Friday, 25 March 2016

Television: Bring Out Your Dead

Three weeks ago, the unexpected death of The 100′s lesbian Commander Lexa prompted a swift fan revolt. Tired of so many of our beloved queer female characters getting hit by cars, slaughtered by stray bullets and eaten by alien-possessed-aliens, the LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign rose from the ashes to raise awareness about the Bury Your Gays trope, particularly as it applies to female characters. Over at my website, Autostraddle, I published a list of every lesbian, bisexual or queer female character who’d been killed on television (with the exclusion of one-episode victims-of-the-week from criminal or medical procedurals or otherwise fleeting one-episode characters) and, with input from readers, saw that list grow quickly from 65 to over 150. Not all these deaths were absurd or senseless, of course. Often these deaths made perfect sense within the show and weren’t motivated by anti-gay bias, unconsciously or consciously.

Similarly, many of these deaths are less painful and controversial on shows where Anyone Can Die (e.g., American Horror Story, The Wire, True Blood, Game of Thrones) or on shows with all-gay casts (e.g., Queer as Folk, The L Word). But every death adds to a body count that weighs down our souls. Two more queer female characters have died since #LGBTFansDeserveBetter campaign began merely two weeks ago, and the story has attracted unprecedented mainstream media attention, including The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Entertainment Weekly.

I was curious what the numbers would look like for gay and bisexual male characters, too, because the Bury Your Gays trope isn’t limited to women. That is why I am here with you boys today! I’ll say straight away that I’m not as confident with this material as I am with the women’s shows, but a lot of research and collaboration happened and I’m sure you’ll let me know what’s missing and what I got wrong...


Blah blah blah shopping list follows...

Riese, Queerty.

To be fair dough, the body count in TV land for everyone is pretty high.

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