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LGBT Fans Deserve Better

This is beyond one show, and one fandom, and one character: this is a bigger, important cause we have to fight

An inspirational fanart drawn by the hugely talented lambodoodle
An inspirational fanart drawn by the hugely talented lambodoodle on Tumblr!

LGBT Fans Deserve Better. That was the whopping stomp of a trend on Thursday night, led by generations of LGBT fans on Twitter. While the “Lesbian Dead Syndrome” trope didn’t originate from The 100, it was fans of that show that created a stupendously successful fundraiser for the Trevor Project. This came after The 100’s seventh episode, in which Commander Lexa who also happened to be a lesbian and found nearly one and a half minutes of happiness, was shot and killed.

Anger and heartbreak descended upon the fandom. I cannot speak for everyone because admittedly I wasn’t very active on Twitter or Tumblr, but the outpouring of grief, the huge number of essays, the reaction videos on YouTube—this was a horrible shake to the system, for fans of a show that they believed would deliver good representation of the LGBT community and ended up watching it carelessly thrown away. The acting from the three stars of the death scene, Alycia Debnam-Carey (Lexa), Eliza Taylor (Clarke) and Neil Sandilands (Titus) is something that I really believe should be commended, but it is perhaps Debnam-Carey’s Lexa that has become the striking symbol of this revolution (there is something very Katniss Everdeen in that sentence).

I must confess: I’m very naive in this situation. I’m young and I don’t have much money to donate. I don’t remember a lot of shows in which this has happened, for example, I’ve never seen The L Word and thus, I don’t remember Dana’s situation. I’m aware of Delphine from Orphan Black, Naomi from Skins, Xena, Maya from Pretty Little Liars—but across Twitter, so many names were being given from so many fandoms that it frustrated me, and it upset me. How could I be writing this in 2016, in a supposedly progressive society—especially media-wise—and yet this problem still arises? Autostraddle most recently posted this alarming article. 97 (and rising) is the count for dead lesbians and bisexuals out of a very minority and underrepresented group.

I have also seen LGBT fans being accused of being bullies or doing it out of spite of a show—as if they needed kicking in the dirt once more (I really can’t see any bullying in raising money for a LGBT suicide prevention charity). To me, the trend ‘LGBT Fans Deserve Better’ does not implicate show cancelation, but maybe that’s just my naive eyes (I don’t know, it just seems like it says that LGBT Fans Deserve Better). I’ve seen them mocked for getting upset over a ‘just a fictional character’, or being told ‘it’s just a TV show’. Has it ever crossed anyone’s mind that a young LGBT fan may be terrified of the real world? If they’re getting mocked online for that, how must it be for them in real life? That they may look to LGBT characters for inspiration, for courage, for strength? That in being represented they may feel validated because quite often, they aren’t—not all families or friends are accepting, as much as the modern world likes to think they are. Has it crossed anyone’s minds that these fans form such close attachments to these characters because for an hour of blissful escapism, they can see that it’s okay to be a LGBT person and still kick ass, still be clever, witty, intelligent, and brave. That if they can do it on TV, it’s possible in real life too. Then they die, in the tropiest, laziest way possible.

What I think people don’t quite understand, possibly, is that this isn’t a shocking death. The Gay Women Channel quite aptly summed it up in their typically blasé and light-hearted, yet knowledgeable way, by stating that LGBT deaths aren’t a surprise anymore. They’re expected. One of them even says that if a LGBT character survives, that would be the real shocker. What hugely saddens me about that is that LGBT fans can’t even watch another show anymore until it’s finished and done just to see if they are in for another investment of heartbreak.

I guess what I’m trying to make a point of is, is what would happen if every straight, white, male character got inexplicably and deplorably killed off in every show you watched just to further the plot? To a point where you see a straight character and immediately think: “yep, he’s gonna die when he walks into a room without a bulletproof vest”. What does it mean, when a writer or showrunner cannot work within constraints for that LGBT character and the only option, in their minds, is to kill them off? What does it mean, when LGBT fans seek solace in the world of fanfiction or “fix-it-fic” because the actual, professional show writers failed them? What does it mean, when you kill off a LGBT character because you had to use them as a plot device and couldn’t find anyway else to explain the plot? What message do you send out, when you write these cheap deaths? That LGBT fans do not deserve to love who they love? That they should fear every door they open? That they should be punished for simply being who they are?

