This Pride month, many people are searching for LGBTQ+ representation in the media. For years, representation for the community has been few and far between, consisting of either poorly written or background characters. Especially for queer children, without a lot of solid representation, many find it difficult to accept who they are and to be proud of it.
However, a new show has begun reaching the Netflix top 10. It was released on Apr. 22, 2022, and is called “Heartstopper.” It was adapted from a webcomic and follows the story of a 10th-grader named Charlie Spring, as he discovers how to navigate life after being outed as gay in a school that is not very accepting. There are spoilers for the show below.
Over the course of the show, we see Charlie’s struggle as he develops a crush on what he presumes is a straight boy, Nick Nelson. We see the confusion Nick is going through as he tries to figure out his own sexuality and his new feelings for Charlie. In the end, they manage to work through it together, and they start a relationship.
This is incredibly important for the LGBTQ+ community because it accurately displays the struggles they go through, as well as the end result. It shows that things don’t always end badly and that queer kids can have happy endings. Positive representation like this may not seem like much, but it is a huge step forward for the community.
Another reason why this show is different and better than other shows with LGBTQ+ representation is that the creator of the webcomic, Alice Oseman, is part of the community herself. Very often, LGBTQ+ characters and plot lines aren’t done well because the people behind them don’t know the struggles firsthand. Oseman does, which makes this show very refreshing. Each character’s arc is relatable and realistic.
“Heartstopper” has set a precedent for future shows trying to express LGBTQ+ representation. For years to come, queer kids will finally have representation that shows the whole spectrum of being a part of the community. They will see a show that focuses solely on people like them. And it’s not just those in the community who should see “Heartstopper,” as it is highly recommended that everyone should open Netflix and watch it.