CANADA ENTERTAINMENT How Heartstopper and other shows are helping LGBT kids...

How Heartstopper and other shows are helping LGBT kids feel represented on TV | Article


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Experts say these stories help children understand that they can be both weird and happy.


  • New show on Netflix heart blockdraws a lot of attention.

  • It’s about two teenage boys who navigate school, sports, and their relationships.

  • Experts in LGBTQ culture say it’s a great way to introduce kids to positive storylines that involve different characters.

  • And more and more shows are doing just that.

  • Keep reading to find out why this is important. ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️

Most people love enjoyable TV shows, especially when they can see themselves on screen.

Netflix heart block does just that with a wide variety of characters who self-identify as LGBTQ.

heart blockwhich debuted on Netflix on April 22, is based on the graphic novels of the same name written by author and illustrator Alice Osman.

It’s about two young British teenagers, Nick and Charlie, whose relationship blossoms in a story that’s so unapologetically strange.

The Heartstopper show was adapted from a series of four graphic novels. (Image credit: Alice Osman)

By the end of its second week on the air, the series had nearly 24 million hours watched, according to Netflix.

heart block is part of a wave of new stories about LGBT teenagers that are making headlines in film and television today.

So why are such shows important to all viewers?

Read on to find out more, but beware, this article contains spoilers.

Two boys lie in the snow

The two main characters start off as friends and Charlie quickly falls in love with Nick. (Image credit: Netflix)

What Heartstopper Does Differently

CBC Kids News spoke to two experts to get their perspective on this issue: Mel Woods, a journalist who specializes in LGBTQ culture, and Adam Zivo, an LGBTQ journalist and activist.

Mel Woods (left) is an entertainment writer for Xtra magazine. Adam Zivo is a columnist for the National Post. (Images provided by Mel Woods, Adam Zivo)

They both said that, until recently, many shows featuring LGBTQ characters have focused on trauma, fear, and negative stereotyping.

Woods called heart block “innovative” for several reasons.

Unlike some other stories that feature LGBTQ characters, this heart blockCharlie, played by Joe Locke, is already out.

Woods said one of the great things about the show is that Charlie is just “a kid living his life.”

The characters also have a strong support system through family and friends.

Especially positive is the scene when Nick walks out to his mom, a moment that was met with love and kindness.

While not everyone experiences it, Woods says it’s important to show viewers that such happy moments are possible.

They added that “it’s good for kids to see different ways to be gay, based on joy and based on love.”

A teenager looks at his phone while his mother reads on a tablet

In a scene from Heartstopper, Nick searches the internet for movies he could watch with his mom that have LGBTQ storylines. Options are limited. (Image credit: Netflix)

Zivo said he would like to be on shows like heart block which he could have watched with his mom as a child to help her understand what he was going through.

“So that I don’t have to explain it because I didn’t know how to explain it,” he said. “But a TV show can show it for me.”

Heartstopper is not alone

Woods said there is an incentive for streaming platforms to include these shows in order to reach a wider audience.

on netflix, Julie and the Ghosts as well as She-Ra and the princesses of power – Recent examples of shows with LGBTQ characters and plots.

Two cartoon characters laughing in an embrace

In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Adora and Catra discover that love can save the world. (Image credit: Netflix)

Woods also pointed to Cartoon Network. steven universewhich includes a same-sex marriage proposal and a wedding.

What’s next?

Both experts said that the more younger audiences are represented in film and television, the better.

How in heart blockthey should include main characters from a wide variety of LGBTQ identities.

“There are endless ways to be weird [and] endless ways to be trans,” Woods said.

“And I think the more media we have, like heart blockso much the better to tell these stories to as many people as possible.”

Heartstopper features characters from a wide range of LGBTQ identities. (Image credit: Netflix)

Zivo has said that he would like to see shows where queer characters come out in a non-intrusive way.

“Sometimes it’s nice to just have a queer character where he’s queer and it doesn’t really matter in the story and we don’t need to hear about them dealing with hate crimes or trauma,” he said.

Less than a month after its debut, Netflix announced that heart block was renewed for two more seasons.

Due to the popularity of shows like heart blockobviously there are more stories to tell and we are just getting started.

Any more questions? Want to tell us how we’re doing? Use the “Send Us Feedback” link below. ⬇️⬇️⬇️

MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: Netflix, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC

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