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

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Perry Mattfeld as Mel and Jessica Szohr as Nessa in Shameless (Season 8, episode 8) – Photo: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: shameless_808_0746

Sapphic women always want kids

From American Horror Story: Cult to Shameless, and multiple other women couples throughout cinematic history, sapphic couples usually have a side story about their reproduction during their on-screen cameos.

Showcasing loving and supportive lesbian parents and same-sex parents innately normalizes LGBTQIA+ parenthood to viewers. However, putting pressure on women characters, especially women in sapphic relationships and marriages, to only want biological kids creates a monotonous definition of motherhood. Beyond omitting the validity of adoption, this trope ignores important conversations about reproduction in sapphic families.

Instead of just ignoring adoption as an option for child-wanting sapphic families, this trope could at least continue a more realistic approach to family planning that involves the sometimes harsh reality for LGBTQIA+ couples who want to adopt kids. Although reproductive rights, including equality in adoption processes, are considered human rights, there are discriminating criteria for LGBTQIA+ couples who want to adopt.

However, even in the overdone “sapphic women want kids” trope, it rarely acknowledges the adoption talk, regarding the difficulties of adopting or using adoption to create inclusive on-screen representation.

In a current show like Shameless, the hackneyed plot point of sapphic couples who want children is exaggerated. Nessa and Mel use a less than medically advised sperm donor to conceive their kid. The donor turns out to be their neighbor and landlord, Ford, who is also Fiona’s boyfriend. However, in an exacerbated plot, Ford is a donor to a lot of expecting couples, but implicitly sapphic couples.

Obviously, not every woman wants kids. Making motherhood a pressing issue for sapphic women reinforces a weirdly stereotypical sub-trope that all women need to have children to reaffirm their gender role.