Diversity and the Normalization of the LGBTQ Community Brought To You By Yuri On Ice

I hope everyone is ready to discuss some big issues with anime and the LGBTQ community because OWLS (Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect) has dedicated the month of February to the discussion of Flight through the Otaku Lens of Yuri On Ice.

“An individual takes flight when there is a goal, a dream, or an ambition that he or she wants to achieve. However, for this blog post, we are going to look at “flight” in different lenses: the underdog’s dream, the possibilities that Yuri on Ice allows viewers to think about, and also the dangers of greed and ignorance that can influence one’s dream.”

Already my fellow OWLS members have been bringing down the house with their views on this subject. I have been greatly impressed! If you haven’t had a chance to check out any of their posts please do so. You won’t regret it!

I really enjoyed the last post by Steph blogger for Two Happy Cats who discussed YOI and it’s view of love. She highlights how inspired love can make our dreams take flight while dependent love will cause us to crash and burn so to speak. Really interesting read, so make sure to check it out.

For my version I would like to discuss the normalization of the LGBTQ community through diversity and how Yuri On Ice gives flight to my dream of equality regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

viktor-yoi

To begin this topic I would like to discuss the terms, “normalization” and “diversity”.

Normalization: (noun) The process of bringing or returning something to a normal condition or state.

Diversity: (noun) The sate of being diverse; variety.

                           A range of different things.

When I say I want the normalization of the LGBTQ community what I mean is I want people to understand that anyone that is apart of, identifies, or supports the LGBTQ community is NORMAL. I want the recognition that being gay, transgender, or any of the above does not mean that you are blasphemous or in need of some sort of psychological intervention.

I believe media plays a very big role in this endeavor and anime is not exempt from that. I have talked about this before but media has the power to showcase different perspectives and therefore shape beliefs and opinions on a matter.

When I say diversity what I mean is diverse characters that represent the LGBTQ community. I want there to be characters that are as diverse and relatable as the zillions of heterosexual and cisgender character portrayals I see in anime and in media as a whole.

This brings me to why I love Yuri On Ice so much and how it gives me hope that my dreams are on the right track to becoming a reality. The fact of the matter is anime does not do a great job of normalizing the LGBTQ Community.

The majority of gay or lesbian relationships tend to be boiled down to either fanservice or fanfiction. The yaoi genre in particular tends to uphold various aspects of rape culture and restricts one character as the dominant “male” while feminizing the second character and making them clearly submissive.

This right here is a huge blog topic in itself.

Any character that dances the line between gender roles tends to be reduced to comic relief (not to be take seriously). On top of that these relationships all seem to move at lightening fast pace. Perpetuating this idea that if you are in a homosexual relationship your just out and about having sex and committing sexual acts 24/7.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against that. This issue I have comes into play with the lack of diversity. Read on fellow Grimms because here where things get real. I cannot speak for how things are going in other countries since I live in America but I do read and from what I can tell the following points I am about to bring up seem to be pretty universal.

yuri-on-ice-viktor-and-yuri

I look forward to the day where we can all see this picture and just see two people clearly falling in love ❤

One of the things people say against the LGBTQ community is that they are sexual deviants. Now I in no way believe that but that is an insult members of the community have to face, as untrue as I find it. What is interesting about that is the way gay/lesbian/transgender people are then portrayed in anime.

In general people seem to have this belief that people should take their time in the realm of sexual matters. Moving to fast is frowned upon. Now I don’t care how fast you move as long as it is consensual but I recognize the social normal. What is interesting is to see how this social norm is played out in anime.

The “right” thing to do is to wait to move the relationship to a physical level. We see this portrayed to the extreme with heterosexual anime couples all the time.

How long did we wait for Kagome and Inuyasha to kiss? When did Naruto and Hinata finally become canon? Will Natsu and Lucy ever be together?!!! Season and seasons past as we wait for these answers!

The “wrong” thing to do is to become too physical to quickly. We see this portrayed to the extreme with homosexual anime all the time.

