Importance of LGBT Representation: Favourite LGBT TV characters and relationships series

We’re here friends, and if you’re from Ireland, hopefully you’ve already voted, or are on the way to vote for two important referendums: the age of the presidential candidates being dropped to 21 and the one I’ve been rattling on about, the marriage referendum. I’ve also reached the last post of this blog series, which has focused on the importance of LGBT and LGBTI representation on television. This was intentionally not supposed to be a blog series, but after great advice from an awesome friend, I decided I had too much to stay on some of my favourite shows that I couldn’t leave anything out.

Just a round of applause for the positivty I've seen for same sex marriage and for posts on LGBT representation in general

Just a round of applause for the positivty I’ve seen for same sex marriage and towards my posts on LGBT representation as well

So thank you for sticking with me so far, as I delve for the last time on the importance of these amazing, and truly valued characters on television. As my last post in the series I’m looking at YouTube show Carmilla and some honourable mentions that I feel deserve credit for the LGBT relationships they portray.

*You know spoilers for the below shows if you haven’t seen them yet but you really should!*

Carmilla

Have you heard of the new trend of adapted novel web series? And how awesome they are? Well if you haven’t where have you been? From Lizzie Bennet Diaries (an Emmy award winning adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) to Emma Approved, they have been popping up everywhere to increasing  success. But the most recent show that I discovered thanks to Tumblr, and binge watched in a space of two days is Carmilla. Carmilla is based on the Sheridan Le Fanu novella of the same name. It is a Canadian production sponsored by sanitary company Verve Girl and has taken the internet by storm. I’m not too surprised really, given that nearly all the main characters identify themselves as lesbian or non-binary (gender queer) identities.If anything the straight characters are seen as the token characters on the show, which for an audience that is used to having it the other way round, is a revelation. But what makes it even better it’s never made a big deal of.

The characters never discuss their sexuality, it’s made clear throughout the show who they are attracted to and that’s that. In my opinion, I think that’s the main reason behind its popularity. These characters are at the forefront, and we are hearing their stories for once in a witty, albeit strange but moving way. I caught up on the web series in two days and I am now craving season two. The story begins with Laura, a freshman in a University in Austria (their accents are Canadian but we will let it slide), who investigates the disappearances of her roommate and forms an instant dislike but also high sexual tension with her new roommate, Carmilla.

Laura and Carmilla have incredible chemistry

Laura and Carmilla have incredible chemistry

Much to Laura’s all too correct suspicions Carmilla is of course a 355-year-old vampire. But don’t worry this isn’t Twilight or The Vampire Diaries 2.0. The plot is actually interesting, the characters evolved, and well, it’s simply delight to watch. I won’t reveal too much about the plot because there are few twists in there, but the fact that a show like Carmilla has reached such international acclaim, emphasises how popular webseries have become, but also, how much there is a need for a characters like Carmilla, Laura and LaFoutaine for an audience (and not just an LGBT audience) that is craving them.

Supporting characters are LaFontaine and LaPerry are hilariously sweet to Laura and Carmilla's shenanigans

Supporting characters are LaFontaine and LaPerry are hilariously sweet to Laura and Carmilla’s shenanigans

I was born when it was illegal to be gay in Ireland, and 25 years later I and many other Irish citizens will get the chance to decide if gay men and lesbian women will be able to legally marry in Ireland. This is a big deal and something really that shouldn’t be decided to by me or anyone, because who am I to tell someone they can’t marry the person they love. But that is the reality of what is going to happen and while it’s pretty clear what way I am going to vote, there are still many who disagree with me. I can’t change that, but what I can try is express my support to the LGBT community in Ireland and across the world, and I will vote with you. I know for sure television is always a source of much debate, but to me it’s through fiction and opening my eyes to life in general, that I’m able to see that love is love and I for one will not stand in the way of that.

