*by Vítor Antunes
Currently, the three largest TV stations in the country show soap operas from their own productions. As always, Globo is the most voluminous, and shows four new productions: “They for Them“, “Fuzuê”, “Earth and Passion” It is “All the Flowers” – even though the latter aired first on Globoplay, it is a first for television. SBT and Record only show one soap opera each and both follow the segmentation to which the channels decided to dedicate themselves. SBT, the children’s audience, which it tries to reach with “The Childhood of Romeo and Juliet“; Record, shows the new season of “Kings”, call “The Succession“. Given this fact, we observe that only in Globo soap operas is there representation of LGBT people. Trans, gays, lesbians and transvestites are featured in the soap operas as characters and one of them is even the protagonist, Renée (Maria Clara Spinelli), in “They for Them“. But is there room for diversity on other broadcasters? Not currently.
No TV has featured LGBT characters in original and unreleased programs for a long time. On Record, the last soap opera was “Victory” (2014). On SBT, “Love and Revolution” (2011). Since then, broadcasters have definitively migrated towards television drama segmentation, therefore turning a blind eye to representation. Record, in fact, has never shown a gay kiss in its soap operas, especially after the beginning of the management of the Universal Church, in 1989 – and is reluctant to show them even in more “liberal” programs, such as “The farm“. On SBT, in turn, there was a lesbian kiss in “Love and Revolution“.
The psychologist Felipe Medeiro (CRP-DF 01/21378), one of the coordinators of the Pride Institute – body that aims to promote the mental health of LGBT people through psychological care – was asked about the reason why broadcasters make LGBT characters invisible in their works for so long. According to him, “SBT makes a point of highlighting gay people in cartoons. Let us note that the comedian Igor Guimarães it’s in the “Mouse Program” being poorly used in a program that distills a lot of prejudice. They don’t put LGBT people in soap operas as protagonists. In Record there is a [pensamento] archaic”. In the psychologist’s view, “when we look at the issue of diversity in institutions, those that are not diverse will not survive. If SBT and Record continue to deny this portion of people and if the brand does not represent the public, they will not consume it.”
For the journalist and Master’s student in Communication with an emphasis on LGBTQIAPN+ culture, from the Federal University of Goiás (UFG) Mario Camelo, “still in 2023, some media outlets governed by conservative machines – and they are powerful – insist on making us invisible. I’m sorry to say that we exist. And that our representation is necessary so that more people see us, naturalize us, accept us. Seeing LGBTQIAPN+ narratives, in their most diverse pluralities, in a film or a soap opera, is essential, as it makes society also, little by little, understand us as present, as normal, as just another part of a whole.”
Globo is getting its foot in the door and I don’t think it will take long for others to copy it. It encourages people to feel represented – Felipe Medeiro, psychologist
Giselle Tigre and Luciana Vendramini starred in SBT’s first gay kiss, usually considered the first on television (Photo: Reproduction/SBT)
AUGUSTÃO, LET’S HAVE COFFEE?
On Globo, at least since 2003, with the showing of “Women in Love“, the presence of LGBT couples and/or people became more continuous. They were present previously, of course, but in a more focal way, as in “Explode Heart” (1995), with or “The next victim” (1995). Mário Camelo points out that “LGBTQIAPN+ people have no longer been invisible for some time. We made ourselves known, fought and sought for our rights to exist. Likewise, the industry noticed us, noticed the potential of our pink moneyand so, not only brands and companies saw us, but also audiovisual and entertainment around the world, which have been building new and beautiful narratives that illustrate our dramas, our daily lives, our demands, in films and soap operas”.
At Record, after the resumption of television drama production in 2004, with “The Slave Isaura“, the broadcaster’s intention was to compete with the audience leader. So much so that its slogan, for years, was “On the Path to Leadership”. Thus, in soap operas like “Balacobaco”, “Flames of Life” It is “Mortal sin“, there were LGBT characters. In fact, the big villain of the latter revealed himself to be in love with the good guy, and we recently did an interview with the actor who played him, Vítor Hugo, who brought Picasso to life. Successes like the trilogy “Mutants” brought the character Danilo (Claudio Heinrich). Even though he was a gay-relief-comic – so much so that his theme song was “Robocop Gay“, by Mamonas Assassinas. The character highlighted one of the network’s problems in addressing LGBT issues. The author of the novel Tiago Santiago he even commented in interviews that there would be a kiss between Danilo and Bené (Deo Garcez) in the second season of the soap opera, something that was blocked by the church.
