Why TV’s “Dead Lesbian Syndrome” Needs To Stop

It's a bad time to be a queer woman on TV. Actually, looking at the statistics, it's never been a good time to be a queer female character on television. BuzzFeed has released a parody PSA for a TV trope you may not have put a name to, but have probably noticed — "Dead Lesbian Syndrome." It's something that has affected almost all TV fans, from fantasy- and sci-fi-lovers (RIP Tara) to small-screen Anglophiles (still crying over Skin's Naomi). Before you start listing your beloved dead characters who are totally straight, consider that the fact that, according to Salon, since 1976, 65% of all queer women characters on TV have been killed off. That's a huge portion of a group that already sees very little representation on the tube. (According to GLAAD, only 4% of regular TV characters identified as lesbian, gay or bi this season.) In 2016 alone (and we're not even halfway through), 12 female queer characters have met an untimely end.
The women of the PSA have some helpful alternative story arcs for the queer women who have managed to survive on TV, and hopefully writers are listening. Because it's almost season finale time, and when someone is bound to get thrown under a bus to boost ratings, we know whose (fictional) lives are most at risk.

More from TV

R29 Original Series