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Out in TV Land: Queer Youth Characters on the Small Screen

A Sampling of Fictional LGBT High Schoolers, Past and Present

June 28, 2013

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Emily Fields

Emily Fields, Pretty Little Liars (2010-Present)

In ABC Family's wildly popular nighttime soap Pretty Little Liars, one of the four main characters -- Emily Fields (played by Shay Mitchell) -- is a lesbian. The importance of her being a lesbian on the show is that her lesbianism is not just a plot point -- Emily is a fully rounded character who interacts with her three best friends without her gayness being a factor. Emily spends the first season of the show discovering her sexuality, and telling her friends that she had a crush on their newly passed friend, Alison. In a world where most shows show bullying and violence after coming out, PLL showed that coming out can be positive. After her friends had their initial shock, they continued being best friends and Emily became a symbol of normality and hope.

After her coming out, Emily's sexuality was never used as a plot point again. She went through the normal ups and downs of falling in love and having girlfriends. The show may have one of the highest lesbian counts on all of television, with eight named lesbian characters so far, as well as an entire lesbian bar in a small town! In fact, the only other show to boast more gay lady characters than PLL is The L Word.

Source: AfterEllen.com




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