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23 Examples Of Meaningful Queer Representation That Changed People’s Lives
"I wish someone in high school had talked to me about asexuality the way Jean did to Florence in <i>Sex Education.</i>"

23 Examples Of Meaningful Queer Representation That Changed People’s Lives

Recently, we asked the BuzzFeed community to share LGBTQ+ characters who not only made them feel ‘seen,’ but had a huge impact on their lives. These are their heartwarming responses!

1. Dani Clayton from The Haunting of Bly Manor


“I didn’t have a whole lot of queer woman representation when I was growing up, and I didn’t fully realise I was only attracted to other women until I started college, but Dani from The Haunting of Bly Manor has given me a sense of comfort in how I view myself as a queer woman in different ways. The storyline in Bly Manor, especially in the episode ‘The Way It Came,’ does a great job of showing how society’s expectations can influence people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community while not being fully out. Plus, the overall story between Dani and Jamie is definitely tragic, but without feeling like another entry in the ‘bury your gays’ trope.”


2. David Rose from Schitt’s Creek

CBC / Pop TV

“They exist in their queerness in the most comfortable, beautiful way and show that we can be as happy as any straight/cis relationship out there.”


4. Double Trouble from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power


“As a baby nonbinary watching as LITERALLY everyone used they/them pronouns for Double Trouble without a second’s hesitation (because they are seen as part of the norm) made me feel like less of a freak or an alien for being the way I am.”


5. Isak Valtersen and Even Bech Næsheim from Skam


“It was one of the first shows I watched as a teen that was centred on a queer relationship where no one died and queer characters got their happy ending. It also showed Isak educating himself and maturing both in regards to his sexuality and to Even’s mental illness — it was just super incredible to watch. Going through the scary experience of figuring your shit out, I felt comforted watching Isak go through something similar.”


6. Florence from Sex Education


“Florence has a small role, but I identified with her so much. I wish someone in high school had talked to me about asexuality the way Jean did to Florence. I wish there were more ace characters. I talked to a gynaecologist once about not feeling any sexual attraction and feeling broken, and she just told me that ‘It will come’…”


“I’ve never seen an episode of the show, but a clip showed up in my YouTube suggestions a few years ago. The clip (which involves Florence talking to Gillian Anderson about not feeling sexual attraction) was the first time I’d heard of asexuality. From there, I was able to develop more of an understanding of what asexuality is, and I started to identify with it.”


7. Luz Noceda from The Owl House


“I just love watching the relationship between Luz and Amity in The Owl House play out like a ‘regular’ relationship that would be seen in cartoons of a previous era. Seeing it in full as a healthy, naturally developing relationship gives me hope that there will be fewer kids like me that took so long to realise our identities.”


8. Georgia Warr from Loveless by Alice Oseman


“I grew up not even knowing that asexuality was an orientation, so this book was the first time I actually felt understood and seen. People on the aro/ace/demi spectrum are much more than the sum of their attraction. Georgia showed that there are so many types of fulfilling relationships that are not romantic or sexual in nature. I wish I had something like this growing up! Even in the queer community, asexuality is still mostly invisible and only perceived as people who are sex-repulsed (which is valid, but not always the case — it’s a spectrum!). But we’re here and we’e not broken, or waiting for the right person.

We are whole, beautiful, and complex humans, just like everyone else — and I’m so happy that we finally have some type of positive representation.”


9. Xena and Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess

Renaissance Pictures

“This is going to show my age, but watching how devoted, protective, loyal, gentle, sweet (insert aaaaalllll the positive adjectives) Xena and Gabrielle were to each other not only contributed to my sexual awakening, but also gave me seriously unrealistic expectations of what I want in a partner. I mean, these two died and came back for each other…multiple times! Where are you going to find love like that?!! They also gave me some strong female role models to look up to growing up. I will forever be grateful for that.”


10. All the characters from Queer as Folk (2000–05)


“At the time, the series was revolutionary. There was nothing like it on TV. From Justin, a closeted teenager just beginning to explore his sexuality with both excitement and trepidation, as I once was. To Brian, a seemingly confident gay man who didn’t care what anyone else thought (but was actually more complex than that) as I aspired to be. To Michael, a ‘boy next door’ who was probably most like me at the time. In one way or another, I identified with all the characters for the first time in any show I’d ever seen.”


11. Santana Lopez from Glee


“Santana being bi helped me come to terms with being bi and then coming out.”


