These Filmmakers Are Fed Up With How TV Kills Off Queer Characters
“If you’re a queer woman, chances are you underwent a great loss this year,” filmmaker Cole Santiago tells us, observing at the tombstone of the [*SPOILER ALERT even though I’m pretty sure we all binge-watched OITNB already*] late, great Poussey Washington. She adds that, in 2016 alone, 18 female queer characters have been killed off on television.
Indeed, the “Bury Your Gays” trope has been a particular topic of conversation this year, following not only the aforementioned death of Poussey, but also the controversial death of The 100‘s Lexa. Fans’ disappointment and frustration over the character’s death even prompted the series showrunner and executive producer, Jason Rothenberg, to publish an open letter, assuring viewers that “burying, baiting or hurting anyone was never our intention. It’s not who I am.”
This ongoing theme of unhappy endings (and, you know, death) for queer characters also prompted Autostraddle to release a comprehensive set of infographics detailing queer representation in media, with a focus on lesbian and bisexual television characters. Take a look; it’s worth your time.
And while there have been queer female characters on television (Remezcla has a pretty thorough list), there are few series ABOUT these characters. They rarely get the A story, and even more rarely “get the girl” at the end.
And, thus, Vida.
Vida‘s team is unique in media–a female cast and crew, most of whom are Latinx–and the story they have to tell is an innately personal one. “Growing up as a closeted teenager,” Santiago explains on the project’s Seed & Spark page, “too scared to reach out, the only safe route to better understand my feelings came in the form of film and television.” The project, conceived as a short film and potential pilot, follows Vida, a quiet 17-year-old girl dealing with a roommate who wants to become Instagram famous. Vida’s life is uprooted by “a Courtney Love-obsessed lesbian vampire” and… I mean, that’s all I need to know to want to tune in.
Vida‘s fundraising page keeps things nicely on-theme, with fundraising goals named after popular queer (or queered, in some cases) characters. For example, if you pitch in 50 bucks, you reach Drusilla level, and a member of the crew will be slimed with a bucket of blood in your honor, with video proof. Mwahaha!
Take a look at Vida‘s teaser video, below, and help #ressurectourgays: