Skip To Content

    15 Times Hollywood Refused To Acknowledge A Character's Queerness Vs. 15 Times They Did A Brilliant Job

    "Chiron from Moonlight reminded us that queerness doesn't have just one look."

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which LGBTQ+ characters were portrayed accurately and which ones were done dirty (to get a full picture of Hollywood's creative process of the queer experience). Here's what they had to say.

    Warning: Potential spoilers ahead! 🚨

    Note: Some submissions include insensitive anti-trans and anti-gay TV/movie moments. Please proceed with caution.

    1. Done wrong: Blaine Anderson and Brittany Pierce from Glee (2009–2015)

    Kurt telling Blaine: "Bisexual's a term that gay guys use when they wanna hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change." Santana telling Dani: "I finally have a girlfriend who I don't have to worry about straying for penis"
    Fox

    "We all know that Glee featured some particularly anti-bisexual storylines — Kurt was an asshole to Blaine when he was questioning his sexuality. Brittany was bi and it freaked Santana out — that show did some fantastic things for their gay, lesbian, and trans audiences, but they failed to respect and depict bisexuality (which was really disappointing)."

    smokeyandvv

    2. Done right: Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–present)

    Rosa: "I'm bisexual. All right -- I will now field one minute and zero seconds of questions." Amy: "How long have you known?" Rosa: "Since seventh grade. I was watching Saved By the Bell and I thought, Zack Morris is hot. Lisa Turtle, also hot"
    NBC

    "I love how Rosa's sexuality was handled. The scene when everyone went over to her place for game night and Holt said to her, 'Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place — thank you' was honestly BEAUTIFUL!"

    dhaneshshetty06

    "Rosa showed realistic struggles while still keeping a humorous and positive mood for the show — her character was absolutely done right."

    jen528

    3. Done wrong: Lt. Lois Einhorn from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

    Ace Ventura outing Lt. Einhorn as transgender in an insensitive way, saying: "But if I am mistaken, if the lieutenant is indeed a woman as she claims to be, then she's suffering from the worst case of hemorrhoids I have ever seen"
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    "The first character who popped into my head was Lois Einhorn from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. That movie got the transgender experience WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!"

    akpisano

    "OMG, yes, I forgot about this — I think I blocked it out, actually. The way they portrayed trans people was disgusting."

    sawyerxvii

    4. Done right: Chiron from Moonlight (2016)

    Chiron telling Kevin: "You're the only man that's ever touched me — you're the only one. I haven't really touched anyone since"
    A24

    "Chiron from Moonlight has to be one of the best depictions I’ve ever seen as a queer character. Here we had a Black, queer man living in the South, discovering and defining for himself what manhood meant. Though his road was rough, he still stood up for himself — often times we've seen Black queer characters being portrayed as 'overly feminine,' and Chiron reminded us that queerness doesn’t have just one look."

    ncbain13

    5. Done wrong: Idgie and Ruth from Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

    Ruth and Idgie having a food fight in the back of the café
    Universal Pictures

    "I grew up loving Fried Green Tomatoes, but never knew it was based on a book. I was so mad when I finally read it and found out I had been robbed of a WLW relationship — I felt like it was obvious in the movie that Idgie loved Ruth, but it would have been nice to know that the feeling was actually communicated in a clear way."

    aliceinautieland

    "The food fight scene in Fried Green Tomatoes was a metaphor for sex. Ruth’s son was, as in the book, given the surname Threadgoode. The reason they didn’t acknowledge it in the movie was executive meddling — Ruth and Idgie were just as in love with each other in the movie as they were in the book."

    ameliakt

    "When censorship is a thing, subtext becomes a thing — them ladies were gaaaaaaay."

    cascadella

    6. Done right: Todd Chavez from BoJack Horseman (2014–2020)

    Todd to Emily in the diner: "I'm not gay. I mean, I don't think I am, but I don't think I'm straight, either — I don't know what I am. I think I might be nothing" Emily: "Well, that's okay"
    Netflix

    "Todd from BoJack Horseman showed us how asexual people can struggle identifying themselves, and finding their place in a world where the majority of people value sex. The show didn't treat his asexuality like a phase or a flaw — they dealt with it in a 'regular' way."

    morganelle18

    7. Done wrong: Toni Topaz from Riverdale (2017–present)

    Toni and Cheryl arguing in the school hallway who invented the color red
    The CW

    "All of the queer characters on Riverdale were done so, so wrong — especially Toni. Toni, who's bisexual, was side-lined and her bisexuality was literally weaponized by the show to be a threat to Bughead before slapping her together in an extraordinarily toxic relationship with Cheryl. Toni was a character who was gaslit, betrayed, manipulated, and emotionally abused, but the show rarely depicted it as harmful because they always 'lovingly' got back together.

