TV + Movies

Fictional Characters That Made Me Come To Terms With My Queerness (And Sometimes Question It)

Towards the end of the year, I find myself infinitely grateful to these fictional characters: from before, during, and after I found sanctity in my queerness.

Growing up as a kid who never took time to question my sexuality, I struggled quite a bit when I was hit by the queerness truck. Given the taboo, exploring this part of my identity was often confined to books and shows. Years have passed, but I always revisit these beacons, stitched into my early memories as a little bisexual kid, wading my way through uncharted territory. And each time, that comfort that curled into my gut like warm coffee refuses to stray away.

Towards the end of the year, I find myself infinitely grateful to these fictional characters: from before, during, and after I found sanctity in my queerness.

Nico Di Angelo (Percy Jackson)

As a huge Percy Jackson lover, Rick Riordan and his masterful writing had me in a chokehold for the better years of my early teens. But Nico, one of my first introductions to a queer character in fiction, is a character I have a soft spot for. Maybe it was the way his character was fleshed out or the way he slowly came to terms with his sexuality. His initial panic, followed by that mellow acceptance, was something that I went through at 15 while reading the series. Nico Di Angelo was the fictional solace that held my hand through those wobbly first steps. For Nico, I am grateful to have seen his progression, from feeling secretive about his queerness, to feeling normal, and even open, encouraging me to evaluate my own thoughts.

Yuri Katsuki (Yuri On Ice)

Despite my early introduction to anime, Yuri was the first queer anime character I brushed shoulders with. Given his initial meekness, I assumed that Yuri’s acceptance of his sexuality too would be like Nico’s – slow yet steady. But Yuri gave me the courage when I was 16 to be spontaneous and unpredictable with queerness. His head-first dive into his relationship with Victor, and how unapologetic he was, encouraged me to explore my queerness without overthinking. And that brashness might have hurt me at times, but if it wasn’t for my young self binging ‘Yuri on Ice’ and realising, “Hey, this is what gay people in love look like. Happy, dripping in skating bling, but most importantly, not any different from other couples on screen,” I would not have had it easy. For Yuri, I am grateful for his Pisces self and the way he spread his wings: fluttering at first, but glorious all the same.

Rosa Diaz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Headstrong. Aggressive. Quick to cut. But, soft on the inside. Vulnerable, even. Rosa Diaz is a character that patted me on the back with tough love, yet held my hand through rocky roads at 17, when fear regarding my future as a bisexual woman reared its head. An episode that stays with me to this day is Rosa’s coming out to her parents: in 20 minutes, Rosa pretty much summed up every hope and fear I have ever felt as a bi woman. To see a reflection of my innermost thoughts through a comedy show hit hard – and this was never a one-off situation with Rosa Diaz. Stephanie Beatriz’s queerness also played a huge role in my gratitude to her character: to see a bi woman be proud and loud and in her skin as a character as impactful as Rosa made all my days. For Rosa, I am grateful for the mirror she holds up to all my dreams, demons, and possibilities.

Viktor Hargreeves (The Umbrella Academy)

Watching Viktor’s tender love with Sissy in The Umbrella Academy was an absolutely blissful experience. Their domestic affection made me want to skip episodes just to get to their  story. Viktor and Sissy’s love, no matter the tragedy, was a pivotal part of the story that had me hooked: maybe even quelling my queer thirst for seeing people like me head over heels in love. His journey from shutting out everyone around him to coming out of his shell for that special someone made me shift perspectives and appreciate those in my life who did just that. Viktor’s journey in Season 3 as a trans man, and the succeeding acceptance and protectiveness by his siblings, was a gravitational plot point that pulled me in and kept me at the center of a storm of vicarious happiness. For Viktor, I am grateful for finding contentment in his skin, while helping me feel comfortable in my own.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of fictional characters that I am grateful for as a queer person (especially given the broad spectrum of pop culture I consume). Although a fraction, these characters feel like lifelong friends and allies in whom I find new pieces of myself, regardless of whether I was 16 (someone just grappling with the idea of bisexuality) or 21 (someone finally grasping the beauty of it). Mostly, I am beyond grateful to my special someone for introducing (most) of them to me, because I also happened to find their pieces through these characters.

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I am a writer, poet and journalist. In my free time, I indulge in poetry about queer love, body image and relationships. I love writing about politics, culture and lifestyle. I am deeply passionate about covering queer stories and highlighting unheard stories. I am planning to study international relations and make tangible, impactful changes for a sustainable future.
T.M. Amrita

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