Netflix has a problem with cancelling lesbian shows and we need to talk about it

Why does Heartstopper get another two seasons but First Kill doesn’t?


Netflix has yet again cancelled another show with leading lesbian characters. Just last week First Kill was axed after dropping on Netflix back in June, despite the show having high streaming numbers. I get it, shows get cancelled all the time but Netflix has a serious problem with cancelling lesbian-lead shows and a pattern is starting to show.

On Twitter loads of people have been comparing First Kill to Heartstopper, a show that only had 14.5 million hours of viewing in its first few days. This total was less than half of what First Kill had in the same time frame. Sure, First Kill is a longer series but the success and fan base is undeniable. All I can think about is the painfully obvious difference between First Kill and Heartstopper – the latter focuses on queer men.

Heartstopper is a great show, I won’t deny that. But Netflix’s track history with cancelling lesbian shows is infuriating and First Kill is the final straw. One person on Twitter said: “The way First Kill trended top 10 in the US for like two months and it still got cancelled – yeah, Netflix actually hates women loving women that’s insane.”

First Kill is joining a very long line of great shows with lesbian leads that were cancelled like I Am Not Okay With This, Everything Sucks!, Sense8, Atypical, One Day At A Time. At this point there are simply too many shows to count.

With the exception of Orange Is The New Black, loads of lesbian fronted shows have been the victims of Netflix cutting them short after very few seasons. It’s one big disappointment in a pre-exisiting culture of lesbians being completely invisible on-screen. Netflix isn’t the only platform to do it, with shows like Killing Eve also ending too early.

Having limited to no access of lesbian shows growing up meant other lesbians like myself really struggled with accepting our sexual orientation. I would have come out a lot sooner and it would have been so much easier for me if I had access to watching more lesbian characters, especially main ones. Lesbian representation is way behind in comparison to the representation for gay men and it’s totally unfair.

Myself and other lesbians I know will always scramble to any TV show or movie if there’s a hint of any lesbianism going on. Even if the lesbian is a minor character. But we always end up disappointed when the lesbian gets killed off or ends up being majorly unhappy. I just want some continous lesbian representation. It’s not too much to ask for.

Netflix has been approached for comment.

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