This isn’t about one death or one fandom. It’s about the fact that consistently, for so many years, the LGBT fanbase of any show has faced mistreatment in the ways their characters were getting killed off. It’s about the fact that LGBT characters do attract attention and hype and buzz for a show because it’s exciting that for once a minority group is being represented. And all that hype and buzz will be used to lure and bait vulnerable fans into becoming invested in a show, and then it will, quite literally, shoot you with a gun.

As a showrunner or as an executive producer, you surely have a duty to actually do some research into this. Most concerning is when it’s stated that X producer is aware of X trope, and they go on to do it anyway. I think pretty much of what I’ve said and want to say is summed up in this open letter.

There have been numerous articles about Lexa’s death on The 100. Mo Ryan, from Variety, and active on Twitter, and definitely gunning for Biggest Don Award 2016 in my annual awards ceremony (it’s very low-key) highlighted this issue; The Uncanny Valley has; Medium has. Most touchingly, Ryan McGee, a TV critic, took a long, hard look at his review of the episode and also the outcry on Twitter. He didn’t quite understand, as many may not—and that is fair—the true upset it caused. Yet he did not call LGBT fans out for being bullies. Instead, he kindly and honestly opened his website and twitter up for messages from heartbroken fans, in an attempt to understand. In an attempt to learn. Not everyone is going to understand the situation, but that’s not the problem. Ignorance is.

The actual willingness of professional critics to support and learn from the LGBT community and these are critics who are much more acclaimed, experienced in television and writing than I am, is amazing to see. Because the real message here is that LGBT fans are just like any other fans: they are human. They feel. They emote. They cry, they laugh, they joke, they feel pain. But it is the LGBT fanbase that is always punished for supporting a character they felt represented in, whilst everyone else skimps away. It’s the LGBT fanbase ostracized for being ‘haters’ or ‘pathetic’ or ‘bullies’ because they are angry and upset.

And it’s the LGBT fanbase now that are saving lives.

As I mentioned, stemming from Lexa’s terribly-written death on The 100, a fundraiser was made in honor of the Trevor Project (summary). Though it started small, it then absolutely exploded. As I write, it has reached an astonishing $33,351. Fans have banded together across all fandoms and supported this beautiful rally. In this day and age, where fandoms often argue and fight over who’s got the better show and polls are made around it to encourage the buzz and hits of a website—it really is all a business—fans from lots and lots of shows, and many generations, came together to donate for a truly honorable cause.

Even in the face of being spitefully, hatefully called bullies and other profanities and idiotic nicknames—they’ve reached into their pockets and donated, because maybe they didn’t get the representation they wanted, that some needed, today—but hopefully, it can encourage future generations of writers to not make the same mistake. The positivity now radiating through is amazing. The support, condolences and kindness. The snort-inducing mock videos.

Straight fans have donated upon seeing the devastation across their fandom. Prominent critics have promoted the cause (see Mo Ryan’s tweet—Biggest Don of 2016 is calling…). People have donated in honor of young lives taken because of misrepresentation on TV. People have donated because they want a better tomorrow. People have donated because their relative or friend couldn’t see beyond the darkness and despair that TV can cause. People have donated because they don’t want to be hurt anymore; they don’t want to see others hurt anymore. They don’t want any more precious lives taken anymore. It’s a serious situation. Figueiredo and Abreu(2015) found that LGBT teens were more at risk of suicide and comorbidities like depression and anxiety because of stigmatization and bullying, prejudice and discrimination. These are not just Twitter handles that are hurting. These are real people. Every life matters. We should care for all lives. Straight, white, black, gay, lesbian, bisexual, Chinese, Indian, Hispanic—isn’t that a global message? That every life should matter?

