The trend in media to kill off LGBQ+ characters is harmful to people in the community and needs to stop. The ‘Bury Your Gays’ media trope describes the unnecessary death or harm to LGBTQ+ characters in TV shows and movies. Examples would be killing off LGBTQ+ characters before straight ones, making the character attempt or commit suicide because of reasons linked to their sexuality, making them suffer because of homophobic hate crimes, the character getting harmed after coming out, and tragic AID’s stories. These homophobic clichés only have negative impacts on viewers. It’s hurtful to LGBTQ+ people and gives people who aren’t in the community a wrong idea of what LGBTQ+ people are actually like.
Of course, every death of an LGBTQ+ character in media doesn’t fit into this narrative. Sometimes the death is simply just that, a death of a person in a fictional work. Occasional deaths of LGBTQ+ characters in a show with mainly LGBTQ+ characters isn’t out of the ordinary either. But, how the death is portrayed is a very big part of it. The ‘LGBT Fans Deserve Better’ campaign researched statistics of the fate of LGBTQ+ characters from TV shows no longer on air. They found that only 10% of these characters had happy endings, and 31% ended up dead.
— LGBT Fans (@LGBTFans) May 20, 2016
Autostraddle.com has compiled a list of all 202-dead lesbian and female bisexual characters on TV and how they died, which includes good examples of the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope. Queerty.com also created a list of 100+ dead gay and bisexual male TV characters, along with how they died. It may not seem like a lot, but it’s a lot less common for media to include LGBTQ+ characters compared to straight ones. With so little LGBTQ+ characters already, it affects the community much more when TV and movie writers kill them off.
The LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign is standing up for LGBTQ+ fans, providing a voice for them. Their mission is to educate people on the importance of positive LGBTQ+ representation in the media. Their website provides statistics, facts, resources, and stories of people in the community to help the public gain knowledge about these issues.
The ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope isn’t appropriate for today’s media. It originally began in the 1970’s, LGBTQ+ characters were included in the media provided that they were often punished or killed because of their sexuality. LGBTQ+ people don’t deserve the treatment they are given, they have the right to be accurately and positively represented in the media.