TV Has A Problem With Bisexual And Lesbian Relationships

Posted: May 5 2016, 12:09pm CDT | by , in News | Latest TV News

TV Has a Problem with Bisexual and Lesbian Relationships
Photo Credit: BBC America

Warning: This post may contain spoilers.

It is something that has been lurking on message boards, Twitter hashtags, and Tumblr tags for the last few months - too many lesbian and bisexual relationships on televisions shows end in tragedy. While the shows get adulation for showing relationships between two women, they most often don't receive backlash for killing one of them off in the name or drama, or in some cases, in order to send one woman into the arms of a waiting man.

Years ago, there was a certain production code that said that anything "immoral" in a Hollywood film must immediately be followed by the consequences for that act. This meant that if, for example, they were to show a relationship between two women, something bad would have to happen to at least one of the women.

In many shows, lesbian and bisexual women just don't find happy endings with each other. This is particularly true for sci-fi shows that are more likely to have relationships of many kinds.

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tara Maclay was shot and killed.

On Band of Gold, Naomi “Tracy” Richards stabbed herself.

On Orphan Black, Delphine Cormier was shot (though we don't know what happened to her yet).

In ER, Sandy Lopez died while fighting a fire.

On Smallville, Tina Grier was impaled while fighting with another character.

On Torchwood, Toshiko Sato was shot.

In Pretty Little Liars, Maya St. Germain was bludgeoned to death.

On Private Practice, Susan Grant died from septic shock at her own wedding.

The L Word, Bad Girls, and many soap operas have killed off multiple lesbian and bisexual characters.

On Skins, Kate McKenzie got cancer and died.

In Last Tango in Halifax, Kate McKenzie was hit by a car.

Most recently, Lexa was killed off on The 100 when her relationship with Clarke Griffin was just starting.

That isn't even a third of the list - Auto Straddle has an ever growing list of 155 dead characters.

Fans are starting to notice more and more, and are reacting with sadness and anger. However, the scarier part is that many of them are also noticing with acceptance and tiredness.

Fans unfollowed actors and writers on Twitter, sent letters to production companies, and even tried to raise money for awareness. But the trends aren't changing.

It isn't like there should be a rule that no lesbian or bisexual women should be killed off, but rather that the women are written better stories, better endings than the ones they are given. It has gotten to the point where the deaths of lesbian and bisexual women - particularly those actively engaged in relationships - are predictable.

Lexa and Clarke. Delphine and Cosima. Willow and Tara. It all feels like a broken record to fans of all kinds, but especially LGBT fans who look forward to seeing themselves in the characters.

Writers on shows actively use lesbian and gay relationships to interact with fans - look no further than Ryan Murphy teasing and prodding along Glee fans who supported the Kurt and Blaine (Klaine) and Santana and Brittany (Brittana) relationships. There were times when he was downright hostile to Brittana fans - and yet they are one of the few relationships to get a happy ending, as the pair was married during the last season of the show.

Even on The 100, which many are regarding as the show that broke the camel's back, it happens. As recently as December, Jason Rothenberg tweeted to fans that they should “always” have hope for Clexa. Writer Shawna Benson was particularly offensive toward fans, suggesting that those who still didn’t believe the production team would handle Lexa’s story appropriately should seek counselling for their trust issues.

The problem is getting so bad that of the 383 total lesbian and bisexual women regular or recurring characters on American scripted TV from 1976 to 2016, 95 died, and only 30 had happy endings. That is a 25% death rate and an 8% chance of getting a happy ending.

There are still glimmers of hope in the future, with Xena: Warrior Princess getting a reboot that won't turn its back on the Xena and Gabrielle relationship.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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