Why the Gay Storyline in The Downton Abbey Movie Is So Important

Downton Abbey is a six-season series that follows the Crawley’s, a prominent English family in the early 1920’s. The show aired its final episode in 2015, but recently released a movie that tied up the storylines of all the beloved characters.

One of the main characters, Thomas Barrow, is a butler for the Crawley family who struggled with his sexuality throughout the series. He had various romantic relations with men but had to keep them secret because it was not acceptable during that time period. At one point he even got shock therapy to try to make himself straight, which obviously did not work. Thomas’ character never really had a happy ending in the series, but things began to look up for him by the end of the movie.

Thomas meets a character named Richard who he develops a friendship with as the movie progresses. Towards the end of the movie Thomas is supposed to meet Richard in a bar but before Richard arrives, Thomas meets another man who convinces him to leave and go to an underground club. When Thomas arrives, he realizes that it is a gay club and he expresses how excited he is because he has never been around that many people that are like him. The cops then come and arrest everyone who is there, but Richard ends up bailing Thomas out of jail. On their walk back Richard expresses to Thomas that he is also gay, and they talk about their shared struggles and eventually confess that they are attracted to each other. 

As this story line is progressing, you begin to see how much more comfortable Thomas becomes with himself. By simply being around other people who are like him, he discovers that he is not alone in the way he is feeling and that it is okay to be “different” from the rest of society.

This message is still true today; it is important for people to be open about who they are so they can connect with others who are like them. If you have to stay silent about your struggles, you will probably begin to think that you are suffering alone. But if you are able to find others that are like you, you will discover that you are not “weird” or “different” as you thought. 

Although society has come a long way in the last 100 years in terms of acceptance, there is still a lot of  progress to be made. There are groups of people all over the world who continue to be silenced and ashamed of the way that they are. If they are able to simply be open about their identity, they will find a sense of connection that they have never felt before, which will hopefully change their life immensely.