It’s a gross juxtaposition. Writers regularly brag that they are doing a good job if they are making us ‘feel’. That’s brilliant—that’s great. But if you are making an already-vulnerable teenager feel suicidal, or unworthy, or helpless, is that something truly to be celebrated? I am not asking for boring, emotionless stories. I don’t think anybody is. But when you write minority characters or indeed relationships, there is a responsibility there. You may ask “why?” You may say “well, straight characters die too, so what’s the big deal?” My only answer would be that minority representation is rare on television, and that is why people hold onto those characters so tightly. That if you flick across channels you will find a live straight person anywhere, with bonus moral grayness and brooding history. But for LGBT fans, brilliant bisexual scientists who are brave and noble and loving like Delphine Cormier (Orphan Black) are rare. A young, lesbian commander of a wide coalition, peace-making and selfless, like Lexa (The 100) is rare. A lesbian, leather-clad, heroic vampire like Carmilla (the webseries Carmilla) is…okay, you’re not going to get a vampire, but I’m throwing it in there.

To revert to where it started, with The 100 fandom: yes, there was anger. There was disappointment. Even I, as measly as they come, got a tweet to say thank you for “getting it” and whilst I was grateful, I simply thought—what is there to get? Why is there a supposedly difficult concept to grasp for anyone? Most upsettingly, I saw a lot of tweets saying, along the lines of, ‘why did I expect anything else? I’m the idiot here’ and that just can’t be the case in 2016. Why should a LGBT fan have to expect their idol or representation to be killed off and feel like it’s their fault? Why should a LGBT fan expect to be disappointed in every fandom they engage in? But very quickly, as social media is both a beauty and a beast, people found solace within each other and within other fandoms. I saw a note from the donations page stating that ‘X fandom will stand by you’ because it’s not just The 100 that’s been cheated over the years. That anger and despair and hopeless turned into something beautiful. It turned into gorgeous fanart. It turned into essays and fanfiction. It’s turned into a huge collection of international suicide hotlines. It turned into saving lives.

I would really encourage you to read the comments section or indeed read them on this tumblr account, to get a true idea of just what LGBT representation means, not just for the community but for the widely affected, for the understanding, for the critics, for everyone. This is a blissful segment of unity. This is a minority group from any fandom rising like a phoenix from the ashes to create something everlasting and impactful. This is a loud message: that they will not be defeated even if the uncaring choose to beat them down. That this is beyond a character and a ship: that this is a bigger cause, and that is LGBT representation. There will be toxicity in every fandom, but people care, and even if your chosen representation on TV failed you…you matter.

This is hope, in worlds and shows that have wronged you of that, robbed you of that. This is an extended hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, and a global trend. LGBT Fans Deserve Better. God, LGBT fans matter. So, so much. They deserve the world just as much as the next person does. And I hope that one day all LGBT fans will recognize that; that the critics will recognize that; that showrunners and network executives will recognize that. In the face of adversity, bullying, discrimination, homophobia, hate and mockery, LGBT fans have banded together to nurture this amazing project into fruition and let it fly free in the sky, to expand and glow. If there can be no beacon of hope for them on TV right now, then there can be a beacon of hope in this project. There can be lives saved, families saved from mourning, and real progression. It won’t happen immediately but so long as there is real hope—not the false, exploitative kind—then maybe are witnessing the first, inspiring cycle of change. It’s striking, how one can belittle others so easily; how anger is easier to jump to than love. How fighting is easier than unity. But I think, quite frankly, this tweet says it all.

