Ever wonder why so many LGBTQ characters die in movies and on TV? It’s not a coincidence. For many years, written and unwritten censorship laws prohibited the depiction of LGBTQ characters unless they were punished for their orientation. (You can google “Hays Code” for more info about this.)
This situation is so commonplace that there are names for the trope: Bury Your Gays and Dead Lesbian Syndrome. LGBTQ characters die everywhere you look — Brokeback Mountain, A Single Man, House of Cards, Game of Thrones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Philadelphia … need I go on?
Even when someone doesn’t die, unhappy endings are far too common (Call Me by Your Name is a recent example). And don’t get me started on Billy Crystal’s character on Soap — who only found happiness when he “switched” to heterosexuality. Steven on Dynasty too.
Bury Your Gays and Dead Lesbian Syndrome are destructive in a way straight people might not realize. What would it do to your self-worth if the only images you saw of people like yourself on TV and in movies involved death and misery?
But don’t despair! Things are getting better. Love, Simon gave LGBTQ audiences the teen rom-com they have always wanted. Cam and Mitch weren’t killed off on Modern Family. Ray Holt is still leading the precinct on Brooklyn 99. And we’re getting a gay Marvel superhero in “The Eternals” in a few months.
Speaking of which … I can’t wait!