    The queer Riverdale characters had poor storylines, and if they did have storylines at all, they existed to further develop the straight leads at their own expense. They were treated like dirt, and yet the show continues to promote and act like they're doing this huge thing for the LGBTQ+ community by showcasing these characters."

    redwulfgirl

    8. Done right: Dani Clayton and Jamie Taylor from The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

    Dani telling Jamie that she wants to be married to her, even if they can't legally be together
    Netflix

    "I am going to vote for Dani and Jamie from The Haunting of Bly Manor as 'done right' — I appreciated the fact that Dani was a dynamic character who was not just defined by one thing. Her coming out story (and eventual relationship with Jamie) were both incredibly important, but she had a story outside of that. A lot of times, coming out ends up being the thing that defines a character, but that wasn't the case with Dani (or Jamie). And even though Dani died, her death had nothing to do with her sexuality — she wasn't killed off for that reason."

    grovemenglish

    "Dani from The Haunting of Bly Manor was done perfectly — her relationship with Jamie was tender and sweet, and she was allowed to have a huge character arc outside of her just being queer."

    321missmaximoff

    9. Done wrong: Damian from Mean Girls (2004)

    Damian complimenting Cady's hair color, and Janis introducing him as: "This is Damian — he's almost too gay to function"
    Paramount Pictures

    "Damian from Mean Girls was done wrong — yes, I know he's a fan favorite, but I hate how they made 'gay best friend' his primary personality trait. In the story, he was just there to add comedic relief and make Cady's life more 'fabulous' — he deserved his own complexities."

    hiitsnicetomeetyou

    10. Done right: Florence from Sex Education (2019–present)

    Jean explaining to Florence the definition of asexuality, saying: "Sexuality is fluid — sex doesn't make us whole, and so, how could you ever be broken?"
    Netflix

    "Done right: Florence from Sex Education — asexual representation is so rare, and that one single scene when she's talking to Jean about feeling broken was something that most ace kids could relate to. Jean's response was something those same ace kids wish they had heard at that age, too — it was short, but realistic and meaningful, and I cannot explain how validating it felt to watch (even as an adult)."

    secondarymv

    11. Done wrong: Celie Harris from The Color Purple (1985)

    Shug kissing Celie for the first time, and Celie smiling happily in response
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    "Celie from the film adaptation of The Color Purple. The main character in Alice Walker's 1982 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel was based on Walker's grandmother who followed a lifetime of abuse and 'was not attracted to men.' Director Steven Spielberg was criticized for significantly toning down Celie's love affair with her abusive husband's mistress in the 1985 film adaptation. By his own admission, Spielberg 'took something that was extremely erotic and very intentional, and reduced it to a simple kiss.' In the same interview, Spielberg stated that he wouldn't change this if he were to remake the film today."

    Mary Colussi

    12. Done right: Simon Spier from Love, Simon (2018)

    Simon's mom telling him: "You get to exhale now, Simon. You get to be more you than you have been in a very long time"
    20th Century Fox

    "It was portrayed so well how hard it is to come out to family, even if you know they will accept you — as someone who went through a similar experience, his character's story was damn-near perfect."

    rileyrockett

    "I loved how the movie showed that it's okay to be afraid to come out, even if you're sure everyone in your life will be accepting — Simon and Blue weren't portrayed in a stereotypical light, either."

    awesome-not-weird

    13. Done wrong: Cameron Tucker from Modern Family (2009–2020)

    Cameron introducing Lily to the family by raising her in the air like Simba in "The Lion King"
    ABC

    "Cam from Modern Family was just awful — he was every queer stereotype and exaggeration, all rolled into one character."

    llamallamallamaaa

    14. Done right: Rue Bennett and Jules Vaughn from Euphoria (2019–present)

    Rue: "Maybe you could come over on Sunday night, 'cause my mom's, like, asking me and stuff." Jules: "Are you talking to your momma about me?" Rue: "No. Shut up"
    HBO

    "Done very right was Jules and Rue from Euphoria — there was no big coming out storyline, and no big fanfare or dilemma. It's just a trans girl and a cisgender girl loving each other in the most natural way."

