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

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Supporting characters

Obviously, we don’t want to see LGBTQ characters just as supporting characters. After all, they exist outside of their supportive relationships to real-life friends. However, supporting characters is a bit of a complicated trope in LGBTQ media.

Sometimes called a “lockpick” or “closet key,” this trope opens up to a recurring theme of supportive side characters who help a side or main LGBTQ character recognize their sexuality and/or explain their sexuality to their family.

You might have watched a movie where a gay character is getting ready to come out to their entire friend group or family, but there’s a supportive character on the side encouraging their gay friend to be open about their sexuality. It’s great to have supportive friends and to see them reflected in fictional characters.

Before someone finds their place in the LGBTQ community, they may have had (emphasis on may) a conglomeration of people and fictional characters who helped them realize or become more aware of their sexuality and/or gender identity.

Yet, few films show that figuring out one’s sexuality is often a process, and it can take multiple people before they figure out their identity. Media like Insatiable, the series complete with fatphobia and various other issues, use friends or, in this case, significant others to support characters in their coming out process. However, Insatiable also paints Patty as the primary reason her friend, Nonnie, questions her sexuality.

Films and shows like Insatiable show supporting characters or the reverse, where supporting characters offer a personified “light bulb” moment for closeted gay characters. Easy A borders the line of this trope because, although Olive doesn’t act as the instigator that helps Brandon realize he’s gay, she does act as a critical supporting factor in his decision to come out.

However, moving into 2019, if we have to watch another coming out story that doesn’t pan out past the coming out process, we’d rather see a gay character choose to open up about their sexuality unaided and unprompted by their friends or peers.