Authors, Stop Burying Your Gays
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Authors, Stop Burying Your Gays

A letter to three of my favorite writers who also killed off a lesbian character with a stray bullet.

27
Authors, Stop Burying Your Gays
VOX Culture

To Joss Whedon, Jason Rothenberg, and Jonathan Nolan:

I am a big fan of your works. I say this with no sense of irony, sarcasm, or malice. I am the “stay-up-late-to-finish-this-season, watched-every-episode-three-times, and want-to-go-to-Comic-Con-and-ask-you-a-bunch-of-really-specific-and-obscure-questions kind of fan.

"The 100" is so good it’s almost shocking, with so much love put into the details like languages, costumes, sets, and performances. I wasn’t sure initially what to think of "Person of Interest," but was immediately and continually won over by the combination of seriously smart dialogue and critique, with entertaining fight sequences, and quirky, funny heartbreaking writing. I have watched "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," and "Firefly" with awe, tears, and laughter -- I grew up with these shows, making my friends join me so we could make the way through seasons together.

As a gay young person, I struggled to construct an identity, a way to be happy in my skin. Your gay characters all gave me something, something that I could relate to, something I could aspire to be.

Shaw inspired me to be bada** -- no qualifiers, just bada**.

Tara made me want to be kinder.

Willow gave me permission to be powerful.

Root allowed me to be sexy, without it having to have anything to do with a guy.

And Lexa pushed me to speak up and be heard.

All of these women were beautiful, smart, savvy, and complicated.

Then half were shot by a bullet meant for someone else. The rest watched the love of their lives die, and tried to pick up the pieces.

I can only describe the feeling as a gut punch; a complete loss of breath when you see your worst fear come to life on screen. What was almost worse than the violence was the slow, pressing-down-on-a-bruise sensation as I watched the rest of the survivors try to move on.

I know in the back of my mind that some people will think, "it's just a TV show," "everyone dies, even gay people," or "there are real problems out there -- get over it." But with over 60 gay women dying on TV, it's a clear trend. Now, just because a lot of gay characters die doesn’t mean anything, except it does: "Just 11 percent have been allowed to have a happy ending that doesn't end in tragedy or death." Killing off gay characters is a historical reality: pulp novels and exploitation films cemented the idea that gay people don’t deserve a happy ending -- in fact books, could be banned if they did just that. But it’s not “just history.” The continual use of the “bury your gays” trope instills the belief that a "happy ending," a life without tragedy, is out of reach.

We want happy endings, and when I was in the closet, scared and alone, all I wanted was to see that happy endings exist, and they existed for people like me.

And I was disappointed, over and over again.

Queer youth is still a vulnerable population -- one that looks for role models and is constantly and consistently disappointed, either by stereotypical and tone-deaf portrayals, or by queer characters being brutalized, damaged and destroyed.

So, authors, I thank you for helping get these stories told -- stories of women who were more than an object of lust, a token, or a half-hearted push for diversity. I don’t want to minimize the importance of you all creating your characters, but your work doesn’t exist in a bubble. You help create the culture, make role models and change people’s lives and perceptions of queerness, and then you unravel it all by contributing to a culture that abuses, ridicules and kills us.

You can pretend that “artistic expression” excuses you from social consequences, but that’s simply not how it works. You can pretend that creating the character is enough, that you have already done enough. You can pretend that you are on the moral high ground as LGBT people, and, through the tears, try to find a new happy place, a new inspiration, only for that to be taken away, too.

You can pretend, but I’m not going to accept it anymore, not from you and not from anyone. I am never going to be a big enough fan.

If you want my unsolicited advice, this is how you move forward: keep on writing and creating. Tell big stories with the best production, the best actors -- ones that will win all the awards, critical acclaim and high ratings. Hire a diverse staff of writers with a diverse set of experiences. Let your gay characters have happy endings.

If you don’t want to do that, I am sure there are others are willing to meet the challenge. I can leave you behind, and there are a lot of others who will do the same.

Respectfully,

A lesbian fan

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Every "Scrubs" Fan NEEDS To Know These Dr. Cox Quotes

Dr. Cox may be the most sarcastic, snarky, and nasty person to ever cross television screens.

225
Every "Scrubs" Fan NEEDS To Know These Dr. Cox Quotes

Dr. Cox may be the most sarcastic, snarky, and nasty person to ever cross television screens. His long-winded commentary and ability to destroy just about anyone made him terrifying and hilarious. Once you broke through his tough persona, Dr. Cox was genuine, caring and dedicated. He wanted the best for his patients and his interns. Here are some of funniest, most sarcastic and downright mean lines that Dr. Cox has said during his stint on Scrubs.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Patriotism doesn't end with Independence day

If you can be proud of your country on he 4th of July, you can be proud all year long.

5499
Patriotism doesn't end with Independence day
Photo by Rob Martinez on Unsplash

I'm the child of a Marine Veteran. He may have been out of the service by the time I was born, but the Patriotic Pride he lived by has been my family's life line. I grew up with the American Flag hanging in my front porch. My dad has the "Proud to be a Marine" license plate in the front of his car. And red, white, and blue is a completely acceptable way to decorate your living room. But it doesn't end with just that. You need to know why we celebrate freedom.

Keep Reading... Show less

According to Katy Perry, "Baby You're a Firework." I don't know if she was referring to the Fourth of July when she was referencing fireworks, but this song has allowed this generation to rejoice. The song "Firework" allows people of all ages to appreciate the lyrics, as the song brings forth a positive state of mind. Unfortunately, just like the song, not every knows what the Fourth of July is actually for. Many just assume it is that one time of year you get to spend time barbecuing and see fireworks light up the sky. Even though many are not aware of the American historical significance, this holiday has annually encouraged people to come together happily, which could very much be the importance of it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Why Fourth Of July is America’s Biggest Frat Party

It’s the celebration of our great nation, and you’re all invited.

4057

It’s the celebration of our great nation, and you’re all invited.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

10 Revolutionary Women To Remember This Fourth Of July

The patriots of the American Revolution aren't the only ones who gave us the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

3752
10 Revolutionary Women To Remember This Fourth Of July

Independence Day is almost upon us, which means that for most Americans, it'll be time to bust out the lawn chairs and grills, gather around family and friends, and praise our history through patriotic garb and grand fireworks displays. It's the one day of the year where everyone forgets their political biases or historic inaccuracies, at least for a while, to look back on the hazy, illustrious history of the United States.

But, while we celebrate what people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry did for this country, they are not the only ones who embodied the very virtues that our nation loves to advocate for. This Fourth of July, here are ten American women who history tends to forget, despite the groundbreaking things they did for their country.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments