Heartstopper Represents; Op-Ed


Image by Jolene Tang

The pride flag represents all those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Story by Melanie Briones and Jolene Tang

Happy Pride Month! 

LGBTQIA+ has become slightly more represented in today’s media. But how good is that representation?

Though there may be movies and shows that convey amazing representation, there are also some that poorly fetishize it or show a lack of genuine representation. For example, if there’s a queer character, having a straight cishet man play them doesn’t sit well.

The bisexual flag represents those who love two or more genders. (Image by Jolene Tang)

In Heartstopper, Elle Argent, an MTF (male to female) character, is played by Yasmin Finney, an MTF actress. We also see this with Charlie Spring, a gay character, who is played by Joe Locke, a gay actor.

The gay flag represents those who are NWLNW (non women loving non women). (Image by Jolene Tang)

Heartstopper (the show) was released April 22, 2022. The graphic novel (released on October 1, 2018) was created by Alice Oseman and was adapted by Netflix. However even before Netflix’s release, the teaser and trailer became widespread on social media sites.

Heartstopper does an amazing job at accurately representing the teenage queer experience; the relatabiltiy of Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson (the “Am I Gay” quiz really struck) and the difficulties that come with queer love.

Nick and Charlie’s love is pure and sweet, something that queer teens long for. Same with Darcy and Tara, two lesbians that are also featured, who are quite literally perfect for each other. Tara struggling with the lesbiphobic feedback of her relationship was really realistic to coming out in real life.

While Heartstopper may be the perfect LGBTQIA+ show, there are still many others that seem to lack that certain representation. 

The trans flag represents those who are a different gender from their assigned sex at birth. (Image by Jolene Tang)

Certain parents think that kids need to be sheltered from gayness as if it’s a disease that can be caught. Meanwhile these are the same parents that will ship* their child with their friend’s child because “they’re so cute together!” Like, no, Barbara, they’re six. Do better. If they aren’t old enough to even watch a show with queer relationships, they’re definitely not old enough to be in a straight one.

The lesbian flag represents those who are NMLNM (non men loving non men). (Image by Jolene Tang)

This is especially horrible if that kid turns out to be queer themself because they were taught that it’s not normal or worse, they’re adamantly opposed to the idea of being queer. This will lead to self hatred and low self esteem; thinking that liking someone is bad. 

Instead of forcing yourself to like someone that will put you in a straight relationship, youth should be allowed to like someone who will make them happy. This won’t be normalized if parents keep hiding well represented media from their children.

Most of the LGBT community is tired of the lack of accurate queer representation in media; it’s no wonder such a beautiful show like Heartstopper became so popular. It’s the perfect show for representation and a flawless example for future media to follow.

To put it into Generation Z terms, Heartstopper ate*.


Check out the podcast Cinema Scene Investigator’s first episode on Heartstopper here!


Give the gay: To give the sexual orientation to a character

Ate: To do something well. 

Ship: To bring together two or more people romantically/sexualy