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Aug 13th 2017 at 9:08:19 PM

This entry regards a page that was locked (since unlocked) over debate if a character qualified.

From Square Peg, Round Trope:

  • Bury Your Gays is supposed to refer to a narrative punishing a character for being gay, in a form anvil-dropping used by homophobic fiction. However many examples instead simply refer to any gay character getting killed or injured, regardless of whether it has anything to do with their sexuality or how the story portrays it.

However, there is nothing on Main.Bury Your Gays to suggest such restrictions. Homosexual characters dying in ways not connected to their sexuality sounds like People Sit on Chairs, and no different than Character Death.

How many examples fit the strict criteria under Square Peg, Round Trope? Or even have to do with their sexuality?

Out of 50 examples, 0 of them fit the Peg definition. The only works that I can think would fit would be so dated/fringe that it would probably be better off as an example-less page/trope, if not Flame Bait. However, I see no evidence the Peg example was approved by anyone and not added unilaterally. So the Peg itself may be a misuse.

Peg aside, the only examples that I can comfortably say involve this trope are those that deal with in-universe homophobia. Maybe it could be reworked around that.

edited 14th Aug '17 12:56:34 AM by Ferot_Dreadnaught

SeptimusHeap from Southern Italy Relationship Status: Mu
whizzerd Don't eat humans, okay? from Scotland Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Don't eat humans, okay?
Aug 14th 2017 at 5:18:31 AM

This trope is about LGBT characters having a disproportionately high mortality/"sad ending" rate in comparison to straight characters from the same work. Whether said LGBT characters are portrayed as "deserving" unhappiness has never, to my knowledge, been a requirement for the trope. In fact, as the page notes, one way this trope can materialise is killing off gay characters because they're Too Good for This Sinful Earth.

From the Bury Your Gays page:

Additionally, the problem isn't merely that gay characters are killed off: the problem is the tendency that gay characters are killed off in a story full of mostly straight characters, or when the characters are killed off because they are gay.

From its laconic and Playing With:

Gay characters are killed off disproportionately often.

Gay characters either die in the course of a story or end up miserable, while straight characters get happy endings.

And one more from Wikipedia:

"Bury your gays" or, more specifically, "dead lesbian syndrome", describes the trope in fiction that requires that gay or lesbian characters die or meet another unhappy ending, such as becoming insane. According to Autostraddle, which examined 1,779 scripted U.S. TV series from 1976 to 2016, 193 (11%) of them featured lesbian or bisexual female characters, and among these, 35% saw lesbian or bisexual characters dead, but only 16% provided a happy ending for them. Similarly, among all lesbian or bisexual characters in no longer airing series, 31% ended up dead, and only 10% received a happy ending. Such statistics led Variety to conclude in 2016 that "the trope is alive and well on TV, and fictional lesbian and bisexual women in particular have a very small chance of leading long and productive lives."

I don't think that a character's death has to be intrinsically tied to their sexuality in order to qualify for this trope. If a show has six characters, and the sole gay character among them dies tragically in a car crash while the rest survive and/or have happy endings, then it would qualify.

Examples that I do think would be misuse:

  • A gay character dies/suffers in a work that has multiple other gay characters that survive and/or have happy endings.
  • A gay character dies/suffers in a work where very, very few characters survive or have a happy ending (though as the Playing With notes, this trope can still come into play in Anyone Can Die works if the deaths of gay characters are more excessively graphic or tragic, or if they die in a notably higher frequency compared to their straight peers).

"Forgive me, regent of queer amphibians" - Lt.BGob // goes by they/them, not he/him or she/her
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Aug 14th 2017 at 9:34:16 AM

[up]I pretty much agree with that. An example should be able to point out why the character being gay has to do with the character not getting a happy ending. If there are things pointing away from it, such as very few characters having happy endings or other gay characters having happy endings, then the trope isn't in use.

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Aug 14th 2017 at 11:29:22 AM

[up][up] Question about the statistics from Wikipedia:

The Wikipedia article shows that it's a valid concept worth keeping in some form. But if each entry requires a mathematical calculation to determine if the LGBT death toll is above average (this wiki would need to determine an average, possible exceptions for works with high death tolls and disproportionally LGBT casts), if large numbers of faceless, identity-less casualties or characters without known or clear orientation count to that...

It just seems easier that we leave Bury Your Gays an example-less trope, since it having a Wikipedia article show it's a widely recognized concept, but like, it breaks down when we try to identify specific examples. The only unambiguous examples I see are those that deal with in-universe homophobia, which I think should be moved to it's own trope "Homophobic Hatred".

It seems like Magnum Opus, it's definitely a thing, but there's so much room for debate over what is or isn't an example that it needs a limitation (in this case, In Universe Examples Only) to keep it objective enough to trope. Any ideas to make Bury Your Gays more objective?

