“40% of LGBTQ+ characters on TV have been killed in 2016” (lgbtfansdeservesbetter.com). In recent events the bury your gays trope has becoming more common in tv series. A definition from Merriam-Webster of a trope is “common or overused theme or device.” The bury your gays trope is that “Lesbian and bisexual women are killed off at alarming rates, usually soon after finding happiness” (lgbtfansdeservesbetter.com). The event that lead up to the huge uproar of people wanting writers to treat LGBTQ+ characters with more respect was the death of Lexa, from the tv series The 100. People were pissed off that Jason Rothenberg killed Lexa not five minutes after the character’s sex scene with her on-screen girlfriend. He killed off Lexa to push the plot forward and for shock value. Even shows that are more popular like The Walking Dead and Vampire Diaries uses the Bury Your Gays Trope to help with the shock rating. The fans weren’t necessarily mad that the character died in the series because they realize a post-apocalyptic show is bound to have many deaths. They were mad about how it was executed (pun intended, too soon?). The fans were mad that male characters in the show survived much worse injuries and are still alive. For example, Jasper was speared in the same spot as Lexa’s injury was, with the same person (Clarke) there to save him and he was able to recover from it. Furthermore, Finn was stabbed with a poisoned knife and Clarke was able to save him. (if you want more examples see figure 1 below.) And yet, when Lexa was shot by a stray bullet, with Clarke right next to her, there was absolutely nothing that could have been done. Lexa may have been the catalyst that started this new revolution to stop the bury your gays trope but she wasn’t the first nor the last.
The one main point that should be said is, yes we understand that in TV shows, no character should be unkillable. But, more often than not the ones being killed are in the LGBTQ+ spectrum. The representation for LGBTQ+ characters is so slim, that we cherish each character that fits in this spectrum. We don’t necessarily have the option to switch to a different show or channel to see representation elsewhere because there are very few shows that have a wide range of characters with different sexualities. It has become a more popular idea for tv makers to have more representation but there is a lot of hesitation for the fans to get attached to the characters. The LGBTQ+ fans of The 100 were roped into a false sense of security by Rothenberg’s comments and look where that got them. Fans were devastated and now are caution of it happening again.
A prime example of the fans nervous to start liking a new tv show was the show Wynonna Earp. The characters Nicole Haught and Waverly Earp start to have a romantic relationship. A lot of people on twitter were saying how scared to get attached to Waverly and Nicole. The executive producer, Emily Andras, tried to reassure them that she would not toy with anyone’s emotion. People starting joking that every lesbian should wear a bulletproof vest so that they didn’t end tragically like Lexa. Spoiler alert ahead… Then, in the season finale Nicole, Waverly, and Wynonna was being held at gunpoint by Willa. This was the first moment that Waverly said that she loved Nicole. Then, a few minutes later Nicole was shot in the chest. Luckily, Nicole somehow heard the pleas of the viewers and was wearing a bulletproof vest. Finally, a bulletproof vest for a lesbian!!! The funny part of this was the episode was filmed before the episode that Lexa was killed. So, the cast and crew had no idea the true impact that this scene would mean to their viewers.
Truthfully, it is a lot to ask for change overnight. Killing off LGBTQ+ characters for shock value is so in graded in society. I believe if we keep fighting for equal right that one day this trope will be gone. I think the tv show Wynonna Earp is a step in the right direction. I also think that the tv show The 100 will send a huge message to future readers to not mess with the LGBTQ+ fandom!
Links of my research and other good websites:
Most of my facts from the beginning paragraph came from this article-
This article is about the lesbian and bisexual who got happy endings on tv-
This article lists all of the lesbians and bisexuals who died on tv-
This article gives a list of every single character deaths from tv in 2015-2016-