    maggiem45481cd39

    15. Done wrong: Emma and Adèle from Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013)

    Adèle telling Emma: "I miss not touching each other. Not seeing each other, not breathing in each other. All the time. I want you"
    Wild Bunch

    "The sex scenes felt very much like they were made for men — I think I would have liked to see what a female director would have done with Emma and Adèle's characters through the graphic novel."

    nekkonekkok

    "I HATED Blue Is the Warmest Colour for exactly that reason — the sex scenes [and characters] were so over-the-top and unrealistic, I completely lost interest."

    klanceem

    16. Done right: Wil and Vivian from Saving Face (2004)

    Vivian asking to stay the night at Wilhelmina's apartment
    Sony Pictures Classics

    "I think Saving Face did an exceptional job of navigating the complexity of being out but not accepted, and yet still feeling dedicated to your family. The plot around Ma wasn't something you'd typically expect to see in a movie and helped explore another side of 'forbidden' love."

    duct_tape_heart

    17. Done wrong: Jack Twist from Brokeback Mountain (2005)

    Ennis visiting Jack's home after Jack died, and holding his own shirt that Jack kept
    Focus Features

    "I've always had a hard time with Brokeback — it was beautifully made, but it was ultimately just a deep dive into the trope of the tortured queer man who ends up getting killed for it. It's gay trauma for the straight gaze."

    wolfinwolfscothing

    "I know Brokeback was ahead of its time and the actors are both good people, but I just don’t think it should be regarded as a gay 'classic.'"

    thequeencalledana

    18. Done right: Rob Brooks from High Fidelity (2020)

    Rob describing Kat: "Kat was gorgeous and interesting and just...just cool. Like, real cool"
    Hulu

    "Rob's relationship with Kat was illustrated just like all of her other relationships with men — there wasn't a tragic or humongous coming out storyline (like in other TV shows). But rather, Kat was just another ex on Rob's top-five heartbreak list, and it was just as annoying to watch Kat ruin the relationship like some of the other male exes did. Rob wasn't solely defined by her sexuality, which was a relief to watch — Kat was a natural part of her story, and how she intertwined with her relationship with music."

    Kayla Yandoli

    19. Done wrong: Barry Glickman from The Prom (2020)

    Mrs. Greene: "Who are you people?" Barry: "We are liberals from Broadway"
    Netflix

    "There was a ton of controversy around James Corden’s portrayal of Barry in the movie, considering he’s a straight man who played the role of a queer man. Usually I don't take too much of an issue with this, but I think it was the fact that James Corden was playing a stereotype that just made it blatantly offensive. Given the nature of the storyline and how much of a wonderful queer explosion The Prom was on Broadway, I was disappointed."

    fromthegoldengate

    20. Done right: Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught from Wynonna Earp (2016–2021)

    Waverly to Nicole: "I don't want to be friends. When I think about what I want to do most in this world, it's you. God, that sounded so much more romantic in my head" then they kiss
    SYFY

    "Emily Andras [writer and creator of Wynonna Earp] did an incredible job not giving into the 'bury your gays' trope (thank goodness for Nicole’s bulletproof vest!) — we got an absolutely perfect wedding and ending to their story. In addition to the actors both being queer in real life and having incredible chemistry onscreen, Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell were SO aware of how meaningful 'Wayhaught' was to their viewers, and they definitely brought that to life. They were always sharing in interviews about how important it was to them to tell Waverly and Nicole’s story truthfully, and it showed."

    fromthegoldengate

    21. Done wrong: Alexis Meade from Ugly Betty (2006–2010)

    Alexis telling her dad and everyone at the fashion show that she's transgender
    ABC

    "They did Alexis from Ugly Betty SO wrong. It wasn't the character herself that was the problem, but how her journey was portrayed. She had the potential for a compelling story arc, but the writers didn't seem to know anything about trans people (they had people dead-name her in the show, and she was shown to be interested in girls before she transitioned — then afterward she wasn't, for whatever reason). The audience didn't really get to see her transition process — she was just sitting in a lot of silk scarves for a while until we find out who she was. Overall, not a great portrayal."

    wowimgay2020

    22. Done right: Elena and Syd from One Day at a Time (2017–2020)

    Elena giving Syd a non-binary Valentine's Day card: "Get it? It's binary code, zeros and ones, except for the heart, which is all the other numbers"
    Netflix