LGBTFDB1
A heartwarming summary of what was achieved on Twitter in six hours, by @mygaypeck

To any fandom affected, to anyone who tweeted, to anyone who donated to the cause, to anyone who can’t but has spread the word…to anyone who’s been of any support: thank you. To the inspirational creator of this fundraiser: thank you. Let’s hope this sparks a much-needed change. Let’s hope you inspire future writers to think before they blab. Let’s hope this reminds LGBT fans they matter, and let’s hope this saves lives. From the tweets I’ve seen, I can say you certainly have. Fandoms can be messy, but this is honestly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It is not exclusive to just one fandom or the LGBT community. It’s open to anyone who wants to help, anyone who wants to learn or understand. LGBT fans: you do matter and you do deserve better, and if anything proved that, it’s this fundraiser. You brilliant, intelligent, creative, kind people…you’ve saved a life today and perhaps for days to come. You’ve honored the memories of those who were gone too soon. And you united masses of underrepresented minorities and gave hope and love, and I don’t think anybody can take that from you.

I’m going to be a healthcare professional one day and I don’t want to be doling out antidepressants or consulting depressed teens because of bad TV representation—not because I don’t want to help but because I don’t want to see it at all. I want to get on the bus to work one day and have two girls excitedly discuss behind me that ‘their ship has sailed and got married and ended happily on this amazing show’. What this project has achieved is immeasurable. It has offered hope to the hopeless; light to the dark; courage to those who’d lost it; a voice that needs to be heard. To the LGBT fandoms: I salute and thank you for being so eye-opening and magical, for teaching me, for reminding me that kindness will persevere. Under unity we can hope that the day you get the ‘better’ you deserve will be very, very soon.

Once more, here is a link to the fundraiser and the fantastic Trevor Project. I do have one last request, and that is you should listen to this Televerse podcast because there are some very, very important points there—and nobody can dictate your emotion or feelings regarding anything. Please do not let someone have the audacity to tell you how to feel. Thank you for reading—as always, you can hit me up on twitter @NicolaChoi or below on the comments—but mostly, thank you, as I quote Mo Ryan, ‘#leskru’ for making this magic happen.

42 Comments

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  1. This is beautiful. Thank you for landing us your voice. I’m going to send this to anyone who’s willing to listen but still doesn’t understand what’s it all about. Nico, you’re an outstanding human being with a heart as abig as this world. Thank you.

    • Wow–thank you for the high praise indeed–thank you so so much. I can’t quite, adequately, eloquently express how much your words mean to me and must settle for a simple “thank you”! <3

  2. Thank you for your heartfelt article! And entirely correct! I wish more people could see the importance of good representation. You are incredible and truely amazing! Thank you for getting our voice out there! Thank you for trying to make people understand!

    • Thank you Vera 🙂 Yeah…I am still quite baffled as to how unsympathetic people are to this situation. It’s quite ignorant to assume it’s just about a character’s death; behind those Tumblr accounts or Twitter handles are REAL PEOPLE. If people cannot extend kindness or try to understand, then I pity humanity. I really do, because I think kindness is one of the most basic traits you can show someone. Thank you.

  3. thank you for writing this. we, lgbt fans, are not bullies. we just want media to treat us the way we deserve.
    I’m proud to be a part of the 100 fandom.

    • Thank you sara and I am so, so sorry that you were ever called out as bullies. As Her royal majesty (I’m really taking this too far) Mo Ryan said in her article, she has been approached by nothing but kind, eloquent and well spoken fans and she wrote an absolutely BANGING article about it. She blimmin’ ROCKS. THAT is A* journalism; that is collating views of empathetic people; views of people who are hurt and exploring why. She may not be able to fully empathise with the LGBTQ fanbase but that does not stop her from sympathising and understanding WHY this death rocked the boat so much, and her article was just–so incredibly amazing to read. It just shows that, alright, Ms. Ryan is a well-respected critic (perhaps one of the very best) but she took the time and decency to understand not because of writing up an article–but because she is a bloody decent human being. It is that simple. Another example would be the wonderful Ryan McGee.

      Thank you, sara!

  4. It’s amazing how with no “leadership” the community said enough is enough and started all of this. I guess it’s just the last straw. Maybe someday is now?

    • Absolutely. And I think with last night’s goings-on…yeah, there’s definitely an uproar. I think, and I am young and I say this everytime, I have a lot to learn and a lot to understand–but years and years of mistreatment is just not fair to a vulnerable LGBTQ fanbase. I have seen so many tweets and messages saying that when they see an LGBTQ character on-screen they’re basically already counting down until the death scene. I’ve seen so many tweets saying that don’t want to watch another show with a same-sex couple because they are scared they will be as broken as they were by Lexa’s death. And it’s a real, real shame and an absolute travesty. Thank you for commenting.