Initially, the character of Cláudio Heinrich was not openly homosexual, as stated on the Os Mutantes page on R7 (Photo: Reproduction/R7)
Still in the trilogy of novels about supernatural beings, Francoise Forton (1955-2022) gave life to Estela, who was also gay, “but without many conflicts”, as was reported at the time. In “Balacobaco” (2012), Leo Rosa (1983-2021) lived Breno, who was gay. In “Flames of Life” (2008) and in “Lifes in game” (2011) two cases that today would generate great discussion. In the first, the actor Roberto Bomtempo lived Docinho, a transvestite who shared an apartment with a prostitute. For Felipe, “There is a stereotypical, marginalized representation. Restricted to this meaning of prostitution and drugs. These changes need to be focused.”
In the case of SBT, for the psychologist there is a maintenance of “patriarchy. Sílvio Santos reproduces the stereotype of the straight man, of the traditional Brazilian family and makes the broadcaster the mirror of his family. It becomes a disfavor to society to include LGBT people in a veiled way, to exclude them or restrict them to caricatured places as an audience lure. There is such a huge machismo on SBT that there are no men in the audience. In other words, comparatively, we have a sexist broadcaster on one side and a religious TV channel on the other. Both make programs that no one watches. Globo stands out by doing the minimum”, he says.
As a psychologist, I wanted to understand why people are afraid of recognizing that LGBT’s are people who live a life, who move the economy, who pay taxes… These are the people that broadcasters need to open their eyes and notice so as not to make them of pet LGBT. It’s something very sickening – Felipe Medeiro, psychologist
In “Lifes in game“, Denise Del Vecchio, lived trans Augusta. In other words, both she and Bomtempo are two cis-straight actors who played trans characters, which would configure the transfake. Despite this issue, although it is problematic in itself, these were one of the few occasions on which LGBT characters were present in Record soap operas. At the time, Del Vecchio told Jornal Extra that she didn’t even know which character was trans. And, at the end of the scene with this revelation, the technicians joked about the fact saying “Augustão, let’s have coffee?”.
I’m so feminine… (…) I knew there was something nebulous in Augusta’s life, but I never imagined she would be transsexual – Denise del Vecchio, in 2011
The last soap opera to feature LGBT characters was “Victory” (2014). Since then, the broadcaster has decisively migrated to biblical and/or proselytizing soap operas and for almost 10 years there has been no representation in the evangelical broadcaster’s serials. Due to religious guidelines, or influenced by them, it is as if these people did not exist for Barra Funda TV. It is important to highlight that in all the cases mentioned above there was no kiss between LGBT characters. Furthermore, the broadcaster prohibits showing kisses between gays/lesbians who make up the cast of “The farm“, reality marked by boldness. This very year, Kamila Simioni It is Jaquelline Grohalski they kissed and the video was shown for a short time on the app and not broadcast on open TV.
Denise Del Vecchio in “Vidas em Jogo” (Photo: Munir Chatack/Record)
Even though the LGBT presence is more infrequent in SBT soap operas, even though there have been characters of this nature, it is noteworthy that at least since 2011 there has not been a production on the channel that includes these people. In “Love and Revolution“, that year, a lesbian kiss scene was shown between the characters Marina and Marcela (Luciana Vendramini It is Giselle Tiger, respectively), being the first on the channel and one of the first on TV. Since then, although contemporary soap operas have been made, there have been no LGBT characters. In 2013, the broadcaster dedicated itself to producing children’s soap operas, and understood that, in this way, it would not be possible to give space to diversity.
However, in 2014, Sílvio Santos’ TV showed “Sortilegio”, a Mexican soap opera in which there were two bisexual people who were in a homosexual relationship. Under the prerogative of “being able to show the soap opera in the afternoon”, and thus not suffer losses with the Rating Rating, the broadcaster edited and redubbed scenes of the Ulisses couple (Julian Gil) and Roberto (Marcelo Córdoba), so that the dialogues about the couple’s intimacy and their scenes of affection were never broadcast, in the first broadcast of the plot on São Paulo TV. In the 90 chapters of the serial shown on that occasion, both boys were transformed into two heterosexual machos.
There is still a lot of moralism. Why rebuke love? It’s an unbelievable thing… To have mental health, the person who feels uncomfortable with situations like this, they have the power of control and must only see what they recognize and identify, and not give an audience to what they don’t agree with – Felipe Medeiro, psychologist
Bed scenes between Ulisses and Roberto were cut from the SBT broadcast in 2014 (Photo: Reproduction/Televisa)
For psychologist Felipe Medeiro, this stance reveals that thinking and Freud says that “we are all born bisexual and then we discover our lives. It is difficult to see broadcasters taking this stance [conservadora]”. We asked the professional if he expects that at some point TV will represent LGBT people honestly and he ends by saying that “They will only do it when it hurts their pocket, when the audience drops. It’s no use just showing off gay friendly. When viewers turn off the channel because they don’t feel represented, this movement will happen.”