    "Done right: Elena and Syd from One Day at a Time! They were my absolute favorite TV couple — it was so nice to see a lovely, healthy, queer relationship on a TV show. I loved how the series explored Elena’s questioning of her sexuality, and in addition, the episode where they have characters who used neopronouns. It was amazing!!"

    chshelby

    23. Done wrong: Daniela and Carla from In the Heights (2021)

    Daniela and Carla walking through the street; them dancing near a picnic table, them dancing on a staircase by the pool
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    "Daniela and Carla from In the Heights were done so wrong — I didn’t even know they were a couple until someone told me. During my second viewing, sure, if you’re really looking out for it, they’re a couple. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that there weren't any anti-gay storylines, but I take issue when LGBTQ+ characters and relationships are ONLY in the background (considering straight characters and relationships are both in the spotlight and the background). Stephanie Beatriz was still a queen, though."

    fromthegoldengate

    24. Done right: Ben and McKinley from Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

    J.J. and Gary surprising Ben and McKinley with a chaise lounge
    USA Films

    "I loved how Wet Hot American Summer portrayed its LGBTQ+ characters. It's a movie where everyone was made fun of for everything, except for Ben and McKinley being a queer couple. Even when you thought they were going to be made fun of during their wedding, your expectations were subverted — they were never treated as anything other than 'normal' members of the group, and their relationship wasn't a source of drama — it was fantastic."

    fredzesty

    25. Done wrong: Nam Sook-hee/Maid and Izumi Hideko/Lady from The Handmaiden (2016)

    Lady telling Maid: "Your face...every night in bed, I think of your face"
    CJ Entertainment

    "The Handmaiden was so male gaze-y — it could have been a great opportunity to represent East Asian women as regular people instead of stereotypical sex objects. It completely pandered to that [straight] audience."

    justice4hufflepuff

    26. Done right: Mo from Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist (2020–2021)

    Mo and Perry dancing while "Kiss Me" is playing in Mo's head
    NBC

    "Hands down Mo from Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist! He's genderfluid and queer, and his relationship wasn’t just thrown in as being a part of 'the one gay couple' on a TV show. He navigated the struggle of his partner having kids from a previous relationship, which I thought was a great plot point."

    chshelby

    27. Done wrong: Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003)

    Willow and Oz drinking at a party; Willow telling Buffy "And I think I'm kind of gay;" Willow and Tara embracing
    The WB

    "Willow was attracted to and in love with multiple men over the first few seasons, had a healthy sex life with them, and then suddenly became a lesbian, to the point where she later expressed that men repulsed her and she could only be with women. I loved the lesbian representation, and I know for its time it was groundbreaking, but they did young bisexuals trying to figure themselves out so dirty. That’s not even to mention the 'bury your gays' issue in the show."

    allisonh4f5a181b3

    28. Done right: Adora and Catra from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018–2020)

    Adora telling Catra she loves her, and then they kiss
    Netflix

    "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power established both of these characters and gave them a gradual romance arc. Too many TV shows simply say 'this character is queer and that character is queer — couple time!' Having a kids TV show represent Adora and Catra as dynamic LGBTQ+ people, then as a pair, was pretty awesome."

    hiitsnicetomeetyou

    29. Done wrong: CeCe Drake from Pretty Little Liars (2010–2017)

    Young CeCe to Bethany: "Bethany, what did you do?" Bethany: "What did I do? You pushed her...freak"
    Freeform

    "The show finally revealed a character who identified as trans after she'd been on the show for three seasons. And her transition was only written as part of the big reveal that she was a 'villain' who kidnapped and tortured the girls. She was murdered in the very next episode...thanks for the representation 🙄."

    spenceyprep

    "They did her SO wrong. You could really tell that there wasn't anyone trans in the Pretty Little Liars writers room."

    wowimgay2020

    30. And done right: Captain Holt and Kevin Cozner from Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–2021)

    Kevin to Holt after they shook hands: "PDA in the office? My, my" Holt: "Couldn't help myself"
    NBC

    "Holt and Kevin’s relationship was the purest — PERIOD. The way Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn’t portray them as a queer stereotype was really nice, and a huge relief."

    galpo2310

    "They were so similar — two straight-faced, secretly dramatic intellectuals who complemented each other so well. In any episode where either one's life was in danger, their relationship was depicted so beautifully! (I am still waiting for the episode where they get to have a big renewal of their vows — they deserve it!)" 

    ananyeah

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form