For some, 2016 will be remembered for divisive politics, celebrity deaths and Evil Kermit. For others, it will go down as the year queer female representation — along with everything else that is good — was thrown onto the garbage heap and set on fire. Of course, I'm talking about the unreasonable number of lesbian and bisexual TV characters that were killed off throughout the year, sparking some major soul-searching within the industry to do better by their LGBT characters and viewers.
As we free fall into 2017 without a parachute, let's take a look at what some of our beloved fallen TV queers are up to now and how they have reacted to #BuryYourGays.
Alycia Debnam-Carey (Lexa, 'The 100')
Death by: Gunshot
Oh, Heda. Of all the #TV deaths of 2016, this one rocked the boat the hardest. What sucked is was that The 100 writers rode the LGBT support train to success, promising a dynamic and interesting relationship between the powerful two female protagonists — then episode 3x07 happened. When Lexa was shot by a stray bullet meant for Clarke, fans felt betrayed, especially as the couple consummated their love in the same episode. It was a rushed, messy and ultimately unoriginal end for arguably the show's most beloved character. Having said this, Lexa's death raised over $160,000 for The Trevor Project.
What's she up to now? One of the reasons the writers used to explain Carey's exit from the show was her commitment to #AMC's Fear The Walking Dead, a spin-off of the insanely popular Walking Dead series. The show has been renewed for a third season in 2017. Carey also has a starring role in a 2017 comedy/drama called Liked, a movie about two dudes who fall for the same girl and try and woo her over social media. She was also featured as one of Vanity Fair's Breakout Bunch (12 actors under 25 to look out for).
“It’s incredible how passionate the fans are, and that’s really why the show is doing so well and why I have so much faith and passion for it in the first place. I think what’s important to note on my behalf is that the death of Lexa came out of a place of creative freedom and positivity. [For] everyone on board, Lexa was a character that we created together and collaborated on and were fond of.”
Rachel Skarsten (Tamsin, 'Lost Girl')
Death by: Giving birth
Lost Girl was somewhat of a gift to the lesbian community — was it a great show? No. Did it have a great cast and a variety of LGBT characters and storylines? Yes. The main love triangle throughout was between Fae Succubus Bo, human doctor Lauren and the werewolf Dyson — but when Skarsten joined the cast in Season 3 as the powerful Valkyrie Tamsin, fans were thrilled to see this hard-as-nails Fae begin to fall for Anna Silk's Bo. Sadly, Tamsin was killed off in Season 5 after her character was raped by Hades (who was impersonating Bo) and died giving birth. Thanks, Lost Girl.
Where is she now? Skarsten has been busy. She played a small role in the mega-successful sexy rompfest Fifty Shades of Grey, and is starring as Queen Elizabeth I on CW's Reign. She will also star in the upcoming Molly's Game alongside Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba.
Samira Wiley (Poussey Washington, 'Orange Is The New Black')
Death by: Crushed to death by a correctional officer
Regardless of whether you think Poussey's death was a powerful message about the treatment of people of color and a cheap cash-in on Black Lives Matter, we can all agree on one thing: it was goddamned tragic. Right after Poussey found a small pocket of happiness in her relationship Soso, she was crushed to death during a prison riot. The episode was written by her real-life girlfriend.
Where is she now? Unlike Poussey, Wiley has had a great year. She recently got engaged to her girlfriend Lauren Morelli, a writer on #OITNB, and is starring in the highly anticipated The Handmaid's Tale which will be streaming on Hulu in 2017. She was also the voice of Michonne in Telltale's The Walking Dead: Michonne game.
I think that the conversation — the fact that we’re having a conversation about it — is what we wanted to do, it’s what we wanted to spark. The fact that people are talking about it, the fact that people are having big, huge, emotional responses to it, I think that that means we did our job well.
Hilary Jardine (Susan, 'Van Helsing')
Death by: Strangulation
Susan was Vanessa Van Helsing's best friend in the SyFy dark fantasy Van Helsing. In the show, the pair become intimate with each other in 1x09, setting up an intriguing will-they-won't-they arc. Well, it turns out they won't, because Susan is strangled by Sam after she becomes a Vampire.
Where is she now: Hilary Jardine has appeared in Supernatural, Hannibal and The Hollow. She will appear in the upcoming The Circle, which will star Emma Watson and Tom Hanks.
