Amelia Crowley

Contributing Writer

I have been writing about queer representation in media since tenth grade. Any chance I got to talk about it, I did. Personal essays, literary analysis, speech and debate competition topics. I was fully committed.

The problem is, though, that however much I was committed, someone else wasn’t. With the recent cancellation of one of my favorite newer TV shows, “Our Flag Means Death” (OFMD) on HBO Max, queer media has taken a hit once again. While in the show, characters face almost no homophobia on the high seas as pirates, once we come back to the shore, it seems to rule once again.

Of course, this hasn’t only happened to “OFMD.” Across numerous streaming platforms and genres, types of queer representation and characters have all been snubbed of continuations, even after high ratings and reviews. This list includes shows such as “First Kill,” “1899,” “Shadow and Bone,” “Love, Victor,” “Vampire Academy,” “Warrior Nun” and many others.

There are exceptions to this, including “Heartstopper,” “Good Omens” and even “Glee,” but for the most part, queer characters, especially queer main characters, are a death sentence for TV shows. This isn’t to discount shows that don’t feature queer characters also getting canceled — it is but a point that a higher number of queer shows are not continued than their straight brethren.

To quote my tenth-grade self (a little cheesy, I know), “All of the people living around us deserve to see a positive take on themselves […] I want to be able to see a reflection of my identity without having to search through books and shows to find any inkling of positive inclusion.”

This still rings true to me today, more than three years later. As much as I love what queer representation I can see today, what I want is to be able to see more of it more consistently. I shouldn’t have to worry about my existence not being put on screen for fear of backlash from others. I shouldn’t have to wonder how long a new TV show will last because of its diverse cast of characters. And, I think, most importantly, I shouldn’t have to dig through layers and layers of what we’ve always had to be able to find representation of people outside of our stereotypical norms.

Finally, I want to talk about the underrepresentation of my fellow sapphics in the media at large. While there is a problem of queer representation in general, I think that there’s a larger gap in the representation of queer women. Outside of some beloved shows like “The Owl House” and “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power,” there seems to be little-to-no representation on screen. And, when there is, like in “First Kill” or “Warrior Nun,” they seem to be canceled remarkably quickly.

While this is all happening, not only fictional characters are being impacted. There are book bans going into place across the country, Ohio is passing legislation targeting trans athletes, China is pushing back against shows based on queer stories and presidential elections loom over the future of the U.S.

Stories create empathy, and empathy creates understanding. We need more representation of all groups in the media to try to understand our differences, similarities and life experiences. We can’t live fully if we only see ourselves reflected in the media, but even more so, we can’t live fully if we never see ourselves reflected.

Written by

Zach Perrier

Zach Perrier is a Viewpoints Editor for the Wooster Voice. He is from Mentor, Ohio and currently is a junior History major.