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Racism, school shootings, and homophobia - these are sad realities that we are all too familiar with. While we sit and try to drum up noise and create change; one show is helping us do that. Freeform original The Fosters has covered each of these issues, making it the one show everyone needs on their screens. 

The Fosters follows an interracial lesbian couple and their children; both biological and adopted or fostered. Right off the bat, the show is breaking barriers by shining a light and normalizing the existence of a same-sex couple and their children, defying heteronormativity in the nuclear family.

While you may expect the show to discuss issues within the foster system and homophobia, those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Transgender rights

The Fosters has made huge strides for trans visibility. They followed the story of Cole, a trans man, who while transitioning, was living in a group home for girls. The most beautiful part of Cole’s story is that the actor that played him, Tom Phelan, was also transitioning in real life. Moreover, they featured another trans man, Aaron, whose character arc shows the dangers of being trans in prison, and how for Aaron, going into solitary confinement was their safest option.

Late-term abortions

We live in a world where some people believe that mothers cannot have free will to do as they please. Still, The Fosters showed a late-term abortion on screen, which was such a huge step in the right direction for the pro-choice movement. Lena, one of the moms on the show, developed a life-threatening condition and therefore decided to terminate her pregnancy at 20 weeks. They were able to show the struggle that many mothers may face when making such a tough and heart-breaking decision whilst also highlighting the reality that a woman may try to conceive for years, and really want to have a child, only to have to terminate their pregnancy in order to stay alive.

School shootings

With the rise of school shootings across America, in an incredibly emotional and frightening turn of events The Fosters depicted a school shooting at Anchor Beach school. They tackled the amount of fear it generates for children in the school, parents who are in the dark, and first-responders who are doing their jobs and trying to minimize the damage and casualties. They managed to tackle two issues at once by showing how the shooter could be suffering from mental health issues and how they can often be someone whom you interact with on the daily.

Immigrant rights

ICE agents showing up to homes and workplaces to arrest undocumented immigrants is something that is seen all over the news. The Fosters took a deep dive into the issue just around the time that President Trump was trying to crack down on undocumented folks in the country. They followed the sad reality of the damage it does to families and how the people being detained and deported are usually honest and contributing members of society. The Fosters also does a great job of showing how to be an activist and an ally in such situations, so you know what you can do to help.

Other issues

There are even more topics covered in the series, ranging from the sex-offenders list, addiction, estranged family, and so much more. It’s important to note that so many of these episodes were aired just around the time that these were very prominent real-life issues. While The Fosters may have come to an end, its spin-off Good Trouble, following the lives of two of the children, Callie and Mariana, is carrying on the incredibly important and tough task of giving a voice to the voiceless. 

Good Trouble touches on topics such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the gender pay gap, and sexism in the workplace amongst many other important topics. The best part is that the OG Addams-Fosters family make a special appearance on the show every so often. So get out your bingeing snacks and cozy up in bed - you have a lot of catching up to do!

Zainab is a 4th-year journalism student from Dubai, UAE who is the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at Ryerson. When she's not taking photos for her Instagram or petting dogs on the street, she's probably watching a rom-com on Netflix or journaling! Zainab loves The Bold Type and would love to work for a magazine in New York City someday! Zainab is a feminist and fierce advocate against social injustice - she hopes to use her platform and writing to create change in the world, one article at a time.
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