By: Jessica Lau
“LGBT Fans Deserve Better” has been a trending topic on Twitter for several weeks after a beloved character from the CW show The 100 was killed off. According to fans, Lexa’s death was handled in a poor way.
The 100 is about 100 juvenile delinquents sent back to Earth after a nuclear war ended the world. The Ground Commander Lexa, who is the leader of her people and also queer, had a relationship with the show’s main protagonist Clarke. Fans of the show named their relationship “Clexa” on many social media outlets.
Throughout the years there have been many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) characters introduced to television shows. Orange Is The New Black features the gay community and multiple other minority communities. Before the 1970’s, almost no gay characters could be found on television according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Although the numbers of LGBT characters have increased compared with the past, some television shows focus mostly on their sexuality and not on the character’s role.
“Gay and Lesbian relationships have also been concentrated in television shows about gay people,” said Tania Levey, a Sociology professor at York College. “One goal is for more inclusion of gay and lesbian characters and their relationships that don’t focus on sexuality.”
In episode 7, Lexa was killed off by a stray bullet right after a long overdue love scene with Clarke. Many fans were disappointed and heartbroken as fans have supported Clexa’s relationship since the second season. Just as the two characters were finally given a chance to be together Lexa was killed.
The 100 joined the list of lesbian death tropes along with other shows. The lesbian death trope is the common occurrence of lesbians dying on television shows, never allowed the same happy endings heterosexual couples enjoy.
LGBT representation is rare and when represented their final scenes usually end with death. York College students who watch The 100 thought that the way the Clexa relationship ended was distasteful.
“They put LGBT people there not to seem homophobic and then they kill them off as soon as they get a chance,” said Kyleea Tuitt, a Studio Arts major at York College and a member of the LGBT community. “So it’s just a hint of ‘gay’ and it’s very clear that they have no interest in having a TV show follow through (with the character).”
The 100, which started off as a supporter of the LGBT and promised not to fall into the category of the legendary “Lesbian Death Trope” has now received major backlash from fans. Fans have been tweeting the producers about how disappointed they are. They considered Lexa’s death to have been poorly written.
“I want more People of Color (POC) LGBT characters, because not every LGBT person is white,” said Gabrielle Watkins, a screenwriting student. “Before you write about us, learn about us. Stop making assumptions, stop treating our characters like they aren’t as important as the straight characters. Please stop killing us.”
The deaths of gay characters can be seen on other popular television shows. On The Walking Dead, the popular franchise’s writers killed off Denise who was a lesbian character. In The Magicians on Syfy, Elliot a woman of color who was also queer was killed off. Last year on NBC’s Chicago Fire the character of Leslie Shay who was an EMT on the show, died because the producers were having trouble coming up with character development. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer which aired from 1997-2003, Tara who also was a fan favorite, was also killed in the same manner as Lexa, by a stray bullet. The producers stated they killed Tara for her love interest Willow to get more character development.
The producer of The 100 Jason Rothenberg mentioned in In Game Name (IGN), he made the choice to kill this character for shock value and to move the entire story forward.
In honor of Lexa’s death, fans who labelled themselves as “Leskru” a group of LGBT supporters inspired by Lexa’s character have started a campaign for The Trevor Project. An American non-profit organization founded in 1998 and the leading national organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBT teens. The goal of the project is to bring more attention to the LGBT community but to also portray queer characters on television in a proper way. Within weeks, The Trevor Project has raised more than $55,000 dollars.
“I want to have better representation on television,” said Amanda Chiang, a contributor to The Trevor Project. “I don’t want teens to think they are a disgrace or they should die for being gay. Lexa was a character dear to us, she died seconds after making love to Clarke. what does that tell us? What kind of representation is that?”