Kerry highlights the importance of representation on television

Kerry highlights the importance of representation on television

Kerry preaching to the converted

Kerry preaching to the converted

(click for full gifset)

(click for full gifset)

Honourable mentions:

Revenge: I won’t discuss my heartbreak over this show but I will mention the wonderful, tech genius that is Nolan Ross. Nolan never discusses his sexuality too much on the show but does pursue relationships with both men and women. However, he does mention that he struggled coming out to his father and his father cut him out as a result of his relationships with men, and died not too long after that conflict.  I adored Patrick and Nolan together, but it was always going to end terribly though, because he was Victoria’s son. But hey, I’ll take it.

Scandal: Another show that lost its way… but the moment they got rid of James, I don’t know,  it lost a piece that made it unique. James was Cyrus Beene’s husband (oh, Cyrus), but was also one of my favourite characters. He helped Cyrus come out, he called Cyrus out on his bullshit, but it also portrayed how his love for Cyrus blinded him to how manipulative Cyrus could be. But James was so much more than Cyrus’ husband: he figured out that election was rigged in season 2, he was an awesome reporter (although his ethics did slid more than once) and in general was always determined to stand by his values, and pursue the truth even if that cost him his life. Cyrus and James’ relationship was definitely problematic, but I don’t think Cyrus will love anyone as much as he loved James, and I am pretty sure that’s true for James too. I also think the show portrayed how difficult it can be to come out in your later years (like Girls), especially for someone as high profile as Cyrus. And while I have no idea where the show is going, I won’t forget the badass journalist that was James.

Gossip Girl: Guys remember season one? You know, when every episode was gripping, the plots intriguing and there were no soapy storyline twists. Well one thing this show got right back then, was Eric Van Der Woodsen and his revelation on why he really attempted suicide. Eric was struggling with his sexuality and in a community that can be as isolating as the Upper East Side, he attempted to take his life as a result. Georgina outed him by accident but he faced the consequences (he was having an affair with Jenny’s boyfriend) and came out as a result. He had two relationships on the show with their fair share of drama, but unfortunately became very much a supporting character to Serena and Dan’s dramas, with occasional one liners. It sucks that Gossip Girl’s only LGBT character disappeared by season 5 but I can understand why the actor jumped ship after his sub plots got a little stale.

Emmerdale: Bear with me I have another British soap to mention and of course another household institution. But one of my favourite storylines was the bad boy of the soap, Aaron discovering that he’s gay. Aaron struggled a great deal with coming out and had an aggressive reaction almost towards it, so much so he punched his boyfriend, Jackson in front of his family after he touched his shoulder. Eventually Adam became more open with his sexuality and his love for Jackson. So much so, he was willing to let him go after he became paralysed from the neck down after a tragic accident. This was such a controversial storyline but a very moving one, it showed how far Aaron had come and how much he loved Jackson,  that he was willing to put his needs first.

Chop showing his support for Archie on MMFD

Chop showing his support for Archie on MMFD

Grey’s Anatomy:  I gave up so long ago on this show (so glad I did thanks to the most recent controversial storyline). But the relationship of Callie and Arizona is one of my favourite things on the show. Her coming out to her dad and their wedding is the sweetest thing ever on that show (hush about everything else).

MMFD: It is evident I have so much praise for this show and how it brilliantly deals with the realities of mental health problems and eating disorders. They also handled brilliantly the discrimination someone can face for being gay after they come out through the character of Archie. Archie struggled in season one with his sexuality, so much so he carried out a pretence relationship with Rae, so no one would know that he’s gay. He came out eventually season two while most of his friends were understanding, Chop was not. He even got kicked out of his football club as a result. Eventually Chop stood up for Archie, saying that he doesn’t care who he loves, that he’s still his mate.  The show handled how difficult it can be for someone to come out, especially during the 90’s in a realistic but moving way, and it’s just another thing that it should be praised for.

There are others, so many others, but these are the shows that I know affected me. But if you think I’ve forgotten someone please free feel to mention in the comments below.

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