Stranger Things Season Three Said “Gay Rights!”
Even though Stranger Things is one of the most popular shows on Netflix, it was lacking in the queer representation department. However, things changed for the better during the third season. The Duffer Brothers didn’t have to, but I’m glad they decided to introduce certain queer storylines.
This article about Stranger Things 3 includes minor spoilers. You’ve been warned!
I don’t know about you all, but as a viewer, I always thought Will Byers wasn’t straight. There was just something about how his character was written in the first two seasons. While the rest of the kids were hooking up or showed interest in the opposite gender, Will didn’t seem motivated to follow suit. Even pairing him up with some random girl during the school dance scene in the season two finale felt forced.
Anyway, going into the third season (do read our review), Will ended up being the odd one out in his group. Mike and Eleven were a couple. Lucas and Max were in a relationship. Even Dustin found Suzie. Trying to stay connected with his friends, Will kept on forcing the boys to play D&D (to no avail). Will and Mike even had a heated confrontation where Mike yelled about how Will didn’t like girls.
To me, it looks like the writers are working toward an arc where Will comes out of the closet (at least to his friends and family) as the series continues. He has a lot of emotions he has to deal with. Here’s to hoping he finds happiness.
While Will’s queer sexuality is (more or less) implied, it’s a new character named Robin (Maya Hawke) who gets to come out in a very well-written manner in a show set in the 80s. Seeing Robin during the promotional content, I thought she was going to be Steve’s potential love interest.
The writers did an awesome job of introducing Robin and showing her bond with Steve and some of the kids. I actually was on board with her and Steve hooking up (even though it was predictable). I liked her that much!
But then, in episode seven “The Bite,” after Steve revealed his romantic feelings for Robin, the young woman came out to him as a lesbian. Kudos to the writing team for handling the entire scene in a respectable manner. Hawke did an impressive job of showing Robin’s fear while talking about the subject because she didn’t want to lose Steve as a friend.
I liked how Robin was written. She was in a band, good with languages, very smart, brave, and so much more! Her sexuality was only one aspect of her well-rounded character.
The short time-jump during the finale showed Robin and Steve still being friends. Now, there are some fans who hope Robin realizes she’s bisexual and she’ll fall in love with Steve. While I’m all for bisexual representation in media, I wouldn’t mind Robin as a lesbian either. Stranger Things still gets points for finally deciding to show queer characters in a highly popular series that’s viewed around the world.
While I still think Billy was supposed to be queer, too (his toxic masculinity being a result of staying in the closest. Yes, it’s a trope, but it would have made more sense than the explanation we got from the flashback that I didn’t care for), I’ll let it pass because the show gave us Robin and, in some part, Will.
I also think the kid’s teacher should have been queer as well, but again, I’ll let that slide, too!
On the comedic side, the photographer who snapped pictures of El and Max was definitely not straight. I’m just glad the series balanced him out with more layered queer characters.
I can’t wait to see what happens in Stranger Things season 4. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Masters in Psychology and an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Arousing the Legacy, Missing in Somerville, The Game Master of Somerville, and The Escaped Murderer of Somerville. He gives us insight on comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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