‘Bury your gays’ is still a thing in 2017 TV
While we rejoiced over the recent news of a possible sequel to the iconic lesbian TV series, The L Word, we kind of got depressed over the fact the ‘bury your gays’ trope is still a thing on TV.
This despite the fact that it’s already shown that having LGBT main characters in a mainstream TV show– like The L Word— can be a success.
As they say, this is why we can’t have nice things. Seriously.
Bury your gays: Poor Lexa
We first talked about this in 2016 with the death of Lexa in the TV show, The 100. Back then, a lot of our favorite lesbian characters were being killed off by their TV creators.
This problem has been a recurring problem, i.e. the lack of representation of LGBT characters on TV as reported yearly by GLAAD.
However, as shown by the trend that started in 2015 and is still ongoing, TV shows have been killing off their LGBT characters quite readily.
This trend had even gotten its own trope, called “Bury your gays” or the “Dead Lesbian Syndrome.”
As the website TVTropes says it: “The problem isn’t merely that gay characters are killed off: the problem is the tendency that gay characters are killed off in a story full of mostly straight characters, or when the characters are killed off because they are gay.”
Last year’s death of Lexa kicked off the trend’s own hashtag (#LGBTFansDeserveBetter) and a group, LGBT Fans Deserve Better.
Bury your gays: LGBT fans strike back
The group– through their website dedicated to “educating people on the importance of positive LGBT representation in the media”– recently released a review that noted an alarming high number of LGBT deaths.
In their review, they noted 62 lesbian and bisexual female characters had died within the past two TV seasons, the highest in a two-year period since the trope of killing LGBT characters was noted in 1976.
The years 2015-2016 had a record high lesbian and bisexual female character deaths of 42 for a single TV season. For the period 2016-2017, there were 20 deaths.
Numbers matter in this case: the deaths account for 10 percent of all deaths on scripted TV shows for that period. However, lesbian and bisexual women comprise less than 10 percent of all characters on TV.
On their website, they explained: “The key problem isn’t merely that LGBT characters are killed off, but the tendency that these characters, and in particular lesbian and bisexual female characters, are killed off far more often than straight characters.”
“Given the low overall numbers of LGBT characters in the media and the important representation those characters provide to viewers, the loss of any one of those characters is more keenly felt,” they said.
One of the noted deaths was of Poussey Washington (portrayed by Samira Wiley) at the end of the 4th season of the TV show Orange is the New Black last year.
So yeah, hopefully the resurrection of The L Word will hopefully put us back on track.