Heartstopper: Redefining love for the queer community
It is common for literary works to expand and be adapted into audiovisual projects. But usually, in these cases, fans’ opinions split, with one (usually loud) group professing that the adaption was unfaithful to the original book. Fortunately, Heartstopper, a show based on a comic-book story sequence, was not one of these cases—Instead, it became a title admired by both literary critics and the general public.
The series tells the story of an LGBTQIA+ romance between the characters Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson. The plot sinks its teeth into several questions about sexual orientation, self-knowledge, and friendship, piquing the interest of the queer public who have long missed out on seeing their own coming-of-age stories on the big screen. Out of necessity, it is profoundly derivative. TV shows were filled with traditional content for a long time, where non-normative sexualities were considered wrong and censored. That is why it’s always a fantastic thing when the queer community achieves space by being represented in a movie or a TV show for everyone to see and appreciate our derivative, basic, gleeful existences Narratives of queer joy are, by nature, subversive of societal norms and healing for the community on a mass scale.
Heartstopper illustrated that an LGBTQIA+ relationship is possible like any other heterosexual romance and its millions of stories. It’s just a run-of-the-mill teen show with queer representation—It is profoundly silly at times, a quintessentially coming-of-age story that lures out bashful, empathetic smiles from its viewers. And although the world still has considerable progress to make toward LGBTQIA+ justice, this show has great value. It is a testament to how, step by step, the queer community has carved out its own place, with narratives of queer joy subverting still-existing and ingrained prejudices and helping younger members of the community. It shows that queer love can be liberating.