Television is a powerful medium that changes culture. At least now all current major TV content creators are aware of the Dead Lesbian Trope and the Bury Your Gays Trope. This is a great start. Thank goodness for social media, which is an amazing tool to connect with others all over the world to create social change.
I haven’t written much publicly about The 100 fiasco because I’be been to upset emotionally, mentally, and hecka busy with school, work, and family obligations, but I did post links on a previous blog to orientate readers a bit on what’s been going on and what all the hoopla is about. Other writers, so many really, have been able to give voice to what I and many other fans and lgbtq people are thinking and feeling, and for that I am so grateful. I feel fortunate to be a part of a movement, that for me, is about acknowledging the lesbian tv trope, bury your gays trope, and how stories we tell through television, shape and impact viewers and the larger culture. I got involved because of the devastation I saw on twitter, tumblr, and youtube from the younger generation, early teens to early twenties mostly. It was heartbreaking to witness. And hearing from people my age, (30+) open up about the pain they were experiencing catapulted me backwards to my own psychological scars from growing up as a young queer person in the mid to late 90s.
As brief as possible, here’s a small part of my story:
I came out at age 16*. I had my first relationship with a girl at that time. When my 1st girlfriend and I were together, when we’d walk around campus holding hands, we’d have people following us making comments, disgusted noises (ex. ugghh), and not just students, adult campus supervisors would have comments/disdainful looks. A group of guys threatened to beat me up because.. I was with a beautiful, femme looking, popular girl who only previously been with guys before. There was this thing going around that I had corrupted her, even though she’s the one who asked me out! (not the point I know). Anyways, luckily for me my mom started picking me up from school and driving me home, my friends started walking with us to and from all our classes, my dad would pick me up from work.
My girlfriends’s mom and her mom’s boyfriend were okay with us being friends. They liked me and loved her, but they were not ok with us dating or being in love. They forbid her from talking about it with her younger brothers. Their reasoning was that we would be ruining our lives if we continued. So it came to a point where we weren’t allowed to see other. We had to sneak around. We’d get in trouble with both sets of parents. It was stressful! Of course, it affected the way we were each other, all that interference and fear. One of the things that has always stuck with me, was when we eventually broke up, my dad said to me, I’m glad you’re through with that gay shit.
I’m glad you’re through with that gay shit.
That’s how he felt and I believe that’s how he feels. We haven’t spoken in years now. My parents say that they love me, and I think from their perspective they do, but they don’t love the whole me, the living, loving, real me. For 17 + years I’ve listened to slight variations of, Why do you need to talk about it (being gay, being bi, being trans)? It’s no one’s business. Don’t tell people. This is not you. You just want to be different.
When my dad found out I was trans, one of the first things he said to me was actually a question: You’re going to date girls, right? You’re going to date girls. Meaning now that I was going to be living and looking like a man, I should only date girls. He knew full well at that time, that I was identifying as bisexual and seeing/sleeping with guys. That homophobic mentality doesn’t lend itself to a genuine loving supportive relationship. And I won’t at this time get into anything about my mom.
This is only a snippet of what I’ve dealt with, and only a little bit of what I’ve experienced just with my parents. I have extended family, there are people at work and school that say transphobic things, homophobic things. We are joked about and our bodies are a battleground. We are emotionally, mentally, and physically attacked. It is illegal in many places to be in a same sex relationship. We are murdered, set on fire, body parts chopped off, stoned to death, left to bleed to death on the streets from medically trained people who refuse to help, who see us as less than, because we are who we are and we love who we love. Every time I hear of a transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, life lost or taken, whether by suicide or murder, just for being who they are, for existing, I grieve. I mourn. I feel scared, I feel mad. Sometimes I rage inside. Sometimes I feel so heavy, I can’t get out of bed and I don’t want to leave my house.
The inspiration/reason for writing this blog post is because this early afternoon, the showrunner and cast of The 100 participated in a panel at Wondercon. I said a lot of things to my screen when the showrunner was talking. He says he’s sorry yet he’s still lying and contradicting himself. After the panel, I chatted online with someone about the main thing I was upset about. The following pic is just a portion of our conversation but sums up my feelings/thoughts.
At this time I am sharing links to 3 stories that remind me of real world parallels with the way the storyline on the 100 unfolded.
1. Two years ago there was a story of a man who beat his daughter, Britney to death, and shot and killed her girlfriend, Crystal, because he disapproved of their relationship. Britney and Crystal were 24 years old and had been together for two years. Britney’s father was charged 15 months later, and from what I could find, is still awaiting trial.
2. A couple weeks ago, a couple, Marquez and Anthony, were sleeping in bed, when Anthony’s mom’s boyfriend, poured boiling temperature water on them, causing second and third degree burns. Afterwards, he allegedly shouted for them to, “Get out of my house with all that gay.” He has since been charged and is facing 80 years in prison. While the 21 year olds whom he burned are physically healing, they may be facing a lifetime of psychological trauma resulting from his actions.
3. Recently a former baseball player,Tyler Dunnington, for the St. Louis Cardinals, talked about the anti-gay/homophobic remarks he endured in the locker room from his couch and some teammates. The locker room consisted of talk about how to kill gays. The coach at one time said, “We kill gays, in Wyoming.” This is a reference to the murder of Matthew Shepard. There is an ongoing investigation but the coach has admitted to his hate speak and apologized to Dunnington, wishing him a good life. The coach says, he feels empathy and has been listening to people’s stories. He wants to make amends and help raise awareness about this issue. Here’s a link which also has video links to a press conference about all this.
2 of 3 of these stories have occurred in March of 2016. The 100 aired, problematic episode 307, on March 3, 2016. In the world of The 100, it is true that anyone can die. The 100 is a post apocalyptic sci-fi television show on the CW Network that generally caters to a a young demographic. In the show, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, don’t matter at all. What matters is how to survive and who can help you survive. But the show doesn’t exists in a vacuum. The show exits in a world where violence against lgbtq is real and constant. Some of the people viewing the show live in households that are detrimental to their existence. Some live real life nightmares and injustices every single day. The 100, Lexa (Grounder Commander of the 12 clans), and the groundbreaking depiction of the complex same sex relationship she had with Clarke, (the bisexual lead character and leader of the Sky People), changed lives and had so much potential. That potential is lost now forever, but… the show goes on. I honestly believe that the show’s creators and writers are aware now and will do better in future.
The three linked stories that I shared above, highlight one of the issues that is important to me but unfortunately there are thousands more stories like these.
Please feel free to share your story or links to others in the comments.
And if you are inclined, please donate to The Trevor Project.
Peace and Love All.
*When I was 16, I was living as my assigned gender at birth, female. My gender identity now is non-binary trans. I started medical transition in Spring of 2009. I live my day to day life, socially perceived as male.