Aug 14th 2017 at 11:37:23 AM

Also looking at the wicks, there are a lot that are just in the 'can die' territory in games and such where it up to the player's choices and ability to help or hurt them. I would say that is misuse as well.

Aug 14th 2017 at 12:36:03 PM

I'd actually toss that into the pile of "nearly everyone dies or gets a sad ending," actually. If you can choose to murder or spare everyone you meet and one of those people is gay, then it's not an example. But if the straight characters are all choices between helping them/imprisoning them and the gay characters are all choices between helping them/murdering them, then it's still an example.

Basically, imagine that all choices are canon, then work out the statistics of that.

Aug 16th 2017 at 10:52:35 AM

[up]So for multiple story outcomes, this trope is in effect if a disproportionate amount of them are the "nearly everyone dies or gets a sad ending" kind. Yes?

This brings me to my question, precisely how "disproportionate" does it have to be to qualify as this trope? Twice as much? 20%? Would each entry actually requires someone do the math?

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Aug 16th 2017 at 12:02:19 PM

I'd say at least roughly a 50% difference in bad endings. So nearly everyone of the gay characters if half of the straight characters get bad endings, and half of them if nearly all of the straight characters get good endings. I'd also add a caveat that it has to be more than that if there are few enough characters. If one character is enough to break the pattern, it's probably a coincidence if there's not more evidence.

edited 16th Aug '17 12:04:15 PM by AnotherDuck

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Aug 17th 2017 at 9:06:30 PM

So would the Mass Effect: Andromeda example not count since they are the only major gay character to die (in a manner irrelevant to their sexuality) in a work where lots of characters have died by that point? Do we actually need someone to do the math?

Do all examples require someone do and/or show the math?

Also, this recent addition to Unfortunate Implications:

  • Atomic Blonde picked up a significant LGBTFanbase before it was even out thanks to the promises of the main character being bisexual and her primary love interest being a woman. Many of them [[ were disappointed to discover]] that [[spoiler:the love interest character is [[BuryYourGays brutally murdered by the villain]] toward the end, in a case of StuffedIntoTheFridge without a hint of irony]].

I can see why people would be upset, but is it example under the abnormally high death statistic we are discussing?

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Aug 18th 2017 at 3:24:06 AM

If it's just one character, not the only one dying, and no comment on it, then yeah, not an example.

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whizzerd Don't eat humans, okay? from Scotland Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Don't eat humans, okay?
Aug 18th 2017 at 4:49:28 AM

How does the % of LGBT characters who "die or meet another unhappy ending" compare to the average? The average for straight characters?

The average for straight characters is a hell of a lot harder to calculate given that there's thousands upon thousands of them. That said, according to the original infographic, only 12 of the 68 shows that killed a lesbian/bisexual women also killed off a male character of equal narrative importance.

if large numbers of faceless, identity-less casualties [...] count to that...

They shouldn't. The narrative importance of the characters should be taken into consideration. If Bob, Charlie, and Alice are the only gay characters in a work, and all die or end up unhappy, then does it matter that the same work also killed off four or five nameless mooks that might or might not have been straight?

I can see why people would be upset, but is it example under the abnormally high death statistic we are discussing?

A thing to remember is that works typically have far less LGBT characters than they do straight characters. If Atomic Blonde only has two LGBT characters, and one of them is brutally murdered in order to make the other one angst, then I (and many other people, going by that link) would consider it an example of the trope unless the surviving woman gets an unambiguously happy ending.

Yes, "one gay character dies in this work" doesn't seem like much. But when they're the only gay character in said work, or one out of two, then it's a lot more eyebrow-raising. That's already 100% or 50% of the show's LGBT cast.

"Forgive me, regent of queer amphibians" - Lt.BGob // goes by they/them, not he/him or she/her
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Aug 18th 2017 at 6:25:31 AM

I agree that mooks don't really count. They're very rarely proper characters, and more plot devices in human form. I would also be very hesitant to count characters of unknown sexuality. That often means they don't have much characterisation at all.

If the only gay characters are a couple, one of them dies and the other grieves over it, then there are two gay characters with sad endings. One death doesn't affect just the dying character.

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Sep 11th 2017 at 5:22:41 PM

Updating since this thread has stalled.

[up][up][up][up] The Atomic Blond has convinced me that their are legitimate examples of this trope, where LGBT characters have disproportionately high morality rates. The Mass Effect: Andromeda is the only example I can confidently say is a misuse.

