June, which is also Pride Month, has just kicked off. Many of us in the LGBTQ community are celebrating our freedom and who we are, along with the TV shows that make us more visible. One of those shows being Syfy's Wynonna Earp, which returns for its second season on June 9. The series follows the titular character on a journey to take down demons and other supernatural forces that invade her mysterious hometown.
A group of three-dimensional characters was introduced, including Wynonna's sister, Waverly, and Officer Nicole Haught (fittingly named). Not only did Waverly become the team's brightest historian, but she eventually discovered her true sexuality after falling for Nicole. The storyline was natural, authentic and never fell into harmful tropes or stereotypes. After the show's #LGBT representation made a positive impression on viewers, Wynonna found itself a proud and passionate fanbase that seems to be growing by the minute.
The actresses who play Waverly and Nicole, Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell, have realized the importance of queer representation through their on-screen relationship, notably known as "Wayhaught." To give love back to their fans, the Wynonna actresses and showrunner, Emily Andras, hosted an AMA on subreddit Actual Lesbians to discuss what it means to play a queer character and the inspiration that results from it.
The 'Bury Your Gays' Trope Fueled Barrell To Make Her Character A Solution
This damaging trope has been alive and well for decades, and we've barely seen light at the end of the tunnel. For Barrell, playing Nicole strengthened her awareness on the mistreatment of queer characters which compelled her to make a change:
"Playing a queer character has just made me so much more aware of the imbalances still existing in our media. Once we started airing and I learned more about the bury your gays trope, you can't just un-know that information. It used to make me so sad and angry to see the statistics, but I've tried to channel that into fueling me to help be part of the solution. That sounds a bit corny but I just realized that just being 'saddened' couldn't be enough, I needed to use the 'soapbox' of Wynonna to help change the landscape."
It's important that Barrell is mindful of the issue, and does everything in her power to keep Nicole from becoming a stereotype. Barrell's character is refreshing, and it's inspiring that she cares about positive representation as much as the fans do.
Wayhaught Shows The Power Of Representation
Not only did Barrell become more educated on queer visibility in media, but she recognized how uplifting it is for our community:
"I was very naive in my knowledge of how lacking we were for queer representation. I have just learned so much about the POWER that comes from an undeserved community rising up together. It has forever changed how I will work as a content creator knowing how important it is to create diverse characters, and how much support those characters will have from the fans who feel their voices are finally being heard."
Wynonna Earp certainly amplified our voices, proving that representation, in fact, does matter. Relatable characters in media help us realize that we're not so alone; they even inspire us to become as strong and proud as they are.
'The Most Gratifying Writing Assignment Of My Career'
Emily Andras is no stranger to writing #LGBTQ characters. Her show Lost Girl followed the life of a bisexual female lead, but it didn't reach the intense dedication that Wynonna has. On the magnitude of Wayhaught, Andras shares:
"It has easily been the most gratifying writing assignment of my career. It has reminded me how important it is to go with your gut and fight and use your voice for positive change — and that genre television, while fun and campy and crazy, maybe really kind of can help change the world. What a privilege."
Barrell went on to applaud Andras for her work on creating multi-dimensional queer characters:
"For the first time in a long time, we were able to see two fully three-dimensional characters who did not exist just to be the 'token gay character,' but to be fully fleshed out people who happened to be gay. That's why I love Emily's work so much — she just gets it and how important these characters are."
One of the most remarkable components of Wynonna is that every character is complex and has their own story to tell. Introducing two fun and powerful characters, who happen to be lesbians, took the show's captivating dynamic a step further.
Season 1 of Wynonna was only the beginning of Wayhaught, but we can expect to witness their relationship evolve — and include more effective representation — over the course of Season 2.
Wynonna Earp premieres on June 9 at 10/9c on Syfy.
What was your favorite Wayhaught moment from Season 1? Let us know in the comments!