Stranger Things finally introduced an LGBT character
*This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things 3*
For two whole seasons, it appeared as if only straight characters existed in the 1980s-set world of Stranger Things. But now, the Netflix show’s third series – which premiered on Thursday 4 July – has finally introduced an LGBTQ+ character to Hawkins and fans can hardly contain their enthusiasm online.
While it still boasts plenty of monsters and mystery, romance plays a big part in the new episodes, what with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) navigating their new relationship, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) embarking on an internship together and the tensions between Joyce (Winona Ryder) and police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) ever-escalating.
Heck, even Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) bagged himself a girlfriend while living it up at science camp over the summer… But things in that department don’t work out quite so well for fan-favourite Steve (Joe Keery), who – after realising he has a crush on his ice cream parlour colleague – tells new character Robin (Maya Hawke) that he likes her.
“It’s a win for the gays”
The scene cleverly defies genre expectation, as it sees Steve list all the things he admires about her and seemingly set up the oh-too-familiar storyline of the “cool guy” falling for – and ending up with – the “quirky misfit.” But instead, Robin’s face suggests she’s not into him in the way we’ve come to believe.
When Steve asks her what she thinks of his confession, Robin explains that she wasn’t acting “jealous and obsessed” because she had a crush on him in high school; she was envious of him because the girl she liked couldn’t stop staring at him in class.
As viewers watched the penultimate episode, they took to social media to share their excitement over the reveal, as well as praising Steve’s reaction to the rejection.
“I’m genuinely so happy stranger things gave us this lesbian icon,” one Twitter user wrote. “Robin is beautiful, smart, funny, one of the coolest characters and she’s a lesbian. it’s a win for the gays.”
Another said: “When steve admitted his feelings for robin only to find out that she likes girls and he becomes 100% supportive of her after she comes out to him idk a better man.”
A third wrote: “Stranger things having an official gay character makes me so happy finally some good f**king representation! and the way she just came out to steve like that thinking he won’t be her friend anymore and he’s just like ma’am your taste in girls is S**T,,everything i ever wanted.”
— fernanda [was sithposie] (@hbicrobin) July 4, 2019
Steve Season 1: *calls Jonathan a Queer in a derogatory way*
— Angy ✌? (@Angy__Fa1) July 5, 2019
— livi (@elvnhopp) July 4, 2019
“But Tammy Thompson’s a girl”
— Alyssa✨ st spoilers (@musicxlgay) July 4, 2019
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hawke explained how “grateful” she was to be a part of portraying a queer character in the show.
“She gets less sarcastic and more vulnerable and more herself, until finally, in the end, she has no choice but to be her complete self” she said. “I think that to have that scene [set] in the ’80s, and to have that scene on TV in general, I feel really honored to have got to be a part it, and I’m really grateful that the Duffer Brothers wrote it.”
Is Will Byers gay in Stranger Things?
Elsewhere, fans have also started speculating that Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) might be queer after Mike says to him, “It’s not our fault you don’t like girls.” The line is said during an argument, as they squabble over Mike wanting to be spend less time playing Dungeons and Dragons with his buddies and more time with Eleven,
“Will Byers really captures the gay teen experience,” one Twitter user claims. “I was exactly as shut off and dejected in school when my friends started talking incessantly about boys and I didn’t even have the added trauma of having been taken to the brink of death by monsters.”
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Now, there’s every possibility that Mike just meant that Will isn’t into girls yet but with Robin’s big reveal establishing a more diverse Hawkins, who knows what’s in store for season four?
Stranger Things 3 is streaming on Netflix.