As debate swirls around the representation of LGBTQI characters on television and the fact that there have been 11 lesbian characters killed off this year alone, one show has pledged to its fans that it will not play into the so-called 'lesbian death trope'.
The writers and producers of Canadian supernatural medical drama Saving Hope have signed a pledge acknowledging the harmful nature of the trope - also known as 'Bury your gays' - and promising to do better than other shows.
Speaking with website The TV Junkies, co-executive producer Noelle Carbone said that at the time of Lexa's death on sci-fi series The 100 and the intense fan backlash that followed, the writers of Saving Hope had already been debating whether to kill a recurring lesbian character being treated at the hospital.
"We debated whether or not, as a hospital show where patients often die, we were beholden to the same rules as other shows," Carbone says. "Ultimately, we came to understand that the underlying issue is actually pretty simple: queer characters are so underrepresented on television that killing off even one makes a tremendous negative impact."
The result of this debate was to draft a pledge to LGBTQI fans of their show to do better.
The pledge states that they were "shocked, perplexed and distressed by the epidemic of LGBTQI television characters' deaths" recently, and says that "every writing room can learn something from this extraordinary and revolutionary moment".
"We recognise that the LGBTQ community is underrepresented on television, and... that the deaths of queer characters [have] deep psychosocial ramifications," it continues.
"We have heard your frustrations, your fears, and your call for meaningful change. And we intend to honour that call."
On the lack of significant queer representation on television, they show's creators promise that "any significant or recurring LGBTQI characters... will have significant storylines with meaningful arcs", and that they will consult sources within the LGBTQI community, including queer writers or producers on staff and queer advocacy groups like GLAAD, The Trevor Project, It Gets Better, Egale, and The 519.
Read the whole pledge below: