If you know me, you've heard me defend yaoi/bara/manga. Many people rail against the queerbaiting (the practice of hinting at a same sex romantic relationship but never showing it), non-consensual sex scenes (no, no, no, until YES now), "loving" rape, etc that can fill the pages giving people a twisted view of same sex relationships.
BUT: It many cases there are pages and pages of exploring feelings (previously) forbidden, readers finding out they are not alone in their desires, etc.
In the past, LGBTIA+ people were not discussed openly. That is changing now and I believe partly due to yaoi/bara/manga. Readers are being exposed to pictures and stories that light their imagine and explain some of the basics.
Recently, it's also changed dramatically. We are beginning to see middle stream manga with loving relationships that are simply in the background. (Can I hear a shout out for Yaoi On Ice?) But the same way allies/advocates aren't born with all the right words and phrases Japan (as is much of the rest of the world) are evolving in their understanding of LGBTIA+ and what that means for each individual.
Here's an article that leads to a documentary on an exploration of queer manga. (I haven't watched it yet but I'm looking forward to it).
BUT before you go here's the link to my free Yaoified Love.
ON to the article! Hugs, Z.