7 things about teen LGBTQ+ relationships that “Heartstopper” reminded us about

Dating is never simple, especially if you’re an LGBT adolescent experiencing first-time romantic angst and thrills. Based on Alice Oseman’s graphic novel and webcomic, Netflix’s Heartstopper follows openly homosexual bookish Charlie (Joe Locke), secretly bisexual rugby-playing jock Nick (Kit Connor), and their group of friends as they navigate the high school ups and downs. The programme does a fantastic job of reminding queer folks who had the opportunity to date in their tens of the difficulties in managing adolescent LGBTQIA+ relationships.

Here are seven ways that HeartStopper portrays being young, queer, and in love realistically.

Liking the “straight” bench-mate

Our typical protagonist, Charlie, is a cute all-rounder and simple boy; he takes everything in life ‘as it is.’ When Charlie starts hanging out with Nick, the straight athlete, his friend Tao warns him to be careful, “He’s straight, Charlie. You only need to glance at him to know he’s a massive heterosexual”.

Heartstopper © Netflix

Charlie’s liking for Nick grows but he can’t deny that Nick is straight. This only makes him sad, which is an all to familiar experience for LGBTQ+ teens who often fall into the dilemma of longing for someone who can’t like them back, which makes the pain even more.

Attraction to the “problematic & manipulative” person

At the beginning of the series, Charlie was in a secret relationship with Ben. Well, not exactly a relationship, but a complicated attraction that led to Charlie being with Ben behind closed doors. Ben’s character is manipulative and who Charlie while hiding his queerness from his peers and girlfriend.

Ben has his own issues with not coming out, which leads Charlie to be trapped in a problematic relationship. As a queer person or teen, it can be confusing to speak up and build the confidence to confront the person or situation.

Looking for reasons to get physically closer to your crush
Heartstopper © Netflix

Whether brushing your hands while playing drums, getting closer in class or hugging for a little longer than usual, Nick and Charlie find reasons here and there to scoot closer to each other. Before getting into a relationship, it’s like a push and pull with your crush who may or may not like you.

You like being near them physically, but if you are too upfront with your actions, it can make others uncomfortable. And, being a teenager with entangled hormones doesn’t help with the awkwardness. 

Merging friend groups

In the beginning, it can be challenging to adjust to each friend group when you like someone. In the series, Nick and Charlie face a challenge with it. It is more challenging for Charlie, as Nick’s friends are outgoers who go out for drinks and parties, while Charlie’s friends are the opposite, they like to talk and spend time playing with friends in the arcade. His friends are open to others views and sexuality, whereas Nick’s friends aren’t.

Coming out can affect your relations with your colleagues and peers. Both the boys discover this when they out their relationship publically to people not aware of LGBTQIA+ or are homophobic.

Your crush might actually be interested in you

Coming out not only expands your potential, but changes the way you see the world and other people. You can find out that your childhood friend is someone you have a love interest in. Best friends Elle and Tao are an example of this, as they become closer during Season 1 of their relationship.

Tao is at first quite protective of Elle (who recently came out as trans), but then as he sees his buddy embrace her true self, he eventually realizes that his feelings are more mixed. It shows how coming out not only allows us to connect with our genuine selves — but also with those around us.

Coming out can be difficult

One of the best parts of the show was the relationship between girlfriends Tara and Darcy. The pair are like guiding lights for Nick and Charlie. Though both girlfriends faced a lot of disdainful comments and support when they came out, a few girls called them “dirty lesbians”, many of their friends and community were supportive of them. 

Coming out to everyone can be difficult and stimulating for a young queer couple. Even in 2022, many people don’t approve of same-sex relationships.

A happy ending exists after a thrill ride of experiences

Charlie and Nick embrace on the beach after declaring their status as “boyfriends,” which is a nice way for Season 1 to come to an end. In contrast to Charlie, who is at last confident that he is absolutely deserving of love, Nick has resolved to come out to his close friends and family.

Our two young men will face challenges in the future (It has been announced that a second season is coming), but for now, they can only unwind and be by each other fearlessly.It might be unjust and frightening for people of the LGBTQIA+ community in the world to embrace and love each other openly. But, we can learn from Charlie and Nick and other lovely characters that if you love and care for each other the heartstopping moment is everlasting.

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