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Why Hasn’t TV’s "Lost" Found Any Gay Characters ? (buffy mention)

Eric Arvin

Friday 26 May 2006, by Webmaster

"We are everybody!"

With those lyrics, Charlie, as played by Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings) in ABC’s hit Lost, summed up one of the strengths of the enigmatic series: its diversity. The harried survivors of the Oceanic flight that fell apart over the ocean on its way to Los Angeles represent as diverse a group of people as seen on television.

Included in the massive character manifest are Jack, a white, wealthy doctor, Kate, a poor, abused, farm girl, Sayid, an Iraqi solider, Michael and Walt, an African-American father and son, a Korean couple, two Latinos, and an overweight young man. In other words, those stranded on that mysterious island represent a fairly accurate cross section of humanity-with one glaring exception. At the conclusion of the shows’ second season last night, Lost still hadn’t introduced a single gay or lesbian character.

Nearly fifty passengers survived the initial crash of Oceanic Flight 15. Add to that the "others" on the island and there exists as large a potential cast as ever seen on a single show. Out of that number there is bound to be at least one gay man or woman struggling to get back to civilization. Estimates vary, but the current scientific consensus has it that gays and lesbians make up somewhere between 3-7% of the population.

Why then is there not a single gay man or lesbian on Lost?

Why should it matter whether one of the survivors is gay or lesbian? Why must a character be defined by their sexuality? They shouldn’t be, of course, but just as Jack’s experiences as a doctor or Sawyer’s love life add interesting aspects to their characters, so too would the knowledge that a character was gay. Nor does mentioning the fact that a character is gay automatically mean discussing their sexuality.

But so what if there were a romantic same-sex encounter? Many of Lost’s characters have been shown having lovers and romantic trysts in their flashbacks, and there has been no balking about that. No one would call those storylines uncalled for or distracting to the overall plot. Why then are gay characters subjected to some different standard?

Ensemble dramas can and have thrived with the introduction of queer story lines and characters, and that would likely be the case with Lost.

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer had Willow (Alyson Hannigan) come out as a lesbian and even gave her a relationship with another woman. Buffy continued to thrive and Willow’s relationship with Tara (Amber Benson) became one of the most passionately followed storylines on the show. NYPD Blue had gay themes and characters that only added to the show’s drama.

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