  5. Some people get it, many don’t. Thank you for trying to explain the issues and why it matters and why LGBT fans deserve better.

    Personally, TV shows have gotten SO boring over the years. It’s all following the same recipe.

    In a way, that’s where also one of the main problems why homophobia will exist, is when we were kids, all we have on TV are hetrosexual relationships and even the books are 99%. It’s no wonder why kids have problems telling their friends and family who they really are.
    It’s only in recent years that we start to see a slight change. But even then all these characters on TV are taken away from us in the end.

    • Thank you Yin–and absolutely, I did try, and I am aware I didn’t cover all bases in doing so. But I hope it was something to add to the very necessary articles covering this (of which there were a few; now bigger outlets are covering it too, and that is very encouraging).

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I am actually a very plot-orientated viewer, so I don’t watch shows for the romance. So whilst devastated by Lexa’s death, the usage of a major LGBTQ badass character as a plot device to fish out potentially the most predictable and unsurprising plot twist was laughable, if Lexa’s death hadn’t been so devastating. Debnam-Carey will surely be missed on the show; her presence was commanding, her acting on-point, her tenderness with Clarke just such a stark contrast. I hope she excels on Fear the Walking Dead.

      And yes, I do agree with that. I think the problem is–yes, in history the minority groups were horrendously underrepresented, not represented at all, or misrepresented in a mocking way. Now, as you mention, yes there is a slight change–but sometimes I think TV or certain shows think they are more progressive and groundbreaking than they claim to be, and when the penny drops, and the curtain falls, they are simply exposed as yet another basic premise with a boring plot. It is indeed a shame. I am a huge Person of Interest fan (I don’t know about you!) but if you’re indeed looking for a show that tackles morality, ethics, humanity, AI’s (accurately), same-sex couples, racial profiling–all of that without exploitation from the writers and producers–I’d highly recommend it. It’s brilliant.

      Thank you, Yin. 🙂

  6. Young people like Nico give me hope for a brighter future for our community. Thank you for such a thoughtful article. I’m in awe of how so many banded together Thursday across the world to send a powerful message that we deserve better, and we will no longer be silent about poor media representation. After episode 307 of The 100 aired, I read countless statements of people feeling hopeless, alone and defeated. Many struggled with resorting to drugs, alcohol or self-harm. Yes, tv is meant to move us, to make us feel something. But when it breaks a person’s spirit, then you have to question the type of message that was sent. Killing Lexa, within minutes of her achieving happiness with Clarke and consummation of their love for each other was heartless and irresponsible. Worse, she died at the hands of a father-type figure who disapproved of her relationship with Clarke, a woman. I don’t think Jason Rothenberg intended to convey such a horrific message, yet to many that’s how it was perceived. I’d like to think that Jason has opened his heart and mind to the constructive criticism he’s received. However, he has failed to acknowledge any of it, which is troubling.

    • Thank you Jo 🙂 Absolutely–I couldn’t believe the unity of the fanbase after that episode, because the fanbase were allowed to be angry, furious and bitter–yet they produced something utterly beautiful in the gobsmacking fundraiser (It’s now >$52k!). Yes, yes, yes, absolutely. And those comments I saaw too, and really scared and worried me. You are absolutely right in terms of the plotline and I have nothing to add. I do wish to add that in addition to what you saw on social media–we must remember that these vulnerable fans are real human beings and the thought of them, a minority, being treated less so, absolutely sickens me. Yes, the silence is very disturbing, considering Mr. Rothenberg livetweeted the following episode–yet did not acknowledge the charity or the backlash (which has spread onto wider, bigger outlets like Variety, USA Today, Rolling Stone). Certainly I don’t think it was his intention–but I think part of that is because of the lack of understanding. How can somebody, who’s never experienced it before, understanding a vulnerable LGBTQ teen/young adult’s position? The constant stigmatisation, discrimination and disapproval–not just of the society but of their own parents and family? That, plus the months-long exploitation of that fanbase is also worrying–and this doesn’t stem from solely Mr. Rothenberg, but the writers too. I think there’s a Twitter account collating all the evidence, and it’s really rather damning and shows a cold side of this TV business that I was very naive to, and had no information about. Indeed, I think the word is troubling. Thank you for your contribution; as you mention I am young, so I will try my best to understand and empathise with others; if all I can do is extend a helping hand then that I shall do. Thank you very much, Jo.

