LGBTQIA representation in The Walking Dead universe

Ross Marquand as Aaron - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Ross Marquand as Aaron - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

We take a deep dive into LGBTQ representation in The Walking Dead universe.

Our panelists got together to examine past and present LGBTQ inclusion in The Walking Dead universe and to talk about what type of representation they’d like to see in the universe in the future. This is part one of an ongoing discussion about the way that LGBTQ characters are written in The Walking Dead universe, how their stories intersect with the stories of other survivors, and what the show gets right and gets wrong about LGBTQ representation.

With so much going on in the world it sometimes feels like there are new traumas demanding all of our attention daily. But, this pause in TV production is a great chance to take a breath and look at how the stories of marginalized peoples are being told on TV and what can be done to amplify their voices.

It’s interesting to have such a unique universe to examine. With every new spinoff that is created TWD shows growth in representation. On the original The Walking Dead the first LGBTQ character wasn’t introduced until season 4, but on Fear The Walking Dead an LGTBQ character was introduced just a few episodes into the original season and his storyline with his partner shaped the entire narrative of the show.

For part one of this panel the panelists were asked to assess the qualify of LGBTQ representation in the universe overall compared to other genre shows and TV in general.

Part One

Do you think that TWD has done a good job including LGBTQ characters and stories across the TWD universe?

Sonya says:

"It’s tough to answer that question because I feel like LGBTQ representation in general is lacking in TV. I do think that TWD has demonstrated a real commitment to telling authentic LGBTQ stories and to including LGBTQ characters as part of their survival narrative. And that’s important. I don’t think they get it exactly right 100% of the time but it’s not realistic to expect that from any show. So I guess I’d say The Walking Dead does a better job than any other genre show. I’ve definitely seen growth in The Walking Dead as the universe expands. I have high hopes for what’s coming in TWD World Beyond."

Joe says:

"Overall, The Walking Dead has done a relatively good job including LGBTQ+ characters in stories throughout the universe. What stands out most to me is the fact that the LGBTQ+ characters we see in the show are not solely defined or characterized by their sexuality. Instead, these characters shine for their other admirable traits, like Aaron’s caring heart, Jesus’ incredible combat skills, or Tara’s well-timed humor. That being said, many of the most notable LGBTQ+ characters have been killed off in recent seasons, so hopefully characters with more diverse backgrounds are introduced in season 11 and beyond. While the show could certainly use more LGBTQ+ couples and characters, they have handled the ones we have seen pretty well."

Sara says:

"The Walking Dead universe has done an amazing job with the representation of the LGBTQIA+ community. I believe it is some of the most inclusive content out right now, that isn’t totally about this community. The way they seamlessly add these characters in as normal parts of the story, just like life, is a beautiful thing. The Walking Dead on social media is also a proud supporter, denouncing homophobic people. That makes my heart soar!"

Dawn says:

"I think absolutely TWD has done a great job of including LGBTQ characters in the show. The way Tara, particularly as the first LGBTQ character, was introduced so well with her sexuality just being another aspect of her character, like it is with Rosita. Obviously with Jesus there was a bigger fanfare over his sexuality, due largely to his huge impact in the comics. However, the producers and AMC have managed to avoid making most LGBTQ character’s sexuality a major announcement as though it was a “very special episode of Blossom” type situation. Instead the characters’ sexualities are seamlessly woven into the story, as should be."

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