The day was May 7th 2002.
Season 6 Episode 19 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Fans around the world mourned the callous and heartless murder of Tara Maclay, a beloved character. A powerful witch, a compassionate human being, a caring friend and one half of the best relationship on that show, Tara was killed by a stray bullet right in front of her girlfriend Willow Rosenberg, literally moments after they finally got back together.
Fast forward 14 years.
March 3rd 2016. Season 3 episode 7 of The 100
Fans around the world are outraged by the equally callous murder Lexa, a beloved character. Commander of the 12 Clans, and general badass, Lexa was killed by a stray bullet right in from of her girlfriend Clarke, literally moments after they finally consummated their relationship on the show
The parallels are striking.
But it should have been expected.
In fact according to this article, of the 35 queer female characters that existed on screen in 2015, 8 have already been killed in the first 3 months of 2016. Tv shows such as The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead and even Empire have joined the foray of shows that have recently killed off queer characters on their shows.
Why is this turning into such a common tv trope?
Where people once lauded the inclusion of LGBTQ characters on tv shows (finally), they are now enraged that queer characters are being reduced to plot points that serve to further the character development of the straight, white protagonist (maybe not white in the case with Empire, but the point still stands).
TV show writers seem to find it impossible to write stable , healthy happy queer characters or queer relationships. Representation means very little, when these characters are treated as almost less than human, and reduced to a series of tropes. How are there so few gay characters on screen, yet they are more likely to be killed off as opposed to straight charcters on tv? It’s even worse if the charcters are killed off for actually being gay.
It is important that issues of representation be taken seriously by the media. (Also if any of the Orange is The New Black writers even think about going near Sophia they are likely to have a riot on their hands. Just a warning for the future)
Update: The most important points in this discourse have been highlighted in this Blogpost, Bury Your Gays
Thought provoking, and well- written. It is a great read