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Exclusive: Guy Branum on the Significance of LGBTQ+ and Plus-Size Representation in Media

Guy Branum on The Significance of LGBTQ+ and Plus Size Representation in Media
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The actor and Bros co-producer tells The Advocate Channel why "fat representation" is so important, and why The Whale got it wrong.

Following the release of Guy Branum's memoir, My Life as a Goddess, the actor and producer sat down with Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now to discuss queer and plus-size representation, and how audiences and creators alike can advocate for these communities.

Advocate Now | Guy Branum

"When it comes to representation of fat people in media, so frequently we only appear to be the butt of the joke, or to be an impediment to someone's story," Branum says.

Fat characters rarely have their own agency or wants, and they are hardly ever the protagonists of their own stories. Unfortunately, Branum says many audiences prefer it that way.

"I think a lot of people would like to imagine a world where fat people don't exist, the same way that for a really long time, gay people and trans people didn't exist in movies except to be the butt of the joke," he explains.

Branum was a co-producer on summer blockbuster Bros, which was the first queer romcom given a theatrical release by major studios. The film's significance is not lost on Branum, as he believes that its representation can benefit queer and straight people alike.

"I think straight people, cis people, will not be able to fully see us as real until they can understand our stories as they relate to us," he says. "And not as figures in their stories."

While queer representation has been on the rise in recent years, fat people rarely see themselves onscreen. Even within the highly-anticipated movie The Whale, Branum says the portrayal of plus sized individuals is still skewed. He refers to lead actor Brendan Fraser wearing a fat suit for the role as being "half human character, half puppet."

"Can you entirely sympathize with a character who's being played half by Brendan Fraser and half by foam rubber?" Branum asks. "I think that if we were able to cast an extremely fat actor ... it would change the way we look at the character."

For more interviews like these, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.

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