One of the bigger regrets of my life is that I didn’t get into Doctor Who as early as I could have.
I started watching the first season at age eleven but stopped after a few episodes because I was traumatized by “the Empty Child” and I didn’t touch the show again until I was fifteen. And even then I skipped the first season. So you see, I still saw Doctor Who and I absolutely love that show but I missed something.
Eleven year old me thought she was straight. Fifteen year old me knew she was queer. Season one has a lot of Jack Harkness episodes.
I did not see any queer representation in child or youth media until I was about thirteen and read the Mortal Instruments. And while I love Magnus and Alec with all my heart and they will always be my first gay characters and my first ship, they were gay men (I know Magnus is pan, but take a wild guess what they could out of the audibook version of “Bones”, if you guessed their whole relatonship, you’re right). I can’t tell you for the life of me who my first bi/pan character was. I had to label myself without having a point of reference. It took me until this year to find Viktor from “The Antagonists”, the first and only character I ever found to label himself as pan.
So I dove into Torchwood. I binge read the Antagonists. I cried out of sheer happiness when Brendon Urie came out and I realized that we are being heard, that the term “Pansexual” is spreading.
Just imagine all the confusion and pain (not knowing who you are sucks) I could have saved myself if I had only seen something that represented me earlier. There was no queer representation in the media of my childhood (don’t come at me with Sesame Street or Harry Potter).
Shows like the first season of Doctor Who are important.
Kids need to see themselves. Give me gay and bi and pan TV kids show characters. Genderqueer characters. If kids are supposed to learn about the world through those shows, that includes learning who THEY are.
Derek Landy has my undying respect for realizing that there was no queer representation in the first nine Skulduggery books and then making Demon Road, Ressurection and Midnight really queer. The thought that there will be kids reading these books and loving them as much as I did AND getting their representation astounds me.
Retroactively saying “ahh yes but you see character x was gay all this time” or “well i tought of them as a gay couple” isn’t representation. Representation is writing queer characters and acknowledging they are gay within the medium.
I was lucky to grow up on some great children and young adult media. I had Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, Avatar (three cheers for Toph!) and Harry Potter and I love all of those. I just wouldn’t have hurt (and made my later life a lot easier) if I had seen people like me.