During 2020’s Pride Month, I’ve been speaking to a few members of the LGBTQ+ community to hear what representation means to them. Specifically, I’ve asked if a certain character, show or fictional relationship has helped them. LGBTQ+ representation is something we simply don’t see enough of and when we do see it, it’s not always done well.
Who better to speak on the issue than the people it impacts most?
For the 4th feature of the month, I was able to speak to Juliette (@nothingtofearCL) about what the iconic character Lexa (from The 100) means to her.
WARNING: spoilers ahead if you’ve not watched The 100 (and somehow don’t know what happened to Lexa!)
1. Which character have you chosen to discuss?
I choose Lexa kom Trikru. She’s the commander of the 12 and later 13 clans in season 2 and 3 on a show called The 100.
2. Do you remember how you felt when you first saw Lexa?
I first heard about Lexa, Clarke and Lexa’s relationship, and even Lexa’s unfortunate demise back in 2016 after 3.07 aired, but didn’t watch the show until April 2019. Once I got into the show I was excited to meet Lexa, and I remember being so confused watching 2.06 when she was introduced as a timid yet intimidating servant girl. How could Clarke, the leader of the Sky people, end up falling in love with this girl. How would they even meet? The same episode it turned out she was in fact the commander.
That whole scene was just so badass. Then, from the moment Clarke and Lexa met in 2.07 I remember still being confused, until their first kiss in 2.14, simply because I had never seen two women in positions of power fall in love and it not being a big deal or addressed as an issue of some sort.
3. Is there a particular scene which made you become so attached to them?
Before starting I promised myself that I wouldn’t get attached to Lexa because I knew that she would die and that many people were upset about her death. So when I watched their story unfold for the first time, I felt anxious and apprehensive.
I fought but in the end it seemed like I didn’t have a choice. I just loved Lexa with every part of me. But unusually for me, that realization only hit when I watched Lexa get shot. I fought the battle to not get attached to her, to not love her and her relationship with Clarke, and just failed miserably. I felt my barriers being stripped away by Lexa, despite knowing the end that was coming.
4. Do you think Lexa was positively represented?
Yes and no. Even when Lexa was alive there were some issues with their relationship. For instance, no other characters knew about them. Although that made sense in context, other people interpret that as abusive towards Clarke, because maybe she wasn’t in the right state of mind to fall in love as she was separated from her people. And it feeds into the secretive LGBT relationship stereotype.
If they’d had more time, they could have shown how they would tell people. But instead, Clarke was just left alone with her grief, with nobody really asking her or taking a moment to discuss what Lexa meant to her. The worst part of it obviously was that she died the moment she was happy and filled with hope about her future with Clarke. It’s just truly heartbreaking and toxic. Thinking about it makes me feel sick. I could go on and on about what was so amazing about Lexa, but the fact that she’s a lesbian who holds the position of commander in her society is just simply so powerful to me.
5. How have they helped you personally?
This is so complicated, because her death devastated me and still does. I mean what are the lessons learnt exactly? That’s what’s so difficult. I’ve felt so alone all my life in dealing with my sexual orientation, and ultimately my lesbianism. When I was watching her and I hadn’t seen her death yet, she made me feel strong and courageous. Yet all the positive aspects of Lexa is overshadowed by the final 10 minutes of 3.07. Because the message to me is: it doesn’t matter what you do or how good you try to be, someone will always be there to punish you for loving another woman. That’s how I feel all the time.
6. Why does Lexa mean so much to you?
It’s a combination of different factors. Even a year later it’s difficult to put into words because she has touched my soul so deeply. To try to explain would feel like a useless endeavor. What I can say is Lexa has taught me so much. Her life and death made me understand my conflict with LGBT representation, and made me reflect on my own life and confront my issues with my sexuality. She opened my eyes in a beautiful yet heartbreaking way. I’m still dealing with the fallout of all this mentally, and see no resolve in the near future. Because even if Lexa comes back, it won’t erase all the pain or fix every problem I have with my lesbianism. It’d sure be a damn good start though.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I have fought for Lexa in every way I could and I know many who have done the same. I hope our collective effort has achieved something positive for the final season of the 100. And if it didn’t? Our fight is not over. Lexa, Alycia and everyone who identifies with Lexa deserve better. And I’ll fight to make sure it happens. We WILL see Lexa again.
Lexa has had a profound impact on the LGBTQ+ community. Her death sparked a huge uproar about how LGBTQ+ characters are treated in television and many shows since have learnt from The 100’s mistakes. These characters matter. How they’re portrayed matters.
You can follow Juliette on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/nothingtofearCL