On television, according to Autostraddle, a queer- and trans-centered website, 35 percent of us end up dead. Only 16 percent arrive at any sort of happy ending.
Contrary to common argument, these stories are not being told because they sell. “The 100,” which killed off a queer woman the episode after she had consummated her relationship with her partner, had its worst ratings all season the week after. And yet a few months later, “Person of Interest” aired its second death of a queer lead, after finally reuniting her with her partner — who had, it should be mentioned, been shot and presumed dead immediately after confirming her queerness the season before.
These are the stories they tell, because, to a storyteller, emotional response elicits coveted attention, and misery is the least troublesome emotion to evoke. Any character’s death can be shocking and upsetting, but taking a character who attained happiness despite the fundamental struggle of being queer and ripping them from that happiness? Now that’s tragic. And that’s how we’re taught to see the pain of queerness. As fundamental.