12 LGBTQIA+ tropes we don’t want to see in pop culture anymore

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Coming of age stories

Don’t get us wrong. We love coming of age stories, especially when then have happy endings. After all, we can’t resist watching new members of the community who walk into adulthood accepting every aspect of their identity. With all the countless upsetting news headlines about real-life newly-out LGBTQ members who aren’t accepted by their friends and family, there are still a lot of headlines where members of the community are accepted by their support group, which obviously dispells the overwhelming negativity.

However, one’s experience with their sexuality doesn’t just stop and start with a coming out experience(s). Naturally, pop culture should reflect that to create a new norm that highlights LGBTQ narratives outside of a young character who’s coming to term with themselves, adulthood, and their sexuality.

That’s not to say that there aren’t coming of age stories that include a positive message. After all, many gay coming of age narratives do reflect progressive portrayals of gay characters, such as Date and Switch, which shows how friendship shouldn’t change after your bestie comes out. However, our main gripe with the trope is that it’s overdone. We want more variety in our media, including this specific trope.

Coming of age stories, complete with a character’s coming out experience and the acceptance of their identity, are undeniably common in film and television. However, if productions need or want to use the common coming out narrative, we’d just like to see other age groups presented in the narrative. After all, not everyone in the LGBTQ community is fortunate enough to understand their sexuality or gender identity before adulthood.

Using older characters (past their twenties) to create identity-focused narratives can be an implicitly healing process for real people in the community who didn’t figure out their identity — not just because it shows the validity of their experience, but because it can continue the necessary dialogue around unlearning compulsory heterosexuality.