The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

“Heartstopper” becomes an iconic show among LGBTQ+ students

Winnie Einhorn
“Heartstopper,” based on a graphic novel series, became available on Netflix on April 22, 2022.

Netflix’s much-anticipated TV show “Heartstopper” finally made its debut on April 22, stealing the hearts of students searching for accurate, positive, and wholesome queer representation. Regardless of whether students were long-time fans, or new viewers, the LGBTQ+ community’s unanimous love of the series turned “Heartstopper” into a hit practically overnight. 

Following the widely popular graphic novel series under the same name, “Heartstopper” kicks off with many students already anticipating the release of the show. Talk of the series quickly began to sweep through the Woodside campus shortly after its release, and rapidly became a source of discussion and connection within the school’s LGBTQ+ community.

“I think it’s definitely more popular among the LGBTQ community,” freshman Maxwell Tienken said. “But there’s such an LGBTQ presence at this school, that it is kind of taking over the school.” 

Starting as a simple webtoon series of graphic novels, “Heartstopper” quickly gained in popularity, creating a core group of fans before the show was released.

“I started watching it because I read the webtoon, and it was super good,” junior Lillian Ammenti said. “I watched [the show,] and it was amazing.” 

While students enter the “Heartstopper” fandom differently, very few find themselves disappointed.

“Someone said they would pay me five dollars if I watched the first episode,” Tinken said. “So I watched the first episode, and then finished the show that same night. It was worth it.” 

The show covers many topics around the experience of queer youth, providing heartwarming storylines that many students relate to. 

“It’s about first love, and figuring out your identity and your sexuality,” freshman Addison Durret explained. “It’s [also about] dealing with judgment [from] other people, and figuring out who your friends are.” 

While representation of the queer community is no longer uncommon within mainstream media, many students have observed that relatable, positive portrayals of gay characters are difficult to find. “Heartstopper” delights these students with a story far closer to reality. 

“No one dies,” Tienken said. “In a lot of gay shows, the gay characters die at the end… But this is just a wholesome story about these two gay guys who fall in love, and it’s really cute… It’s this cute representation of the love they have for each other.”

The series was sure to stand out to students who are tired of the shallow “token gay character” tropes often found in TV. 

“Their only personality traits aren’t, ‘oh my god, I’m gay, and im bi, and that’s my only personality trait,’” Ammenti said. “They have depth, and they have their own problems that aren’t related to them being LGBTQ.”  

The show portrays many common challenges faced by young members of the LGBTQ+ community. “Heartstopper” gained much appreciation for creating characters that students resonate with.  

“I immediately think of Nick coming to terms with his sexuality,” Durrett said. “I can relate to that a lot. Especially looking up the quizzes… That was basically exactly what I went through.”

Accurate representation is certainly a strong element in the show. While much of the series is personally relatable to students within the queer community, students are also excited to see quality representation span beyond the core fans. 

“It’s just a really good representation of LGBTQ plus and different relationships,” freshman Taylor Frey said. “And I think it’s really important for young audiences, [or] even older audiences to watch it and understand what’s happening now.”

Creating a positive atmosphere around topics relating to the queer community is an important component to forming a more accepting community. Students found “Heartstopper” to be a valuable step in the right direction. 

“It’s really cool to represent these characters and these people to a younger generation, who need to see that these are real people,” Tienken said. “We shouldn’t just associate everything with heteronormative stereotypes.”

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