded after the premiere of "Jail Break", which revealed that Garnet is a Romantic Fusion of two feminine Gems named Ruby and Sapphire. Then it became clear that Gems are actually a mono-gendered race where every single romantic attraction between them is homosexual by default. In fact, when Insider created a database in 2021 of non-hetero characters in children's cartoons, Steven Universe absolutely dominated the list with 39 characters. Only the above-mentioned She-Ra came anywhere close with 23.
  • A lot of people enjoy Total Drama for its diverse cast and positive depiction of non-caucasian characters such as DJ, Leshawna, B, Mike, Cameron, Jasmine and Sky. The fact that the new season has a gay couple and an amputee definitely helps.
  • Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo! gained an unexpected LGBT fanbase once it was revealed that Velma had a crush on the Big Bad, Coco Diablo, finally explicitly depicting Velma as lesbian after numerous attempts had failed.
  • Twelve Forever: While not advertised much, word did spread that its lead, Reggie, was gay and a subplot featured her gaining a crush on a fellow schoolmate. Two of the residents of Endless Island were also a gay male couple. This allowed the series to gain fans from the LGBTQ community.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender already had a large LGBT Fanbase around Shiro thanks to his good looks, likeable personality, and what many saw as romantic subtext with Keith, but once it was revealed that he was canonically gay in later seasons, his popularity exploded. Unfortunately, that same LGBT fanbase vanished as the show neared its end, due to backlash against his character arc which, among many other unpopular decisions, saw him Demoted to Extra immediately after the reveal. The show culminating in him marrying a random background extra, rather than anyone he actually knew or had chemistry with, was also heavily criticized by gay fans. The show also had a sizeable share of ace and aro fans and fan-content creators who read Pidge, and sometimes Keith, as asexual, aromantic, or both. Helped by the fact that Pidge's voice actor supported the headcanon of Pidge being aroace, and that neither Pidge nor Keith were given any love interest or romantic arc throughout the show's eight-season run.


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