LGBT Fans Deserve Better is a movement aiming to educate people on the importance of positive LGBT representation in the media. This website’s goal is to provide information, statistics and resources to enable media creators, production staff, critics and viewers to learn about the history of representation, the tropes encountered and the current state of representation on TV.
LGBT characters are not expendable, they are not only tertiary characters, and LGBT relationships are not stepping stones for heterosexual relationships. These tropes, so often encountered in media, reinforce decades-old censorship meant to show that LGBT people do not deserve happiness, and should be immediately “punished” for it.
TV shows don’t exist in a vacuum and they add to the tropes and contribute to the overall TV landscape in the same way. There is a direct correlation between media visibility for the LGBT community and real life opinions about marriage equality, homophobia and misconceptions. Developing realistic and positive portrayals of same-sex couples and LGBT characters leads to the normalization of LGBT visibility on television, and creates greater acceptance of the LGBT community.
What Sparked the Movement?
The tipping point was the unnecessary death of Lexa, a lesbian character on The 100, killed by a stray bullet, by her father-figure, immediately after reuniting with her love interest. Lesbians are not unfamiliar with dying—and dying violently—in the media. An alarming 31% of lesbian or bisexual characters on American scripted TV shows between 1976-2016 ended up dead. A further 38% were simply guest characters or written off with no resolution, whilst only 10% got a “happy ending”. These deaths almost always served to further the plot or to provide character development for more central characters left to process the shock of the loss.
This website was born in an effort to raise awareness and encourage media creators to stop introducing LGBT characters into narratives for the sole purpose of baiting queer viewers in, only to force them to watch people like them repeatedly die in acts of shocking violence. The consistent messaging within the media that gay love is punishable by death or tragedy needs to end and not be passed on to the next generation.
Storytellers can do better, and we want creators and viewers alike to commit to demanding better.