Unbury Your Gays

I’m not in The 100 fandom, but being a denizen of Tumblr, it took approximately three hours for me to hear about this mess . Once again, the Bury Your Gays trope (note: the linked TV Tropes page includes homophobic quotes from example media) raises its ugly head.

I would say I’m baffled that it’s 2016 and we’re still okay with this kind of crap — especially when it comes to queer women — but let’s be very honest, a Supreme Court ruling does not translate into overnight cultural change. We can still be fired, evicted, or (in 49 states)  murdered with impunity if a straight person feels “threatened” by our sexuality. Our media currently reflects these stagnant biases. LGBT+ characters are controversial in all but the most adult media, which is hardly friendlier to us. Queer sex and queer relationships are “edgy” — they’re a cheap way to generate a rating boost off of the shock value. Rarely do we get media that views us as people, not commodities, and this is doubly true for queer women. “Lesbian” was one of the top searches on porn sites in 2015. Bisexual women are often propositioned for threesomes with straight couples. As far as the media is concerned, girl-on-girl is “hot.”

That is, it’s “hot” until it actually happens. Once two female characters are committed to each other on screen or on the page, the writers seem to fall over themselves in a rush to kill one of them off.

(Is it a coincidence that this happens only after it’s clear that neither woman is available as a love interest to a man? Is it a coincidence that the surviving partner usually winds up either alone forever or with a man? I don’t think so.)

You need to stop this. Yes, you. Straight content creators. Straight consumers. You don’t get points for being “progressive” if you kill off your queer characters the moment you might have to deal with their queerness. You don’t get cookies for taking the easy (lazy) way out.

Are you going to be our allies or not?

You have to make a choice.

ETA: I’ve been seeing far too many posts today where young queer people are expressing their hopelessness and despair because this is the only kind of queer love story they’ve seen in media and they feel like it’s never going to change. That is why it fucking matters how you choose to handle underrepresented characters. People — especially LGBT+ youth, who often don’t have many queer mentors in their lives yet —  look to their media to understand themselves. What does it say to them if every lesbian or bisexual woman they’ve ever seen winds up dead? If you think juxtaposing images of queer love and violent death doesn’t have a psychological impact on your audiences, you need to sit down and think that over.

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