Izumi and Ryoma from Love Stage have their first sexual encounter after what? The second or third episode? We waited seasons for Inuyash and Kagome to kiss but Ryoma has no problem pulling down Izumi’s pants by episode three? Not to mention how much further that progressed.

That is basically the standard norm for yaoi/BL relationships in the anime/manga world and that’s a problem. If our societal norm is for legitimate couples to progress towards a physical relationship doesn’t it strike you as odd that we then create the majority of LGBTQ relationships to do the exact opposite of that?

yoi-lgbtq

On top of that any “gay” relationship that doesn’t progress quickly is usually fanfiction. Consider Miyuki and Sawamura at this point their relationship as pure fantasy on the part of the viewer highlighted by our mounds of fanfics on the subject. This sends a clear subconscious message. The idea of a homosexual relationship that progresses overtime is fantasy.

This idea is driven home by the lack of diversity of LGBTQ characters in anime. If all we see in the media are these versions of the community then we begin to subconsciously typecast the community as a whole. It also enforces stereotypes and biases we harbor. Members of the LGBTQ community are just as diverse as members of the cisgender community and should be portrayed that way in anime!

This brings me to my love of Yuri On Ice ❤ ❤ ❤

Unlike many yaoi/BL relationships portrayed in anime Viktor and Yuri’s relationship develops over time with to consensual participants. How often have we seen a yaoi/BL relationship develop only after the “dominate” partner has made advances on the unwilling “submissive” that later changes their tune.

By the way has anyone every noticed how the above scenario reinforces the whole, “Gay people turn others gay” myth.

To add to their amazingness neither Yuri nor Viktor follow the stereotypical dominate/submissive pattern. Both Yuri and Viktor exhibit both of these traits. They can each be unsure of themselves or each other. They can also each be proud of themselves and each other. Are there some people that have more dominate personalities or submissive personalities? Of course! However no one person is tied those roles and they certainly are not rooted in one’s gender.

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The persistence of constantly assigning the male who is more feminine to the role of a submissive personality enforces this idea that women are and should be submissive. Which just isn’t the case. We are humans and our moods, ideals, and personalities are constantly evolving and growing.

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Speaking of femininity, while the majority of shows reduce any gender fluid character to the punch lines of the series Yuri On Ice takes the opposite view. The feminine side of the skaters isn’t reduced to weakness or comedy but is instead looked on with reverence for its beauty and strength.

We see this portrayed by Viktor, Yuri, and Yurio at various times throughout the series. I loved how they did this! I personally feel that this is exactly the type of diversity we need in anime. I’m not saying we can’t have the funny gay friend or the flamboyant transgender, what I’m saying is that we need to add to those perspectives because the LGBTQ community is not just represented by those characters alone. Just like the cisgender community isn’t made up of simple the dominant male and the submissive female.

viktors-mini-me

If you mistake Yurio’s femininity for weakness you’re probably going to get your ass kicked. Just saying.

My favorite part of Yuri On Ice is the fact that as their relationship grows it isn’t ridiculed by the other members of the show. It is encouraged! To me this is the reality I dream for. The proof that when humanity is able to realize that not only we all completely normal whether we identify as cisgender or as a member of the LGBTQ community but that we are all diverse!

The characters of Yuri On Ice are able to do that and that is why I believe they are able to be so accepting of Yuri and Viktor’s relationship. It is normal to them because it is normal. Why wouldn’t two skaters fall in love when they share a mutual respect for each other and a common interest? Why wouldn’t a relationship develop between two adults who spend significant time together and obviously care about each other? The fact that they’re two men is never discussed because it doesn’t matter. What matters to their friends and family is whether or not Viktor and Yuri are happy together and whether their relationship is healthy and encouraging.

Ah, to live in such a world where we are judged not on the way we were born but on the actions we portray. That is my dream and that is my “flight” so to speak. To create a world where who you are attracted to is a non-issue as long as you are being respectful and consensual with your actions. Does the love you have inspire you to achieve your goals and to better yourself? Then it’s perfect.

I hope you all enjoyed this post ❤ Don’t forget to comment below and to keep your comments constructive. We don’t all have to agree but we do have to discuss things in a respectful way. How else will we learn about each other?

