Bring Out Your Dead

Bring Out Your Dead

Autostraddle posted a countdown of All 65 Dead Lesbian and Bisexual Characters On TV, And How They Died

Recently these things have come to a bit of a head, after openly lesbian guest character Lexa on The 100 was unceremoniously killed off. The tl;dr of the death is that Lexa and Clarke had sex for the first time and, in the very next scene, Lexa was killed by a bullet meant for Clarke.

Making it worse, the showrunner touted this as ‘shocking’ (though it’s possible he was talking about the AI thing that had been implanted in Lexa… long story). Jason Rothenburg had been playing to the LGBT fanbase for a while. He’d been talking up how much of a good guy he was for making the world a place where sexuality and race weren’t issues. Then he turned around, killed off a lesbian, and said it was for the plot.

The problem with this is the dead lesbian trope.

A great many articles have been written about this problem. It’s certainly not the only one in this show, where the primary people of color are essentially a drug pusher, a mass murderer, a cripple in constant pain, a punching bag for the sake of ‘drama,’ or dead… Not really a good track record here. This isn’t to say the white people don’t have their own problems on the show, but giving the show a look as a whole, it’s pretty deplorable, even for the CW.

There are people calling for the show to be canceled, the show runner to be fired, or for someone to please stand up and admit they were wrong. All of those are valid responses. Me? I’ve dropped the show like a hot potato. Lexacru fans have raised over $30,000 for The Trevor Project, following reports that some people were so distraught over Lexa’s death, that they were considering self harm.

Anyone who wants to say “It’s just a TV show” should keep their opinions to themselves.

When you grow up without seeing you on television, ever, you tend to grasp at the representation you get. That’s why so many women my age remember Xena with great fondness, even now when we recognize it for the subtext and probably queerbaiting that it was. But it’s 2015 now, and LGBT Fans Deserve Better.

LGBT Fans Deserve Better. Credit Maryne
LGBT Fans Deserve Better. Credit Maryne

I read a great analogy I’m going to share here from fearthewalkinglesbian on Tumblr:

“straight people die all the time on shows, you were just being treated equally”
analogies work best with dumbasses so let me use yet another one

you got two people

one of them has a plate and it’s filled with so many cookies you can’t even count how many there are on it, there’s so many of them they’re falling off the plate

another one who has exactly one cookie on their plate

you take one cookie away from each plate, to treat them equally, right? meaning equality to you is that one of them has absolutely no cookies left whereas the other one can still stuff his fucking face of cookies for the next 35 years to come

this is the simplest way i can explain to someone with less ability to think than a 5th grader what’s the difference between formal equality and substantive equality if at this point you don’t understand you need to go back to the basics of critical thinking

That’s the crux of the matter. 65 lesbians and bisexual women are dead in TV history. That’s probably out of 150 open ones. Close to 50% of queer women on TV get killed. Something’s gotta change.

Some articles worth reading:

About Mika A. Epstein

Mika has been deep in fandom since she could say 'Trekkie.' With decades experience in running fansites, developing software, and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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