Last week I wrote an article about inclusivity in film, and how inclusion is not just a black and white issue. In that article, I also expressed the need for representation for the LGBT community as well, and it seems that need has recently become more pressing. On March 10, Twitter went ablaze with the trend LGBT fans deserve better, which raged on for around six hours worldwide.
This trend was a fan reaction to the death of the lesbian character Lexa from the show “the 100.” The character was murdered after the actress Alycia Debnam-Carey left to work on the second season of the unexpected hit spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead.” This obviously created a situation where the character had to be written off. Understandable cause or not, the killing off of the character largely offended the LGBT fan base of the show and their allies. This prompted the fans to take to Twitter to express their hurt and outrage. (Full Disclosure: I participated).
The larger problem is that in killing off Lexa the writers also participated in the “Bury Your Gays Trope.” The death of the character was used in order to fix a behind the scenes problem. In addition, Lexa and her lover Clarke had just had sex for the first time right before she died. This blissful moment before death is very typical for the trope, just ask Tara and Willow of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
In fact, Lexa is just one of the latest Queer female characters to be killed on television, the count being currently at 132 (and increasing by the day). It would be nice to think that Jason Rothenberg did not mean to add to this trope, but no matter what, he did.
Now we are left with a fandom that is not only offended, but deeply hurt, and a showrunner who feels betrayed and defensive to the point of calling the trenders "bullies."
Both sides are hurting under a conflict that at its core is about getting proper representation and an actor’s contractual obligations. That said, the cultural effect and implications of the deaths of Lexa and the many other Queer female characters on the LGBT community has been going on for years now. It seems that the death of Lexa is the last straw and has caused the community to fight back.
After the LGBT fans deserve better trend died down, fans continued their movement by trending terms like "Lexa," "Alycia is our commander" and "CW stop Jason Rothenberg." (Full Disclosure: I did not participate in these trends). It seems that the LGBT fans and allies have split into two sides. One aggressive like that of the late, "the Ballot or the Bullet" Malcom X and one that is passionate, but more peaceful like the late, "I Have a Dream" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (I side with the latter).
As these sudden online movements and trends evolve I start to wonder where do we go from here? How can we start finding a resolution to both the specific problem with "the 100" and the under-representation of LGBT people in media? I have some ideas.
First. We can recognize that there is a problem for both sides and not demonize the other side. For those supporting the trend, we must express why we feel hurt and how the other side went wrong, while understanding why the writers committed their actions. While the backlash to the death of Lexa shows that Rothenberg should have handled the situation better, we must remember that his hands were tied. Honestly, I think Rothenberg made a quick fix that rightfully blew up in his face, but to call him “a rat,” which some have done, is verging on being an actual bully. We must remember that if we want to be seen as full-fledged human beings, we must act like ones.
Second. We should continue tweeting LGBT fans deserve better to get attention about the need for more queer representation in our media. While the additional trends help to gain attention, they are built on tearing a man down to raise LGBT issues up. That just isn't right. Also, we must tweet about the need to stop this killing of Queer characters “to further the plot.” The senseless and constant killing of LGBT and Queer characters sends a message that our lives are disposable, which is not the case.
Third. We need to support LGBT themed work or work created by LGBT creatives. Also, cocerning "The 100" itself, Whether some of us wish to stop watching the show or not is completely up to each individuals own decision, however we must remember that we still have the bisexual main character Clarke and two gay male character on the show to root for. Just because Clarke may end up with a man does not make her any less of an important LGBT character. We must remember this when deciding on whether to continue watching or not.
Fourth. As LGBT fans deserve more trended on Twitter there was a call to more action. A link to a webpage was shared where donations could be made to the Trevor Project in order to help prevent the suicides of our LGBT youth. Within the hours that the trend ran over 30,000 dollars were donated to the cause. Keep this up! We should support this other, yet very related cause.
As the next few days go by it is important that this trend and cause do not go away. As many said in their tweets this is about more than the death of Lexa. This is about gaining representation for LGBT fans and community members, because as noted in the tweet below...