As part of our pride month series on celebrating queer fiction; we give a quick review of Heartstopper, the latest in queer teen romance to hit the netflix binge screen.
The upsurge in queer representation on TV is fulfilling a need that has long been waiting to be realised, and in some ways indicative of changes in societal norms views and discourses. Soap operas are no longer bashful about LGBTQ+ couples, or difficult and nuanced storylines such as those we’ve seen recently with Eastenders Ben dealing with a traumatic assault not often discussed in our community.
We hear less and less within the last few years about the ‘bury your gays’ trope that used to plague queer representation as characters in various fictional series are now well established. We’ve had the L Word Generation Q bring out its second series run and a third on its way; and the newest Netflix thriller First Kill a lesbian thriller series plays on the star crossed vampire/slayer narrative easily recognisable from the Buffy and Angel era’s. Each of these have their critics or nuances that aren’t universally accepted.
But the one programme aimed at LGBTQ+ teens based on fiction that has been taken into the hearts of their audiences queer or not, is the latest netflix tv program Heartstopper originally written as a comic by Alice Oseman.
While the demographic the show is aimed at is teens, there is so much to love about this show for those of us who have long since left secondary school. The burgeoning romance between Nick and Charlie, alongside the various queer character’s from nearly all shades of the LGBTQ+ rainbow is like a soothing balm for generations not used to such positive representation for young people.
It has everything, from bi-visibility & first kisses to falling for friends & coming out to parents, and god don’t we all want Olivia Coleman to have been our mum when we came out. And most of all it has happy endings. This story healed my heart a little and I tend to spend a lot of time commenting on why queer representation requires a new discussion on nuance about why we don’t all just burst out of the closet, and why it is still difficult for some; this story seems to address a lot of this, as well as give a positive experience in a clever and compassionate way.
This is definitely one to watch if you haven’t already.
Do you have an opinion on Heartstopper ? Post your comment below.
Heartstopper is now streaming on www.netflix.com