Here's my proposal: replace the Square Peg, Round Trope entry (which was unapproved the cause of this debate) with one saying this trope only applies to works with a disproportionate amount of LGBT fatalities (and those effected) and remove misuses on a case by case basis. Also I think this trope should be removed from Character pages since this trope applies to the work as a whole and not individuals (like the death of any single individual can't count as a Kill 'Em All).

Also the following:

Since this discussion argues that this trope applies to those effected by said deaths, the 50% mortality rate is a solid example, but if Yamagi is not an example (what this article argues), the 25% is around the arbitrary 20% I'd say is the cutoff point. So do LGBT characters effected by the deaths of others qualify if they overcome it and get a happy ending?

Sep 11th 2017 at 5:28:24 PM

Iron Blooded Orphans is easily a non-example, almost all the good guys die including The protagonist in S2. The bad guys are the ones to survive..

Sep 12th 2017 at 12:23:37 AM

[up] So any works with a high death toll for major characters are exempt. That's something to to keep in mind.

Any thoughts/objections to my proposal to replace the Square Peg, Round Trope entry and removing Bury Your Gays from Character pages.

Sep 12th 2017 at 12:40:54 AM

This trope is specifically when gays are singled out to die, if it is indiscriminate in its (possible) body count it is just not an example.

None of the Gundam series are an example. There is way too much Kill 'Em All in the majority of the series and the others its all heavy HEAVY Shipping Goggles on if they are gay.

edited 12th Sep '17 12:44:07 AM by Memers

Oct 1st 2017 at 4:15:33 PM


Any objections with replacing the Square Peg, Round Trope entry (the cause of this debate) with the following

  • Bury Your Gays is oft used for any time an LGBT character dies, when is supposed to refer to their being singled out to die due to their sexuality. If a work has high death tolls or many LGBT characters that don't die, this trope is not in effect.

DustSnitch Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Oct 2nd 2017 at 2:48:39 PM

That sounds a lot more coherent. With that definition, examples like the following aren't kosher, right?

  • The Divine Comedy
    • Homosexuals and usurers get the same level in Hell. note  By placing both homosexuals and usurers in the circle of the violent, and in a setting that so strongly symbolizes sterility (the burning desert), Dante establishes each sin as the opposite of the other: the homosexuals make sterile that which should be fertile (their sexuality — according to medieval theology, all sex should have procreation as its final purpose), while usurers make fertile that which should be sterile (wealth should be generated by nature or art, not by interest accumulated by existing wealth.)
    • Dante sees his mentor in the burning desert, but the reason he's there is ambiguous. note  Also, that part took place in the middle of Inferno, which has a special place in the other books as well. Thirdly, he depicts homosexuals as constantly running from being burned, which might be symbolic for how gay people had to run from being marked during their lives (more likely it has to do with the rain of fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah). note 

The damned do not suffer torments, but live forever without the hope or light of Nicolas Cage.
Oct 2nd 2017 at 3:16:00 PM

[up]I'd say that's not this trope since this is about their dying, the afterlife is a separate concept.

Also: adding revise def.

edited 2nd Oct '17 3:17:22 PM by Ferot_Dreadnaught

Oct 19th 2017 at 8:17:18 PM

It looks like interest in this thread has dried up. We've fixed the Square Peg, Round Trope entry that was causing confusion and created president for removing misuses.

I say we can wrap this thread up and fix misuses on a case by case basis from here on out. Any objections to closing this thread?

Oct 30th 2017 at 3:30:28 PM

Recently added:

In an Anyone Can Die setting, this trope can still manifest itself, either by having the gay character die first, having the gay character die shortly after they have come out the closet or otherwise have fully accepted own their sexuality, or having the gay character die in an especially gruesome and/or excessive manner. See also Black Dude Dies First and Death by Sex.

I don't see any signs this was approved. Any problems with it?

edited 30th Oct '17 3:31:26 PM by Ferot_Dreadnaught

PistolsAtDawn Villain Protagonist
Villain Protagonist
Oct 31st 2017 at 8:16:13 PM

^ No, I agree with that, i say keep it. In many cases i think its seen as completing their story arc- they've accepted their sexuality, they're out, now their loose end is wrapped up and we can kill off the character.

edited 31st Oct '17 8:16:27 PM by PistolsAtDawn

Oct 31st 2017 at 10:29:56 PM

I dont agree with it like at all. There is no pattern for it, if there is then make a different trope out of it it does not belong here.

This is an aggregate trope and there is nothing to aggregate with that.

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Nov 1st 2017 at 12:04:46 AM

[up][up]If it's because they finished their character arc, then it's a different trope, because it's not specifically about them being gay.

[up][up][up]The main problem I have with it is that if it's an Anyone Can Die setting, there needs to be several gay characters dying in a significantly higher proportion (as we discussed earlier) than straight characters. As such, writing "the gay character" in singular is misleading.

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