LGBTQIA charity Just Like Us shares how Netflix’s new instalment in Alice Oseman’s series is important for young people
BY MARA HARRIS (A JUST LIKE US AMBASSADOR), IMAGE BY NETFLIX
Heartstopper season two dropped and it is incredible. It is filled with so much positive and vital representation. It is a show that will massively help young people, both queer and allies.
*Warning Spoilers Ahead*
Elle and Tao’s crushes on each other continue this season, and blossom into a lovely relationship between the two. Whilst the path to the pair’s relationship isn’t the smoothest, Tao struggles with Elle’s potential move to an Art College for sixth form, and what he thinks would impress Elle, Elle’s identity as a trans girl is never a point of struggle for the two.
It’s refreshing to see a trans girl fall in love and navigate a relationship without her identity ever being something that causes a problem, or something that “gets in the way” of her being loved. It lets trans young people know that they can experience love and relationships as who they are, and because of who they are, which is something that is incredibly rare in the media.
Elle also makes some new friends on an open day to an Art College she is looking to apply for. Naomi and Felix are both trans characters, Naomi being a trans girl, and Felix being non-binary, using they/them pronouns. Felix also uses a wheelchair.
To see everyone refer to Felix casually using they/them pronouns is important for non-binary people to see, to know that there are groups of people out there who will accept them, but also for young people in general, so they have clear examples of how to use they/them pronouns.
This season also focuses a bit more on one of the quieter members of Charlie’s friendship group, Isaac. Isaac meets a boy called James, who eventually confesses his crush on Isaac, and they share a kiss. Isaac struggles with his feelings for James, and questions how he should feel about him, unsure of how actually having a crush on someone feels like.
At a queer art show, Issac comes across a beautiful piece, made by someone at the Art College. The artist describes how the piece is about discovering their asexual and aromantic identity, the impact society had on that originally, then the freedom they felt when they fully embraced who they are. Issac seems to really connect with a piece, and later borrows a book on Ace identities from the pride section of the school library.
Ace identities are something which are, again, rarely represented in the media. Many do not know what being asexual (someone who does not feel sexual attraction), and/or being aromantic (someone who does not feel romantic attraction) means. Therefore having the identities explored in a show that is aimed at younger people allows for the identity to be properly explained to people, whilst having a real character for people of all identities to connect to.
Nick and Charlie’s journeys continue as well throughout the season. Nick wants to come out to more people, and have more of his friends know about Charlie and his relationship. Charlie, amongst his own troubles, supports Nick throughout this journey, encouraging to make the steps to come out to people, while reminding him that he only has to do what he is comfortable with, and that coming out is something that takes time.
This is something that is really important to emphasise to young people, as it is something that is a very challenging part of being queer, being younger with less confidence and general life experience also makes it much more difficult. This is why Just Like Us, the LGBTQIA young people’s charity, takes the time to really explain the process, and to reassure LGBTQIA young people that the focus is on their boundaries, in the talks they do in schools across the UK.
In short, Season two of Heartstopper is full of even more positive LGBTQIA representation than in the first season. This representation is so valuable for young people, both LGBTQIA and not. I’m already excited for Season Three which will surely only continue this important visibility, and continue to be a heart-warming watch!
If you are 18 to 25, you can become a charity ambassador for Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity – find out more.
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