“Queer Interruptions” Examines Impact of ‘Bury Your Gays’

Queer Interruptions is a fan-created documentary that analyzes the impact of Lexa’s death on the LGBTQIA+ community.

On March 3, 2016, the femslash world changed forever when The 100’s Commander Lexa was shot by a stray bullet after consummating her relationship with series protagonist Clarke in a season 3 episode. While Lexa was far from the first LGBTQIA+ character to be killed off in media, her death caused many fans to break-up with the show and sparked a movement of fans determined to bring attention to the long-standing harmful trope known as ‘Bury Your Gays.’

Fan-created documentary Queer Interruptions sets out to analyze the impact of Lexa’s death on the LGBTQIA+ community and how homophobia in the real world causes the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope to be especially harmful. The documentary is made up of five separate segments that feature interviews with LGBTQIA+ fans from a variety of backgrounds and ranging in age from 20s to 50s. The interviewees don’t hold back as they tell their own stories involving their sexualities and how Lexa’s death personally affected them. Using anecdotal evidence, the documentary paints a picture of how the LGBTQIA+ community felt leading up to, during, and in the aftermath of Lexa’s death.

The documentary was a PhD project created by Evangeline Aguas, a student at the University of Technology, Sydney. The interviews were mostly conducted during the 2018 ClexaCon, the fan convention created in the wake of Lexa’s death, though some additional interviews were conducted virtually. Clexa was the starting point for this documentary, but other notable deaths of LGBTQIA+ characters are mentioned in interviews, including Xena from Xena: Warrior Princess and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The documentary’s accompanying website splits the segments up so that they can be viewed in any order.

Much of the documentary is contextualizing how LGBTQIA+ experiences vastly differ from those of their heterosexual peers, and the hopes for the LGBTQIA+ community going forward in terms of real-world issues and media representation. The crux of the documentary deals with the aftermath of Lexa’s death and how it affected each off the interviewees.

A striking moment in the documentary is when a woman speaks about being sent to conversion therapy by her family. She mentions how being told that she wouldn’t be able to lead a happy life led to devastation when those worries were proved correct with Lexa’s death.

In discussing Lexa’s death, a few of the documentary’s segments also feature an interview with the writer of the infamous The 100 episode, Javi Grillo-Marxuach. As a straight man, he details the aftermath of the episode airing and that many of the people responding took great effort to explain to him how harmful both the episode and the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope are.

While straight voices shouldn’t be prioritized over LGBTQIA+ voices when it comes to these issues, Grillo-Marxuach’s role as an ally willing to listen and learn from what happened provides an interesting perspective to the documentary. Hopefully, more writers are able to listen and be respectful of issues in marginalized community and carefully approach writing them in the future.

I remember witnessing the devastation of many of my friends on the night that the episode aired. It was especially jarring after having the show be recommended to me a mere couple of weeks before. Despite not seeing the episode firsthand, my heart broke for the community and the subsequent series of LGBTQIA+ character deaths so close together in the immediate aftermath was devastating.

However, my devastation began to turn slightly hopeful when seeing the movement that came out of Lexa’s death and the vital conversations that began throughout the entertainment industry. While some progress has been made since 2016, there is definitely more work to do in terms of representation.

Queer Interruptions is a powerful examination of the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation in media and the harm that the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope inflicts on a vulnerable marginalized community. The interviewees for the documentary drive the narrative with their moving and sometimes heartbreaking stories. While not all experiences in the LGBTQIA+ community are universal, there is no doubt that representation matters to people of all marginalized community and that a brighter future for everyone is something that is necessary to strive for.

You can view Queer Interruptions here.

Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

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