Photo: YouTube/ABC Family

The Fosters: How the ABC Family show is ‘fostering’ a safe space for LGBT+ people

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s a new era for LGBT+ people on TV: The Fosters has finally given us a Jude (Hayden Byerly) and Connor (Gavin McIntosh) kiss, the youngest same-sex kiss ever featured on TV. After two seasons of patience, ‘Jonnor’ is finally happening and their characters are the new faces of this revolution.

Although for the last decade, same-sex relationships have been increasingly frequent on our favourite programs, younger LGBT+ people have been very poorly represented in the industry.

Photo: Jude and Connor kiss - YouTube/ABC Family

Photo: Jude and Connor kiss – YouTube/ABC Family

This is why Jude and Connor’s relationship is so special: at only 13 years old, the two boys’ relationship is a message of hope for all LGBT kids that feel isolated and alone.  They identify with their struggle in figuring out their sexuality, facing bullying and coming out at such a young age.

“It’s something that a lot of kids and teens are struggling with right now — they’re young and they don’t know if it’s right to be gay or bisexual or straight or whatever they are,” said Gavin Macintosh to Bustle. He added, “It’s crazy to think that playing a character on TV can change someone’s life and it’s amazing to be a part of that.”

Some of the critics say that the show is not being rational and that the characters are “too young” to know that they’re gay. That sounds ridiculous to me. Does anyone ever question the fact that a 13-year-old child likes the opposite sex? I don’t think so. If it’s not too early to know you’re attracted to the opposite sex, then it’s not too early to know you’re attracted to the same one.

Another advantage is undeniably the raising of awareness in younger people concerning LGBT+ issues. Thanks to TV shows such as The Fosters, they are becoming part of our culture.

Our society is becoming more educated on the matter and, in the same way that ignorance leads to hatred and rejection, education leads to acceptance and understanding

Furthermore, Jude and Connor are not the only same-sex couple on the show. Jude’s adopted moms, Lena (Sherri Saum) and Stef (Teri Polo) are an interracial lesbian couple, mothers of biological, adopted and foster children coming from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

The Fosters doesn’t limit itself to LGBT+ activism. It denounces the miserable conditions of some children within the foster system and is concerned with race discrimination.

In fact, Mariana (Cierra Ramierz), Stef and Lena’s adopted daughter struggles with her Latino ethnicity: growing up in a non-Latino family, she has no relations with her origins and her cultural heritage. She even dyes her hair blonde after getting into her school’s dance team, because she overheard some girls saying that she only got in for the sake of diversity and not because of her competence as a dancer.

Photo: Members of the Fosters' family - YouTube/ABC Family

Photo: Members of the Fosters’ family – YouTube/ABC Family

As you can see, The Fosters carries such a strong social message and handles so many diverse subjects: Jude got bullied at school for wearing blue nail polish; a trans teenage boy named Cole (Tom Phelan) was put in Callie (Maia Mitchell)’s all-girls group home and was cut off his hormone treatment; Callie’s half-sister, Sophia (Bailee Madison) tried to kill herself because of a personality disorder.

Name the social issue, and The Fosters is on it

This TV show has featured very openly many crucial but underrepresented matters in the entertainment industry. It has opened so many people’s eyes on what others might go through as individuals.

The Fosters has a mission – it raises social awareness – and we definitely need more shows like this one on TV. But do you know what makes this show even more special? It’s that it’s actually not just about being gay or straight, biological or adopted, black or white: it’s about the universal theme of family, and it’s about unconditional love and support.


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