Also don’t forget to check out Venus’ post on JapanimeTalks will be posting her OWLS article on February 17th. Look out for it!

Check you all later!

P.S.

Don’t forget excluding OWLS Blog Tours and the occasional Flashback Friday I’m on hiatus! I’ll tell you more about that when I’m officially back in April. ❤

 

 

I do not own these images

71 thoughts on “Diversity and the Normalization of the LGBTQ Community Brought To You By Yuri On Ice

  1. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Yes! Kay, you killed it with this post! I love how you compared the progression of heterosexual relationships in anime to the progression of same sex relationships! I can’t tell you how many BL manga I have read where the main pair jump into the sack mere minutes after meeting one another! I’m not gonna lie, I like my smut as much as the next person, but I really wish more BL series took the time to develop meaningful romantic relationships between same sex couples like YOI did.

    This is a fantastic post!!😍

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am loving the sheer amount of positivity that this show is getting. That it takes the relationship so seriously and portrays it in such an authentic way is a fantastic plus point in my eyes, and it makes me more likely to eventually get around to watching the thing. In particular, that their relationship is a consensual thing is fantastic. That the predatory stereotype is still used so often for same-gender loving characters absolutely baffles me. I mean, when I came out, I didn’t suddenly become a menace, and I can’t recall anyone else I know that did. Not playing up on femininity as negative is also a major positive. Again, as someone happy to identify as fluid, that’s a wonderful thing to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you haven’t seen it I think you’ll love it for those very reasons! A lot of people are giving the show some flack bc they haven’t received any backlash from their relationship. All their friends and family members are vety nonchalant about it but I kind of like that though bc I feel like that’s how everyone should be! I also really dislike how almost all of the BL/Yaoi relationships I see start out unconsensual. That’s just not a healthy way for any relationship to start and it makes me mad that people seem to feel like it’s not a sexual assault just bc it’s two men. You know what I mean? So YOI was so great about that and really blew me away bc I’d never seen a gay couple portrayed that way in anime. I also love how they deal with gender fluidity and how they normalize it. Gender doesn’t matter their art is what matters and it’s beautiful. Thanks for commenting your insight is awesome. Hahaha I myself identify as bi and while I’m married to a man people still seem to think I’m going to be some sort of sexual deviant. Not sure why but I’m always like, “Ummm… nope. We’re literally just a normal couple people.”

      When you watch YOI you’ll have to let me know what you think!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aye, i’m bi too, and in a long term relationship with a woman. People just assume ‘straight’ as a consequence if they don’t know me, but there you go.
        The assault thing really gets to me, because you see it so much with gay characters, regardless of gender. I think that’s why I liked Hiroki and Nowaki’s relationship so much in Junjo Romantica (no sexual assault in sight).
        While it’s important to show the issues that same gender couples can face, I really think that showing healthy relationships without adversity is necessary too. There are plenty of gay couples who have been fortunate enough to not get backlash, and showing a story like that helps cement that as what should be the norm. I mean, showing the negative side, while giving some something to relate to, can also help show bigots that backlash is normal behaviour, even if it’s portrayed negatively.
        I definitely want to see it, I just have to find the time now. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Some of it is quite sweet, though it’s perhaps not as set in realism as something like Octave. By which I mean you still get some of the regular tropes like getting close to assault (I’ve not read the manga, and I’ve not rewatched the anime recently, but I don’t think it ever actually crosses that line). It definitely surprised me though, as it was a different feel to other yaoi that I was watching at range, Gravitation.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. From I understand, Yuri and Viktor love and connection are more close and intimate like other heterosexual couples. We do see a lot of closeness with these characters. Funny how they got more close than Inuyasha and Kagome and Naruto and Hinata. It looks them a long time. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. Yes, Kat! Oh my gosh. I absolutely freaking LOVE this post! So true! Common yaoi relationships are overly quick when it comes to sexual acts and defined roles of who’s dominant and who’s submissive. Like you, I love who Victor and Yuri aren’t categorized in either these roles and that their relationship follows a more expected course of events from being idol-fan to skater-skater to mentor/coach-student and to lovers (which remains unclear to many other fans who want specific clarification). I want more YOI and that is not limited to another season but another anime like this where same-sex relationships or other divergent relationships are normalized. Not only in anime but in other media as well. I really truly hope that someday we’ll achieve this dream. Excellent post, Madame President. I love it! Keep up the excellent work. Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m 100% with you!!! I seriously need more diversity like this within the community and media as a whole. I hope that Yuri On Ice’s popularity helps other writers to see they can write same sex characters like this and still get a great response from their audience.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, although everyone thinks YOI in this light. But as a group, I think we already know our stance on it. I’m looking forward to s2 and whether we’ll be able to continue our stance on it with the 2nd season. And yes, I agree with. Maybe soon, we’ll be able to see normalized same-sex relationships without too much focus on the sex.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I have no words for how amazing this post is. It resonates with me on so many levels. First of all, thank you for putting to words the best part about Yuri and Victor’s relationship. Their lack of stereotypical roles, a measure of gender fluidity and the healthy nature of their love all played a great part in cementing YoI’s place in my heart as a truly exceptional series.

