Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Entertainment

It’s time to give queer characters a real story arc

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

In the last decade or so Hollywood has been attempting to increase the appearance of diversity and inclusion by including more LGBTQ characters in their films and TV shows.

However, I think they are continually missing the mark.

It is too often that these productions make a character’s queerness whether that be sexuality or gender identity and their related journey, their entire personality.

I’m not talking about productions centered around the story of a queer person coming out or their journey to finding themselves. I’m talking specifically about side characters whose only plot points are related to their sexuality.

I feel like I have yet to see a queer character whose sexuality is simply a part of their life, not their entire life.

A few prominent examples that come to mind are Kurt Hummel from “Glee” whose storyline was centered around being a gay high school student, only occasionally straying to his other character traits like his musical talent.

glee valentines day?width=1024&height=1024&fit=cover&auto=webp

From the same show, Santana Lopez originally had multiple different developing storylines, but all were washed out once she came out as a lesbian. Then, her entire personality became her relationships, her family’s non-acceptance and her personal identity struggles.

While I do agree that it is important to highlight the obstacles that are unique to the queer experience, I would like to see LGBTQ characters given more beyond that.

Cisgender and heterosexual characters’ gender identity or sexuality are never even a topic of discussion in that character’s story, let alone the sole arc they are given.

A show that I think portrays a queer person realistically, is HBO’s “Euphoria.” Jules Vaughn is a transgender character, but her story only occasionally touches on her gender identity or sexual orientation. Instead, it focuses on her complex relationships with her friends and family, and life as a teenager, like her heterosexual and cisgender counterparts.

Also from “Euphoria,” Rue Bennett begins dating Jules in a queer relationship, yet the queerness of the relationship is never mentioned. The show treated it like they would any heterosexual relationship.

As a queer person, it has become increasingly frustrating to see productions be labeled as “inclusive,” when in reality, they are missing the mark on the queer experience entirely.

In the real world, most queer people aren’t walking around dressed in all rainbows all the time. But that is the kind of portrayal I continuously see in the media.

To me, it seems like not a single queer person was involved in the writing of these characters, and it feels like a bunch of cisgender and straight individuals used stereotypes to develop a character’s story.

Queer people are regular people. It’s time that Hollywood features LGBTQ members’ lives outside of their queerness. They deserve an unrelated story arc.

Lara is a junior studying Digital and Print Journalism with a minor in Creative Writing. Aside from Her Campus, she writes for other campus organizations and is a member of Penn State's Blue and White Society. In her free time, she enjoys reading, making Spotify playlists, watching movies, and spending time with friends.