Dani and Jamie – The Haunting of Bly Manor
by Hope Docherty
I forced my girlfriend to watch the Netflix series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, much to her dismay, thinking it was just a horror series after being scared to watch it alone. The gothic LGBTQ+ relationship came as a surprise but of course then had us hooked. It was as if the relationship wasn’t just there to satisfy a quota, finally. My girlfriend and I felt as though we were being truly represented on screen as the characters didn’t adhere to the typical stereotypes given to lesbian and bisexual women.
Dani and Jamie’s relationship exists without the fetishization normally depicted on screen, a beautiful love, similar to those in films such as The Notebook. The series showed normal, everyday life between two women that wanted to spend the rest of their lives with each other. I have never seen an elderly queer woman reminisce on a happy life with another woman on screen before — though we did have to watch Dani die (spoiler alert), unfortunately calling to mind the “bury your gays” trope. However, that representation is so important to young LGBTQ+ people everywhere. It lets them know that you can have a happy life even if you are not heterosexual.
David & Patrick – Schitt’s Creek
by Nicole Rees-Williams
David and Patrick from Schitt’s Creek are undeniably adorable together but on the whole, they are an incredibly ordinary couple. They go through fairly regular circumstances and the series finale ends upon their wedding. Since the relationship is such a regular storyline it may seem a bit odd that their relationship is my favourite, but David and Patrick’s relationship is my favourite because it’s so ordinary.
Before Schitt’s Creek, every time I had watched an on-screen LGBTQ+ storyline the relationship had been tainted in tragedy. Whether the pair had to deal with homophobia, a tragic coming out story or even death – it seemed like gay couples couldn’t have an on-screen storyline that wasn’t clouded in sadness. Although these kinds of plots are so important, it is just as important to demonstrate LGBTQ+ couples simply being a couple!
With the only discussion of sexuality being David’s now famous, ‘I’m into the wine, not the label,’ line, it is so refreshing to see a gay couple integrated into small town society without their sexuality constantly being referred to. It’s sad that showing a gay couple simply being a couple IS so ground-breaking, but Schitt’s Creek is hopefully the first of many shows to take a step in the right direction towards LGBTQ+ representation on screen.
Casey and Izzie- Atypical
by Rahima Bhatti
For me, Casey and Izzie from Netflix’s Atypical have a significant place in my heart as they’re my favourite LGBTQ+ romance on TV. As a queer person, it isn’t often you watch something and feel so seen.
In a landscape which is predominantly heteronormative, experiencing the snippets of beauty of a queer relationship, and watching the developing dynamic between two characters that is complex, raw, and authentic, makes you think ‘Hey that’s me! That’s how I feel!’. And that is why it’s so important and so special.
You watch them sitting next to each other in the car, and you can feel the energy as the music builds, and when they touch you feel that butterfly feeling creeping up inside you , and it’s exactly this which makes you feel all the feels. It’s really beautiful to see such an authentic moment of intimacy, specifically from a queer couple.
It resonates because we see heteronormativity in everything, and Atypical adds humanity and softness to a love which is so often sexualised or misrepresented. To see something and think, that’s how I’ve felt, that’s real, is refreshing and beautiful and I can’t wait to see more of it as film and TV continues to diversify.
Marla and Fran- I Care a Lot
by Katherine Waldock
I Care a Lot only came out very recently on Amazon Prime*, but the second my girlfriend saw it advertised, we were excited to watch a film with the protagonists in a same-gender relationship. What struck me about the film is that the relationship between the two characters, Marla and Fran, isn’t the centre of the plot, or even a side-line focus of the film. Their love is clear and passionate, but in the same way we’ve seen thousands of heterosexual love affairs grace our screens, Marla and Fran’s relationship was just one aspect of their characters.
It’s a refreshing take, having an LGBTQ+ relationship just be, without the drama of coming out, or any kind of homophobia. Often it feels as though directors and scripts want to represent us without truly understanding what it is we’d like to see. We want to see a vision of the future, where our love is allowed to live out in the open, without any barriers. We don’t need to be reminded of homophobia, judgemental friends or disgusted elders. Many of us see that every single day already, so it was beautiful to see an LGBTQ+ relationship play out without the pain, even if those characters were shady at best.
*Note: While I Care A Lot is out on Netflix in various countries worldwide, it is out on Amazon Prime here in the UK!