In a world of content so starved for queer representation, Netflix’s “Heart Stopper” feels like a show written by queer people, for queer people

Annabelle Bartz, Staff Writer


I will watch tv shows that have queer couples in them just to see the representation. That has ended up with me watching shows from Riverdale to Shera and the Princess of Power for even one shot of queer couple (if I am lucky, they might even be hold hands). This leads me to earlier this week when Netflix dropped it’s newest series a queer romance show called Heart Stopper based on a Webtoon comic series. 

The main character is a boy named Charile, a highschooler living in the United Kingdom who happens to be gay. He goes to an all boys school and the show is set a year after his coming out. Also, he is in year 10, but I am unsure of what that means. My best guess would be that he is a sophomore, but really that doesn’t matter much in the story. He has a group of friends, the most notable one being Tao, a straight male. They also have a friend named Elle, who was moved to the girl’s school at the semester mark having come out as transgender. Enter Nick, also a highschool student, but he is a year older than Charlie (which means he is an 11th or 12th grader). He likes rugby, he is part of the popular group and he is definitely straight. Nick and Charlie start hanging out more, and thus the plot ensues. 

That is a vague description and there is so much more going on in this, but I think everyone (queer or not) should watch this show. I don’t generally cry while watching shows and movies, but I openly bawled for so much of this show. As a queer teen, I don’t find a lot of characters that I can identify with, but so many moments in the show had me pointing at the screen saying things like, “that is what I did!” or “that is how I feel.” Each of the eight episodes are only about 30 minutes long and they cover so much. There are two queer couples, and they are some of the only couples you see in the show, and in the other couple one of them is trans. There is a moment in the show that one of the characters looked up ‘am I gay?’, ‘how do I know I am gay’, ‘What is bisexuality?’ and other questions. During that scene I cried so hard because that reminded me of me. It covers coming out and how hard that truly is and all of the tears, the hurt, and the happiness that goes into it. The honest depictions of these complexities will be appreciated by LGBTQ viewers, but are equally important for straight audience members, too, especially as more people are coming out now than ever before. 

In a similar vein, it covers homophobia, exploring the idea that just because you aren’t trying to be homophobic doesn’t mean you aren’t being homophobic, as well as how hard it is to stand up to those people even if you are queer  – and especially if you aren’t. The show is also just so adorable: it is a teen romance tv show after all, so it has all of the sweet moments that come with that.  In a world of content so starved for queer representation, this show really feels like a show written by queer people for queer people. I would recommend this show to every single person reading this, for queer people if you are looking for something to connect with, and for straight people something to help you understand. By no means is this show absolutely perfect in every way, but there is a step toward diversity as we try to continue to move towards representation.