While 16 queer female characters have already been killed off television shows this year, Syfy's Wynonna Earp is breaking new ground by addressing the "Bury Your Gays" trope head-on and promising its LGBT fandom to do better. So far? It's succeeding.
The series, a Canadian supernatural Western based on a comic of the same name, is nearing the end of its first season on Syfy. But what has a lot of viewers talking is the slowly evolving relationship between the appropriately named sheriff’s deputy Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell) and the title character's younger sister, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley).
Thus, the #WayHaught fandom was born.
"We did something really unprecedented, something I've never done ever on a show," Andras told BuzzFeed News on a recent phone call. "Given the year the LGBT community has had, we actually went on the record and made a comment that Nicole and Waverly are alive at the end of the season. ... If you care to get involved with this couple, I just want to let you know — their hearts are still beating by the end of this year."
The Canadian writer and producer, who has never worked on a show without a female protagonist, certainly isn't new to shaping LGBT characters. She was a showrunner on Lost Girl for several seasons, a show that stands among few others in having a happy ending between two queer women.
"When you're portraying a queer relationship, conflict and drama have to come from who the characters are," Andras added. "Their defining trait is not whether they're gay or bisexual."
Actors Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell don't take the responsibility of their onscreen relationship lightly.
"I feel very privileged to be playing a character that’s affecting people so much," Barrell, who often receives art and messages from LGBT fans, told BuzzFeed News.
"It can only get better," Barrell added when asked about representation of queer characters on television. "It has to... The more the fans speak out, they are heard. The massive outpouring of support and loyalty of the fans — why wouldn't you want those fans? Why wouldn't you engage that community and support that community?"