Heartstopper: The Queer Representation We Need!
Updated: Sep 1
Trigger Warning: Mentions of OCD, Eating Disorders and Self Harm.
If you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or even the reading community you’ve probably heard about the book series Heartstopper by Alice Oseman. The books started off as a webcomic that resonated with queer teens around the world and has now even become a popular Netflix show. This series includes all kinds of representation that most queer people cannot find elsewhere. The characters all come from different backgrounds, have different races, genders and sexualities that different people can relate to and find a sense of comfort in.
I think that people in the LGBTQ+ community do not get enough representation in the media, and when they do, it often portrays them in a negative or darker way. This can have a very damaging effect on young queer people, making feel as if they are abnormal or broken. It can also make them feel alone as they don’t see other people going through the same experiences as them. Reading the books and watching the show gave me a sense of community and pride and it is how every LGBTQ+ person deserves to feel.
This book said things that needed to be said about mental health, it shows exactly how hard it is to bring up the topic of mental health to parents or guardians, how other people can affect your mental health without you even realising. The third and fourth books follow Charlie’s (one of the main characters) struggle with his mental health, his eating disorder and self harm. It also briefly discusses his stay at a psychiatric hospital and his OCD and how this affects his relationship with his boyfriend (Nick Nelson). Charlie talks about how eating disorders are seen as a ‘girl thing’ and that boys can have eating disorders too, something that is very rarely spoken about in the media. The books also touch on the subject of homophobia and bullying, things that any person who is part of this community can relate to. It makes people feel less alone in relation to what they are going through.
In conclusion, these books are making a lasting impact on the queer community and probably even saved some lives. I recommend this series to anyone who has ever felt like they are ‘not normal’ because of who they love and what they identify as. I really hope everyone can find the same level of comfort in this series as I have. Alice Oseman is without a doubt the best writer of our generation for creating this world and letting all of us be a part of it.