12. Maya Bishop and Carina DeLuca from Station 19


“Their relationship has helped me realise that I want what they have. For a long time, I tried to hide who I was, and I felt ashamed by my peers and family. Maya taught showed me that I can be strong and still love a woman. Carina helped me see what kind of compassionate woman I want to be and how I would want to be treated by a significant other.”


13. Nola Darling from She’s Gotta Have It


“Nola was unapologetic and openly pansexual and polyamorous. I aspire to have her confidence and openness one day.”


14. Simon Spier from Love, Simon

20th Century Fox

“I was in my late 30s when Love, Simon came out; however, it still got me like a punch in the gut. The love and acceptance he received wrecked me because it was completely the opposite of what I experienced growing up. It destroyed me in the best way possible because that overwhelming love for him was being displayed in a MAINSTREAM movie with A-list actors. I cried because of how far we’d come.”


15. Lexa from The 100

The CW

“It was her death that finally sparked the ‘we deserve better’ movement in queer representation on TV.”


16. Nick Nelson from Heartstopper


“I’ve somehow always known that I’m bi, but this character just clicked something in my head. I feel ready to be myself now. Also, him coming out to his mother and friends was so beautiful. I’m still crying over this.”


17. And don’t forget about all the other characters in Heartstopper


“I’m in my 30s, but Charlie and Nick’s journey is definitely a story that any past generation of gay guys like me and fellow queer kids truly needed to see growing up alongside the regular heterosexual ‘happily ever afters’ we all consumed. We needed this type of show. We needed to see that it was possible to live and love like our straight peers and to not be so burdened by living authentically. And with the rest of the friend group, including Tao, Elle, Isaac, Darcy, and Tara, it’s refreshing to see such a normalised friend group ranging from the LGBTQ+ spectrum meeting at school.  We don’t all find our loves and queer friendships in nightclubs or after Grindr hookups. We can still network through school, LGBTQ+ community centres, hobby groups, etc.”


18. The cast of both the original and rebooted Queer Eye

Bravo / Netflix

“Both the original Fab Five and the new Fab Five from Queer Eye helped a lot with getting me to the point of knowing how to fully embrace and love my gender and sexuality, and be proud of the things that make me different.”


19. Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist


“When I was starting high school, I read the Fullmetal Alchemist series for the first time. I didn’t really know very much about being nonbinary at that point in time, but reading about Envy and realising that people who are outside of the gender binary exist, I finally figured out a piece of my identity that I didn’t have a word for before! I’m now in my senior year of university and have Envy’s ouroboros tattoo, so I’ll always remember the character who made me feel less alone in the world.”


20. Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine


“Despite the fact that I was long settled into my sexuality when it happened, Rosa Diaz was super important to me. There is so little bi representation, so much bi erasure, that it was refreshing to see someone onscreen say, ‘I’m bi.’ Not only that, but the reaction of her family was so familiar, whilst her friends being so supportive was great. The whole story was fantastically written, and it was such a novelty to see someone like me with some of the struggles I experienced onscreen.”


21. All the characters from Pose


“I’m a cis bisexual woman, but seeing a queer/trans story being told by Black and Afro Latino people made me cry with joy. It was the first time I could relate to queer media. I remember watching the first episode and learning about found/chosen families and Blanca being such a fierce and supportive mum to Damon when it came to his dreams and being so filled with hope and connection.”


22. Bette Porter from The L Word


“I’m a millennial, so I was starved of queer representation growing up. I fell deeply in love with a lot of women in different TV shows (I vividly remember obsessing over Ziva on NCIS), but it’s not like they were ever queer. Finding The L Word was truly revolutionary for me, especially Bette. A gay woman who doesn’t ever apologise for being herself and who asserts herself and is just a boss-ass bitch. I don’t think I’d be as comfortable and confident in myself without her.”


23. And lastly, Cheryl Blossom from Riverdale


“I know Riverdale is, like, this terribly written show with all these unrealistic expectations of teenagers, but for an 11-year-old me, I found comfort in the show’s portrayal of sexuality — especially the way it took Cheryl a while to come to terms with her identity. The minute she did, she embraced it, and everyone loved her just as much, if not more.”


Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Speaking of LGBTQ+ representation, there’s an adorable new queer rom-com from BuzzFeed Studios called My Fake Boyfriend, which stars Keiynan Lonsdale, Dylan Sprouse, and Sarah Hyland. Check it out now on Prime Video!

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com It’s available in Australia, Canada, the UK, Latin America, and Brazil already! For those in the US, you can watch it from June 24.

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