The problem with TV shows isn’t that there aren’t enough LGBTQIA characters (although that is a problem); it’s the characters that are LGBTQIA are not represented properly. Shows like Glee, The 100, and Faking It give us these characters that we can finally relate to and then kill them off, or ruin their story line. For instance The 100, in which the two main female characters (Clarke and Lexa) fall in love. Their love was one of those forbidden fruit ordeals for the first two seasons, and finally, in season three the writers let them be together. It was a great minute and a half before they killed off Lexa.
Glee, on the other hand, gave us Brittany and Santana. Both women questioned their sexuality and dated off and on for ten seasons. In one of the last episodes they randomly get married and go on some weird honeymoon. These characters barely had any on-screen romance; their love story was cut short, and basically only given the bare minimum to keep viewers watching. Another relationship on Glee was Kurt and Blaine. These two had the perfect relationship at first, but the writers tore that away from us as well. One great thing Glee did was set the football coach (a transgender male) free—they let him become himself and have almost nothing but love and approval from the other teachers and students.
MTV’s Faking It is still on the air, so it still has the chance to redeem itself. This show features two high school girls, Amy and Karma. They pretend to be lesbians for popularity. Amy falls for her straight friend Karma, and has trouble dating anyone else because of it. The writers continuously let me down in this show. At first they made it seem like Amy was definitely a lesbian, but then they start giving her that straight girl vibe. All I’m asking is for her to at least be bisexual. We need all the representation we can get. This show does have a few satisfying characters in it like Amy’s ex-girlfriend Reagan, and Amy’s intersexual sister Lauren.
Pretty Little Liars has one of the craziest plots on TV right now. I’m not really positive what is going on half the time, but I continue watching. In PLL there’s this beautiful lesbian, Emily. The writers have yet to keep her happy. They gave her this amazing girlfriend towards the beginning of the show and, of course, killed her off. Then another girlfriend, and sent her away to another state. Then another, and turned her into one of the bad people. The writers also give the other main girls long-term boyfriends or at least proper romances from the very start.
Anybody in the world with access to the Internet or television can watch these shows. Imagine a child, just figuring out their sexuality that is only seeing the people like them getting hurt or not even given a storyline. How is that child going to learn acceptance without proper representation? Not only that, but how are this child’s peers going to learn to accept him/her?
I was that child once. I was still figuring out who I am, I was questioning my sexuality more than ever before. I watched every episode of Glee that was on Netflix, and got my grandma and grandpa into watching it with me as well. Brittany and Santana were proof to me that I was going to be all right when I came out. They had their struggles in the show of course, but the little amount of happiness they were allowed to have was enough for me. I just hope shows in the future are better at giving LGBTQIA characters happiness than the ones on TV right now are doing.
Why is it that we cannot get the representation we deserve? We’re just asking for some characters we can rely on and relate to, and not have to worry about how many episodes it will be until they break their hearts or let them die. Don’t just write them in to prove that you’re diverse. We want LGBTQIA characters to be shown acceptance and allowed success.