  7. So LGBT characters aren’t allowed to be killed off ever? They should be immortal? Very strange indeed.

    • LGBT characters can be killed of when there’s a significant enough amount of them that aren’t constantly sidelined or made to suffer tragic ends (and trope ridden deaths). Same goes for that one black or brown person within the “main group” that died soon after the pilot. Every show has one.
      These characters are usually introduced for diversity but never to actually stay around. If you’re a part of any minority this sucks a lot.
      It’s not a difficult concept to understand.

    • If you need a simple description which I suspect you may do:

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CdPL8v6WIAAQWvu.jpg

      Please stop putting your blinkers on and reading a perfectly understanding, rational and mature article and spouting negativity instead. I have to praise the writer considering she’s so young and admits so, and admits that she still wants to learn, but clearly she understands the situation 10000x better than people like you. In fact I think she understands perfectly. You haven’t commented on the amazing Trevor Project fundraiser. Nor the research paper with real research. Nor the Autostraddle article, or the fact that as this article says, LGBT fans are human, real, and they may be inspired by these characters or find ‘escapism’, as Nicola says, in them. She has never stated to not kill an LGBT character. But if you do your research you will find that they die in the most avoidable and non-plausible circumstances ever, are promptly forgotten and are treated like a bug squashed by a shoe. Just look at The 100 – Bellamy (in which Mo Ryan’s just said is probably the worst character..) and Pike murder 300 grounders and the pain of their immediate family and friends is not seen because this colonialist show doesn’t care. I don’t know where you plucked “LGBT characters can never be killed” from. The thin air of your delusion, perhaps. But this article is about LGBT fans deserving better; this article sympathizes and empathizes with those hurt (along the lines of Mo Ryan, Ryan McGee, Eric Goldman, you know…professionals) and understands WHY. Like if a tennis ball was the point of this article, and the author launched it, it completely sailed over your head.

      • ANY fans or watchers of ANY form of entertainment don’t deserve anything. It’s incredibly short-sighted and self-centred to believe otherwise.

        • Just a very simple analogy, because I can see that the very understandable and logical arguments are REALLY hard for you disgruntled employees to understand!

          In the form of tax paying, I guess. If you had $5 to your name and someone else had $500. To be equal, the government has to charge the same amount of taxes on everyone! So he takes $10 from both parties. $5 fellow is left bankrupt, while $500 fellow still has $490 to spare! So, in that case, equality results in one broke man and a man with $490. Broke man vs. $490…. but both being charged the same amount.. i’m not quite seeing the equality there, are you?

          I agree, both LGBT representation and straight representation do have the possibility of being killed, but when you do it to the LGBT representation, vs the straights, can you see that the re will be a difference in the extent of impact, despite “equal” treatment?

          Indeed, no one “deserves” any special treatment. But I believe that the impact of the decision to off a LGBT representation should be evaluated much more seriously and the repercussions should be taken into deep consideration. How necessary/plausible is this decision? Would the impact be the same if this was done to straight representation?

          I believe that a properly represented LGBT character actually does have a heavy impact and influence on the LGBT community, because good representation is extremely hard to come by. Can the General Audience say the same? That it is incredibly rare to find a relatable character that is actually accurately represented on TV?

          Furthermore, no one deserves to be disrespected and used to the showrunner’s advantage. E.g. Queerbaiting benefits the showrunner but not the LGBT audience. I don’t see the equality in that at all. Please also correct me, if there are more instances where “straight-baiting” occurs to the VULNERABLE general audience rather than the LGBT community, that desperately seek some form of recognition and proper acknowledgement in the media.

