Since The L Word , other out showrunners like Ryan Murphy have created mainstream shows that feature queer main characters, including the major milestone for trans characters on television, Pose , which comes back this month. The L Word was somewhat limited in the audience it could reach because of its home on a premium network, although streaming changed the game there.
Out showrunner I. Marlene King says that telling queer stories is at the forefront of her mission, adding that the key is treating all characters the same. On her most popular series Pretty Little Liars , which ran from to and has spawned the spinoff Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists , everyone is deeply flawed, including protagonist Emily Fields, who comes out as a lesbian during the course of the series. Morelli previously wrote for Orange Is The New Black , another series to feature a lot of queer women in its ensemble, and is now at the helm of the Netflix revival of Tales Of The City.
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The original world created by Maupin delved into queer and trans lives in San Francisco, and the upcoming Netflix adaptation tells a new set of queer stories in the same city, updated for One of those strains surrounds the fact that the original Tales cast a cis woman — Olympia Dukakis — to play the trans character Anna Madrigal. Dukakis will reprise her role in the Netflix series, and Morelli explains that part of the response of the new series is to cast Jen Richards, a trans woman, as Anna Madrigal in flashbacks on the series.
Morelli touches on the importance of representation in regards to her own personal experience. She came out, she explains, later in life, at That is where the importance of queer people telling queer storylines comes into play.
The series, which Kellett developed with Mike Royce, expands upon the original scope of the family comedy by centring on the Alvarezes, a Cuban-American family living in Echo Park. The teen daughter, Elena, comes out as a lesbian over the course of the first season. Kellet conceived of Elena as her own year-old self, but when Royce suggested that they make the character gay, she was thrilled by the idea.
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It was then that Kellet, who identifies as a cis and straight woman, decided to hire queer writers. She says they were able to provide all the nuanced layers that make up Elena, who is a striking example of a young, gay woman on television.
The category is… love! I was among many. Unable to fulfill our desires through representation on the streets or on screen, we took heterosexual-identifying characters and stars and made them puppets of our latently gay desires. What you probably know as fan fiction takes established heterosexual characters from TV, movies, books, and warps them into alternative universes and situations imagined by the titular fan.
Slash fiction takes canonically straight male characters and rewrites them into a homosexual romance. Likewise, femslash, a later iteration of the form, converts canonical gal pals into girlfriends.
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Slash and femslash differ tonally and substantively from straight up fan-fiction. Fan fiction needs whips and chains and a whole playroom full of torture devices to even come close. At the same time, producers were becoming increasingly aware of an emerging queer market, who were keen to find themselves represented on the screen. Cue the gays.
Between these two shows came the rise of social media, which has given queer fans more value, and their stories more influence, than ever. Outlets like Twitter and Tumblr have since become vital for producers to win over queer viewers. Take the relationship between Glee which began airing in and Tumblr which was founded in as the perfect case study. The blogging website not only helped queer fans to gain influence, it helped make that influence transparent.
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Thought to have been coined on Tumblr, that term refers to the ways in which producers lure in queer viewers with teases of same-sex chemistry, without ever following through on the promise.