Netflix’s Riverdale is giving its newest bisexual character gay ‘cure’ therapy, and fans are horrified
Riverdale has sent Cheryl Blossom, who came out as bisexual just last week, to get gay ‘conversion’ therapy.
The head cheerleader and all-round badass delighted fans by telling Toni Topaz, who came out as bi earlier this season, that she was once in love with Heather, her best friend in junior high.
The revelation was foreshadowed by Madelaine Petsch, who plays Cheryl on the dark CW and Netflix show about Archie Comics characters, who revealed the week before that Cheryl was “definitely interested in both women and men”.
And in an emotional scene with prominent bisexual lighting, Cheryl opened up about her sexuality to Toni.
The tear-jerking clip also excited viewers who have long believed in the popular fan theory that Cheryl and Toni would end up together – and this ship received an extra boost this week, as the two shared a bed and went in for a kiss, only to have their moment stolen by Cheryl’s Nana Rose falling down the stairs.
But the possibility of the two girls getting together was thrown into doubt later in the episode, as the red-headed River Vixen was trapped in the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, a so-called ‘home for troubled youths.’
And once there, one of the sisters told a terrified Cheryl that the home was going to “rid you of all those naughty demons – the ones making you think such awful, unnatural thoughts”.
As an orderly handed her a huge needle, the sister added: “Today, you must rest.
“Tomorrow, the real work – the conversion – begins.”
To make matters even worse for fans of the Cheryl/Toni ship, known as Choni, Cheryl’s mother Penelope – who forced her into the home – lied to Toni when she came to check on Cheryl, telling her that she had been sent to a boarding school in Switzerland.
As you might expect, the great majority of Riverdale fans were horrified by the prospect of Cheryl being trapped in a home which is giving her gay ‘cure’ therapy.
But the fandom was divided over whether the plotline was a positive or negative development.
Some said that Cheryl is simply being tortured by the show’s writers, having already been robbed of her brother, nearly raped, nearly killed off and deprived of pretty much any affection from her family.
One wrote: “I’m really disgusted and I’m not even joking.
“They are putting her through torture in conversion therapy and this show doesn’t know how to stop when it comes to Cheryl. It’s just trauma after trauma and she’s the writers’ punching bag to the point where it’s sadism”.
Another targeted the Riverdale writers, writing: “hey man I just wanna let you know that I’m NOT happy with the Cheryl conversion therapy storyline.
“If y’all don’t give choni a happy ending you’re gonna lose a riverdale fan. BE A BETTER EXAMPLE PLEASE.”
And one fan said that a straight character would never be subjected to these horrors.
They wrote: “yeah nah this isnt fair the most the straight couples go thru is s**t thats usually resolved by the end of the ep but ur gonna put cheryl through a conversion therapy storyline???”
But others were glad that the programme was shining a light on gay ‘cure’ therapy, which a recent study showed will be inflicted on 20,000 LGBT teens before they’re 18.
Researchers discovered that 698,000 LGBT adults aged 18-59 in the US have endured conversion therapy.
The hateful practice is only outlawed in nine states in the US, as well as Washington DC.
One fan wrote: “cheryl going through conversion therapy isn’t something of old nature, conversion therapy for the lgbtq+ still happens to this day and i think it’s great for riverdale to start convo on the situation”.
Another said: Conversion therapy is an extremely tough topic for so many people.
“But sadly, it happens in a lot of places, including America. #Riverdale has made a bold choice in including this in their show.
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“And yes Cheryl has been through a hell of a lot, but this will open up conversations”.
And one wrote: “anyway what’s GONNA happen is that the straights are finna get educated about conversion therapy and then cheryl and toni are gonna make out and cheryl will never ever be sad again”.