The Dead Lesbian Trope

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Karly Morgan

The 100 was a socially progressive TV show.

Keyword: was.

In previous blogs, I’ve praised the show for its multi-faceted representations of human sexuality. It has, up until this point, treated heterosexual couples and homosexual couples equally in a way that no TV show before it has accomplished. I’m honestly really hurt by what happened on the show, so in order to avoid simply trying to persuade you into anger by agreeing with my opinion, I am going to give you the facts: a definition of a term, and what occurred in Season 3 Episode 7 of The 100 on March 3, 2016.

The Dead Lesbian/Bury Your Gays Trope: In TV shows and films, it is common for an LGBT character to be shown as miserable, struggling with LGBT related social issues, or not achieving whatever goal they want to achieve. This becomes worse when the character actually does achieve their goal or achieve happiness, only to be killed by accident, coincidence, murder, or a generally pointless reason very quickly after. The moral of the trope is clear: you cannot be LGBT and be happy, you cannot achieve happiness in an LGBT relationship, and it would be easier on the rest of society if they could simply bury their gays.

The 100: Season 3, Episode 7: In The 100, the relationship between Lexa and Clarke, both female and both the leaders of the two main “clans” on the show, had been building for 3 entire seasons. They were the main characters, they were powerful, mentally strong, and physically strong, and set a new standard for LGBT characters in television shows. The two characters faced war, strife within their clans, death of loved ones, and only seemed to find happiness with each other. Finally, after 3 seasons and 35 episodes, Lexa and Clarke consummate their relationship and have an artful, emotional, beautifully shot sex scene. There is a commercial break. Lexa gets out of bed and opens the door to exit the room. Her assistant, who doesn’t know how to use a gun, is fumbling with his weapon and mistakenly fires a bullet- and it hits her. Lexa dies in Clarke’s arms.

There’s a cynical saying among the lesbian community that, “if you want to know who the lesbian on a TV show is, fire a bullet in any direction and see who ends up getting killed.”

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2 Responses to The Dead Lesbian Trope

  1. marymdalton says:

    I really do need to see this show!

  2. 100 percent had never thought of/noticed this (straight privilege strikes again), and now I’m very upset about with myself about it. But I still do want to watch the show. It sucks that we can finally get strong female characters, and a progressive show, and then they hit you with something like this. I will definitely be paying more attention to instances of LGBTQ prejudice and misrepresentation in television/movies now, and hopefully able to be a more critical and educated media consumer. -LH

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