‘It makes me feel seen’: Queer people on the importance of Netflix’s Heartstopper

‘We don’t want to keep seeing trauma in series and film’

I’ve watched plenty of LGBTQ+ shows before but Heartstopper just hits different. It is the series we all wished we had during our secondary school years. The show is full of so many nostalgic scenes, feelings and details which took me right back to our school years like 15-year-old Nick googling for a quiz that’ll tell him whether he’s gay or not.

Since watching it, all everyone has been saying is how much the show has made them feel validated. All of those feelings we had about ourselves when we were younger were real and deserve to be explored which is exactly what Alice Oseman does. The Tab spoke to three queer people who have watched Heartstopper and they shared their thoughts on the importance of a show like this. This is what they had to say:

‘It makes me feel seen about being queer when I was younger’

via Netflix

Heartstopper has validated a lot of feelings for thousands of queer people, Lily is one of them. Lily says the show is positive and highlights a reality for queer people, it also shows “the possibility of happiness and self-discovery through being queer” whilst also being realistic about the homophobia in society.

Lily says it “makes me feel seen because of the uncertainty about being queer when younger and the struggle for self-discovery.” Also, Heartstopper showcases how a group of supportive mates and parents being open to you being queer can be a real lifeline for many people.

via Netflix

‘Heartstopper shows queer teens what the world welcomes them’

Presenter and activist Jack Remmington spoke to The Tab about the importance of Heartstopper. He says one of the things the show does for the LGBTQ+ community is create a space based on tolerance and acceptance. He says Heartstopper is important because “there’s often a focus on the trauma and tragedy of queer characters, who are also often sidelined into story writing in favour of a more ‘palatable family friendly’ narrative.”

Jack also agrees it’s obviously important to highlight the trauma of government and societal failures regarding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but points out “this isn’t all we are as queer people.” He says: “Showing young kids and teens that the world welcomes them and that their lives can and should be primarily filled with joy and support is something the show does so well, and that deserves to be cherished.”

He also reminisced about when he was younger saying how jealous he is of children growing up today. Jack told The Tab: “It’s so wonderful how far things have come for queer youth, and to know that the show is being received so well is something I could only have dreamed of when I was younger, when queer characters, never mind whole queer shows were few and far between.”

‘We don’t want to keep seeing trauma in series and film’

Liv, who identifies as queer told The Tab about the reasons why shows like Heartstopper are vital. She says: “We as a community are so under represented – and when we are it tends to be really over- sexualised or a traumatic story. A lot of us have to deal with so much internalised phobia and hate – we won’t want to keep seeing trauma in series and film.”

via Netflix

We want to see real, authentic love stories and Liv believes that’s exactly what Alice Oseman created. “Even though it was a beautifully told story and I loved the joy all eight episodes brought – I felt super sad at the end,” Liv says.

via Netflix

“I am so grateful that people like Alice are creating positive stories like this for the younger queer generation, but, I feel sad that we never had representation like this. It’s a bittersweet feeling – but I still can’t wait for season 2 and the ratings, viewership alone just shows the demand is there for more positive queer stories.”

Heartstopper is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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