    This kind of progressive representation gives me hope that there’ll be a day when I won’t have to take shit for my rather loud disregard of gender and sexual ‘roles’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 💕💕💕I’m so glad to read this 💕💕💕 Its my hope that with the success of YOI we will start to see more anime shows like this where they toss out these hurtful stereotypes on homosexuality and gender fluidity. I truly believe that as the media continues to show truthful representation of this more people with be able to become more enlightened and accepting.

      Liked by 1 person

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  12. You definitely make a good point with how LGBTQ characters are (almost universally) portrayed in anime. I really liked Loveless, for instance, but Soubi gets really physical in the very first episode. Hopefully this uncomfortable trend dies down. More wholesome relationships that aren’t rushed, please! YOI is a great first step towards this goal.

    Excellent post, Kat!

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Sorry for the late comment dear. I loved your post !! knocked it out of the park the social norms between a same sex relationship and normal relationship, I don’t see a different between the two honestly. I don’t see why there can’t be a harmonic understanding of this point. You did a excellent job with this post and your passion drive is on fire !!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I really like the points you make about gender roles! I also love how Yuri and Victor were never portrayed as dominant and the submissive, or male and female. Two people in a relationship should be seen as equal, and shouldn’t have to labeled into a certain role. I am in a lesbian relationship and people still ask the question, “Who is the guy in the relationship?” It irritates me so much because it doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t matter. I see me and my partners as equals, abiding by whatever roles we see fit. YOI did an amazing job of portraying this idea.

    Liked by 1 person

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  18. Diversification and representation is so important, this is why I’m so happy Yuri on Ice brought it all to the table and made it so normal.
    I definitely agree that usually BL’s make the relationship’s be instantaneous and all about the sex, when hetero couples don’t. I’m glad YoI didn’t turn like that, it’s such a beautiful relationship, they made me cry when they got mad and fought, but then things get resolved and I’m like I’M SO HAPPY 😭😭
    S2 better come and give me more sweetness and cute moments ;v;
    Great post, Kat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am craving more Cat… I NEEDS IT!!!! I really love how their relationship develops my only regret is that there wasn’t more. Can you imagine how amazing it would be if their first season had be 25 episodes? I’d probably die of awesome overload.

      Like

  19. I have a feeling that the media will soon begin to play a larger role than it ever has before in changing LGBTQ interpretations by the public. This could be very good–a step forward, perhaps–but it also invites much controversy considering that it is no longer a simple matter of labeling. Times will be tough, but so long as items like YOI honor and respect these views, people will hopefully overturn their long-held beliefs. Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to agree with you. I think we are def in for some controversial times as the media begins to step up it’s role, but I’m hopeful in the end it will help bring about the understanding and discussions we desperately need. I really hope to see more anime that follow in YOI’s footsteps. I also really hope that when YOI gets it’s second season (it better lol) that it continues to develop their relationship as they have done and don’t fall back on the usual stereotypes.

      Liked by 1 person

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