In the my recently published AWN article , I mention how there has been a decrease in the social censorship of LGBTQ themes and that “viewers who are less receptive to such characters are becoming less vocal.” I thought it would be nice to go into a little bit more detail about this and give some examples that show this change.
The outing of fictitious characters is not a new phenomenon. When a Picture of Dorian Gray was first released in 1890 media at the time called out the sexuality of the main character, the Scots Observer wrote that the book would be of interest to only those, “outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph-boys (How Oscar Wilde Painted Over Dorian Grey).”
In 1895 the novel was used to call into question the sexuality of its author Oscar Wilde. When he was put on trial for being gay (or more accurately “gross indecency with other men”), sections of the book were read aloud. The opposing attorney called the novel “sodomitical” and drew comparisons between Oscar Wilde, and Dorian Gray as if the fictional character were a stand-in for the author (pg5).
Some sixty-eight years after the release of Dorian Gray, in 1958, Seduction of the Innocent was published. In this nonfiction novel author and psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, harshly critiqued comic books for their violence and sexual content. One of the chapters dealt with children’s sexuality, and suggested that Batman and Robin were a gay couple, Wonder Woman was a lesbian and that comic books were causing sexual perversion in children.