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

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Unfortunately, trauma for people in the LGBTQIA+ community is common in real-life. Trans women of color are especially vulnerable to physical and sexual violence, and young people in the community are at risk of violence, murder, and suicide. There are dozens of other examples of trauma those in the community face both during and after coming out experiences (especially for those who need to open up about their identities multiple times throughout their lives).

While trauma can be referenced in films without actually showing any distressing material (after all, contextual dialogue exists), media often only interprets homophobic trauma in a visual sense. Such is the case with the graphic rape scene in the second season of 13 Reasons Why.

We could make a list of all the episodes and movies that feature a gay character who’s beaten, assaulted, or discriminated against. However, we don’t want to put you or ourselves through the latent stress of delving into all the traumatic examples LGBTQIA+ characters have to endure.

Regardless, coming out and post-coming out narratives can take place on screen without any traumatic happenings. After all, they aren’t mutually exclusive — and we don’t need to be reminded of the discrimination and danger we’re at risk of, too.

Granted, there are shows that use the homophobic trauma trope in a productively subversive way. Shameless did this in the scene where Mickey comes out to his father, and Mickey and Ian then defend themselves against the homophobic father. So, while the trauma is still divisive to the plot and that particular scene in the series, the trauma transitions to a positive message — both in Mickey and Ian’s strengthened relationship and Mickey finally being able to control his identity.