Heartstopper Has My Heart

By Faith Gonia

When it comes to television, we often watch what we relate to. Teenagers revel in high school dramas; adults, Downton Abbey. (That is, adults in my family). The appeal of a television series lies in its relevance to viewers. Longing for solidarity, an audience needs to feel represented on screen as much as they need the show to entertain them.

For today’s LGBTQ+ teens, the same principle applies. However, many popular shows fail to provide characters which accurately describe queer teenhood. Resorting to harmful stereotypes, many coming-of-age pieces of media treat queer characters as just that—a character. While the main, straight characters receive ample plot lines and substantial character arcs, the gay side characters receive a stubborn label and sixty seconds of screen time. 

An anomaly, Heartstopper, a television show based off of a novel series, revolutionizes LBGTQ+ representation in media. With several queer protagonists, a TV-14 rating, and countless moments that perfectly capture growing up gay, Heartstopper offers—finally—a relatable, informative television show about queer teenagers. 

The series follows two high school students in Britain, working through the unfamiliar, yet exciting age that is sixteen. Surrounded by supportive friends and mentors, the protagonists take viewers on a journey through tackling homophobia, prejudice, and even simple coursework struggles. Ultimately, the show provides a positive, realistic portrayal of LGBTQ+ youth. And for that reason, Heartstopper will forever have my heart.