          Maybe the one being a little “short-sighted” and “self-centered” might be you since you couldn’t even be bothered to educate and update yourself on these issues before dropping a DISGRUNTLED comment?

          Or you know what, maybe I’m wrong, and this reply makes no sense at all. Maybe it’s really too difficult for you to understand a fellow human being. I feel very sorry then, that you lack the ability to empathize. Your thought process does seem a little abstract. Anyway, hope this helps you both employees be a little less DISGRUNTLED!

          Cheers!

        • Yet the viewers are the ones who enable showrunners to create media (and have jobs that pay good money!) by consuming and supporting it.
          If you’re gonna bank on people, don’t shit on them after you use them for buzz.

        • Actually I think RESPECT is something that everyone deserves when it comes to representation. It’s sorely lacking in TV, film and gaming entertainment – whether it be gender, race or sexuality. It’s not about stifling creativity, it’s about wanting writers to be intelligent and aware of their target audience. To understand the legacy of their story. In this case The 100 delivered a shockingly poor lesbian death – even though it had been quite happy to lap up that ‘progressive’ praise previously and queerbait for 12 months. So now instead it will know go down as one of the most serious presentations of ‘bury your gays’. That is now its legacy. They chose that.

          What it sounds like really is you feel people should ‘know their place’. What a privileged position to be in, wanting people to behave in ways that don’t bother anybody else, even when they are wronged.

    • I think what I was going to reply has been covered excellently by the responses you’ve received–so I shan’t repeat them. Thank you for commentors on this, you made spectacular analogies and kudos to you for trying to get somebody to understand.

      My case is not that LGBTQ characters are not allowed to be killed off. My case is that LGBTQ characters are not a plotline’s stepping stones; they are human characters too. Just like the straight characters. My case was that Lexa was unique; many people looked up to her and idolised her, and my critique isn’t about Lexa’s death but rather putting Lexa’s death in a cultural context. Television is not a vaccuum, I think as somebody has said in the responses. Television is seen globally, and television–when they offer representation–garner passionate fans because, like with that brilliant cookie analogy (thank you for that! That is an excellent explanation)–the LGBTQ fanbase are still indeed a minority group. Nothing of this article suggested that no LGBTQ character should be killed off, ever. I perhaps condemned the tropey and cheap way it was done (but then again, the show is not of excellent calibre)–no, I wanted this article to extend beyond “LGBTQ characters getting killed off”. I wanted to make a point that this mistreatment of the LGBTQ fanbase in general affects real lives and real people; it is locked in scientific evidence and it is also apparent in the way social media has reacted. If you examined the reactions, it’s not about her death–it’s about the exploitation of an already vulnerable and very human fanbase. Just because the LGBTQ fanbase is a minority, it does not mean they are any less human than anybody else on this planet. That is the point I am trying to make.

  8. For me speaking from a place where for me to find “representation” all I need to do is change a channel this situation continues to get to me. It’s not about “LGBT characters can’t die” or “POC can’t die” which is such a ridiculous statement all on its own made by I suspect a Bellarke shipper. This is bigger than The 100 a show that hides behind being “progressive” to excuse colonialist narratives, mass killings and wonton violence against minorities. Was Lexa’s death necessary? Maybe. Was it necessary 90 seconds after a love scene? Absolutely not and its disgusting to me that this made it into the script. Who honestly thinks its alright to callously use someone’s emotions in such a way? Straight “ships” never get this treatment so I don’t see why or how its “progressive” to do this with LGBT ones. Backing up to Lexa the character, who was IMO the first true LGBT character who wasn’t defined at all by her sexuality dies in an almost frame by frame copy of the most infamous case of “bury your gays”. In fact Id say its worse because Willow & Tara at least were a couple whereas “Clexa” wasn’t actually ever canon. That’s a huge step back when you remember this is 2016. Finally Lexa didn’t die fighting or for her political decisions or even in a blaze of glory protecting Clarke she died because she dared to love a woman. Makes me sick.