More like this?
- The 13 Best Lesbian Movies Definitely Worth Watching
- After 'The 100' Controversy, 'Person Of Interest' Kills Off Another Female LGBT Character
- GLAAD's Annual Studio Responsibility Index Shows Studios Still Suck At Creating Three-Dimensional LGBT Characters
Merritt Wever (Denise, 'The Walking Dead')
Death by: Arrow through the eye
Poor Denise. A week or so after Lexa tore tumblr apart, #TheWalkingDead went and killed off one half of the show's only lesbian couple. Now, people die on TWD, but Denise's arrow through the eye midway through a conversation about her regrets was totally unexpected and tragic.
Where is she now? Since The Walking Dead, Merritt hasn't done a whole lot, but will appear in 2017's Godless. Despite her short stint on TWD, Merritt is best known for her supporting role in Nurse Jackie, which won her an Emmy in 2013.
I understand if viewers watching the show really identify with the character or like seeing themselves or some part of the world that they know is real and true and valid and prevalent represented. And then to have that taken away, I definitely see how that would be disappointing in the broader scheme of things. I’m not sure that that’s what was going on here but I understand the sentiment very well and I am familiar with the [trope of] black characters or gay characters getting killed off because [they’re considered] less human or less real or less important and people aren’t gonna care as much.
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Bethany, 'Blindspot')
Death by: Gunshot
The Oscar-nominated actress joined the Blindspot cast as Bethany, a badass Assistant Director in charge of the FBI's New York Field Office — and a queer woman of color to boot. She is shot in the back at the end of Season 1 after uncovering some sensitive information.
Where is she now? Jean-Baptiste has had an illustrious career in both TV and film, but since Blindspot, she's taken some time out and has no upcoming projects as yet.
I was very, like, “If we’re going to do this, let’s do it properly with her whole sexuality, because it’s important to have that representation.” Sarita [Choudhury] and I talked a lot about the scene — although you don’t really see much of it — but just in terms of a relationship, and just focusing on that, and not knocking it over people’s heads that it’s two women.
Robin Weigert (Wendy, 'Jessica Jones')
Death by: Being impaled on a coffee table (2015)
Weigert played the long-suffering wife of Carrie Anne-Moss's Jeri Hogarth, Jessica Jones's lawyer who is seeking divorce after falling for her (much younger) assistant. Poor Wendy has a tragic storyline, and even more tragic death. She attacks Jeri under the influence of Kilgrave, and is only stopped after Jeri's new lover slams her head into the corner of a coffee table.
Where is she now? Weigert was last credited as playing the real Mama Polk in American Horror Story: Roanoke, and will co-star in the ITV political thriller Fearless in 2017.
Amy Acker (Root, 'Person of Interest')
Death by: Gunshot
We all thought Root and Shaw would be one of the few surviving lesbian couples to come out of 2017, but heartbreakingly #BuryYourGays struck again when Amy Acker's Root was killed by a sniper in the show's 100th episode. Root's well-developed and slow-burning relationship with Sarah Shahi's Shaw built excitement within the #LGBT community. Sadly, it was not meant to be, as she will live on as the voice of The Machine. Okay.
Where is she now? Amy has a few upcoming projects for 2017 following her starring role in PoI — she will star in the comedy When Jack Went Glamping and the drama The Energy Specialist.
“Root’s first love was The Machine and brought her into the world of all of these people to begin with. That’s the great thing about Person of Interest. It’s never been about sexuality. It’s always just been about doing what you have to do for the people you love or for the things you love. I think this is another example of Root doing what she had to do to save all these people who she loves in her mind.”
These are just some of the LBQ women who were killed on TV this year, a trend that sparked outrage — and change. Thanks to heightened awareness, some characters have lived on. Wynonna Earp's lesbian police officer Nicole Haught was shot in the chest at the end of Season 1, but was saved thanks to a nifty bulletproof vest, and #Supergirl's Alex has become a shining beacon of representation for young women struggling with their sexuality — and then there was that episode of Black Mirror. It's a good sign, so let's hope TV in 2017 can further provide better queer representation for LGBT youth.
Which lesbian/bisexual death are you still cut up about? Let us know in the comments!