Film / TVSex & Gender

wanda sykes producing doc on lgbtq+ representation

February 18, 2020
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Television is so intimate. The personal effect it has on people and their households has long made it a great change maker, and a resource for opening up closed minds. True empathy can be created in front of the television in the safe space of one’s own home.

Wanda Sykes knew she had to be a part of Visible: Out on Television, a new docuseries on the LGBTQ+ televisions representation with the potential to create real difference for a community that has too long been disrespected in life and throughout media. Alongside fellow actor and executive producer, Wilson Cruz (My So Called Life), and filmmakers Ryan White (Serena) and Jessica Hargrave (Ask Dr. Ruth) Sykes has embarked on a journey of helping tell this significant gay rights history, and to look toward the future.

This five-part Apple TV+ docuseries explores the timeline of LGBTQ+ presence — or, the lack thereof — on television. From no LGBTQ+ characters, to one dimensional portrayals of this community, to more recent, complex characters, this Visible investigates how the community is presented on-screen.

Speaking  about the series to The Hollywood Reporter, Sykes discussed how, once she came out, audiences expected her stand up material to center her sexuality, “But I am on stage talking about my wife and my kids, and that is pretty gay. I think my life represents us. I think that is the place where we have to get to, where we can tell our stories and it’s not just the story about being other.”

Featuring the likes of Janet Mock, Billy Porter, Rachel Maddow, Oprah Winfrey, Neil Patrick Harris, Anderson Cooper and many more, the series will use the exploration of milestones made thus far in LGBTQ+ representation on television, and the hurdles that have been crossed. It’s a reminder that change is recent and there is much work left to be done.