(CNN) — Television helped me grow up. Now I’m watching TV grow.
When I was young, watching TV was how I found out about the rest of the world, how my mind began to grasp just how little my small, relatively homogenous hometown was showing me, and how much more there was to see.
But television didn’t just help me understand other people better — thanks to shows like “The L Word” and “Orange is the New Black,” TV also helped me understand myself and come to terms with my own identity as a queer woman. That’s why I’ve always known firsthand why representation in our media is so important.
Over the last few years, society has finally started to celebrate the power of on-screen representation to translate into off-screen changes in how we see ourselves and how we see others (which often leads to changes in our politics, personally and institutionally). But it’s always been a bit different on reality TV.