****Spoiler Alert: The 100****
Violence on queer women has been rampant in the media lately, and the latest example can be seen in a show that was once praised for its groundbreaking LGBT+ representation. The 100 has unceremoniously killed off a major queer character in last weeks episode and is now facing a large backlash from fans.
Lexa’s death certainly came as a shock as she has been widely popular with the fan base. First introduced in the second season, Lexa quickly became a fan favorite and one of the most dynamic representations of a queer woman that mainstream media has to offer. Jason Rothenberg, developer of The 100, has claimed in interviews that he understood how important representation is to the LGBT+ community, which may explain why audiences are so disgusted with his choices in last week’s episode.
The context and framing of her untimely demise is also a big reason for the backlash. Lexa’s feelings for Clarke, which had been apparent since Season 2, were finally returned and their relationship h
ad just become canon. During this scene, Lexa realizes that living is about more than mere survival. It is a moment full of hope and excitement as Lexa can finally be happy and fulfilled within her life, something that so many queer people struggle with. But that joy is ripped away from the fans as Lexa is immediately killed after this scene. Longtime watchers of this show were outraged as their fierce Commander was destroyed by a stray bullet and lazy writing.
These fans turned to social media to vent their frustrations and lament over how close we were to having a strong, dynamic, queer couple portrayed on a popular television show. Fans voiced their outrage and managed to get #Lexadeservedbetter trending on Twitter, while Jason Rothenberg has lost over 10,000 followers since the episode aired.
While Rothenberg has hinted at a possible reincarnation story arch that could possibly bring Lexa back into the picture, it may be too little too late for many queer fans who are outraged by the tired tropes and queer-baiting used to attract views. Queer-baiting is when writers add tension between same-sex characters to attract more liberal or queer viewers, even though they have no intention of making the queer relationship last. What has happened between Lexa and Clarke is a perfect example because their budding relationship has been hinted at since Season 2 and has now ended before it could even begin.
Some of you may be thinking- “So what? Fan favorites die all that time. That’s the nature of television shows.”
This is true; all good things must come to an end. But the problem here is that queer characters are dying off at a much faster rate than any of their heterosexual counterparts. Not to mention, the LGBT+ community has a long and painful history of being misrepresented on television. Within older works, there was an unspoken rule in the media that “gay characters weren’t allowed happy endings” because they were seen as “immoral”and had to be punished (ugh). There are so many tropes surrounding this theme and it is sickening to see that some are still in use today. Relying on these toxic messages tells the LGBT+ viewers that they’re expendable and that their happiness is always just out of reach. Queer audiences are tired of constantly being faced with this whenever they get the tiniest shred of representation, and it is because of this blatant disrespect that many former fans may drop The 100 in favor of something more understanding.
To avoid going through the frustrations of having a seemingly LGBT+ friendly show disappoint you, here are a list of shows that actively embrace their queer characters and don’t kill them off for “narrative purposes:”
This YouTube series depicts the modern day love story of Carmilla, a centuries old vampire who falls in love with a mortal while attending the same college, Syllas University. Along with openly queer and gender non-conforming characters, this series offers a spooky storyline that you’ll really be able to sink your teeth into
Are you craving something cute and sweet? Then you should look into Steven Universe, a groundbreaking animated show that is aimed at children but still manages to capture the nostalgic hearts of adults everywhere. The majority of the main characters are female and their voice actors are dominantly made up of women of color. A fan favorite, Garnet, is actually made from the love of two smaller gems named Ruby and Sapphire.
This show was created by the famous Wachowski siblings so you know you’re in for a wild ride! This Netflix Original shows the adventures of eight strangers who mysteriously start to share a mental connection. One of these protagonists is a transgender woman named Naomi who is in a supportive and healthy relationship with the beautiful Amanita.