    • I just want to say–that I completely agree with your sentiments and I’m rather speechless as how to respond with other than a big THANK YOU.

      I don’t think this was ever about the death itself. I think a lot of the anger was directed towards the months-long manipulation of that fanbase, essentially using them; I think it was directed towards hyping an episode to a largely LGBTQ fanbase to give them the shock reveal of–the lesbian death trope. It utterly overshadowed the quite frankly predictable AI reveal and just was a shambles. Now in hindsight, and there is still radiosilence from the showrunner himself (quite aptly called out on, by Mo Ryan from Variety) it makes the scandal even worse. I’ve never seen anything like it. In terms of your problems with the plot: I agree with ALL aspects, hence why I lost my passion for the show far before Lexa’s death. And absolutely. There is nothing progressive about essentially ripping off a tropey death done years and years ago. The problem for me is that the show always pushed that it was “different” or “progressive” when it’s not. Progression is not the insertion of POC (well, Pike’s a xenophobe, so…) or LGBTQ characters. That is not progression or representation. And I am not quite sure The 100 understands that.

      Thank you, Riley for your spot-on commentary. I virtually stand up and applaud you.

  9. Damn this article deserves a lot more attention. Great understanding of the LGBT community, empathy, compassion, kindness and a willingness to learn. You, Nicola, you give me hope for the younger generation. I’ve seen lots of angry and bitter tweets on Twitter but to see you so rational about this situation, to see you do your research and also acknowledge that you aren’t fully well-versed (how could you be? You’re so young!) with the situation but you are so astutely aware of this trope and the problem it causes. What I enjoyed most was the real empathy you showed with LGBT fans, not just of The 100. Your subtitle is right: this cause is bigger than just Lexa’s death, and The 100, even though it was sparked by that. Your paragraph about the vulnerable viewership, considering their real life situations and being scared of life and seeing someone like Lexa as “escapism” just sums it up perfectly. This world is NOT progressive in how we treat LGBT people, and neither is the show The 100, it seems. LGBT fans DO deserve better. This isn’t entitlement or greed; this is simply because they have been misrepresented in nearly everything, and killed for shock value or plot devices. That’s unacceptable and needs to change. This isn’t about not having any LGBT characters dying at all, as I think you’ve made clear in your article. It’s about the cheap way in which they do, in which they’re used to lure viewers in – and you take into consideration the real, social, cultural impact it has on TV nowadays. TV is not a vacuum. Real people are affected by it and I love your stance on refusing to dictate other people’s feelings. I think that is really admirable, considerate and selfless from you – and exactly what the LGBT community needs: someone who is willing to listen, to offer non judgmental support, to empathize with them. You are astonishingly mature beyond your years. Thank you for this.

    • Thank you Leanne. Yes, I confess I’m not well-versed in this situation at all and I have very limited knowledge in the years and years of tropey LGBTQ deaths fanbases had to endure–so I confess I had to research, look on other articles, for that part. I guess I just wanted it to be on a public domain; not to condemn the writers, as other outlets have already done, and not to explore the trope, as other outlets have already done–magnificent, professional outlets. Thank you for your incredibly insightful and thoughtful comment; in reading it I feel like i have learned too. And absolutely: I think if anybody tries to dictate how others should feel or mourn then that is simply a besmirch on humanity. There is no empathy there, and I cannot support people who say things like “get over it” or “it’s just a TV show” because that shows a horrible lack of understanding and sympathy. For many teens, Lexa wasn’t just a character–she was a symbol, an idol and someone who could kick ass AND be a lesbian. For teens, vulnerable teens, who looked up to her as a hero, they can latch onto that. Nobody can dictate how somebody feels about a character like that. It’s rude and insensitive and I was quite appalled to see remarks like that–however the positivity of the fundraising efforts cannot be diminished, and I must congratulate the instigator of this because it’s a truly wonderful cause. 🙂 Thank you, Leanne.

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