The 15 Stupidest Ways Queer Women Died on TV

My wife and I recently celebrated eleven years of knowing each other, a serendipitous event that happened because I recapped Skins for a different website and she read those recaps and tweeted me a video of Paula Deen getting hit in the face with a ham to get my attention. It worked! Anyway, we were both way into Skins fandom, and we always think back to it whenever an anniversary comes around — and then our sweet nostalgia turns to rage when we remember Skins Fire, the post-Skins mini-series that resurrected Naomi and Emily from their happy ending to commit a hackneyed lesbian murder via Dana Fairbanks-style RapidCancer.

It remains one of the stupidest TV deaths I have ever seen, and as a queer TV critic for over a decade, I have seen a LOT of stupid queer deaths. Here are 15 of the stupidest. Please weigh in with the rage you’re still holding onto in the comments!


Jenny Schecter, The L Word

Jenny Schecter, The L Word

Imagine getting murdered because your showrunner wanted to turn your primetime scissoring soap into a murder mystery as a backdoor pilot to send the most cartoony character to jail to headline a prison show.

Kate, Last Tango in Halifax

Kate, Last Tango in Halifax

The only reason to run over someone with a car on TV is because you’re murdering them to advance the plots of other characters. In comic books, we call that “fridging.”

Tara Maclay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Tara Maclay, Buffy the Vampire Slater

You’re gonna kill one of the only lesbians on primetime network TV with a stray bullet that literally, physically could not have struck her, and exactly the moment she reconciled with one of the show’s main and most beloved characters? This one also kicked off TV’s obsession with burying gays. Thanks, Joss!

Sarah Barnes, Hollyoaks

Sarah Barnes, Hollyoaks 

Her parachute was meddled with by a jealous frenemy. First skydiving death in British soap history! An honor!

Bill Potts, Doctor Who

Bill Potts, Doctor Who

The first lesbian to be a televised companion, the second Black companion — transformed into Mondasian Cyberman, then shot through the literal heart. And no, knowing she got a happy after life does not soften it!

Silvia Castro León, Los Hombres de Paco

Silvia Castro León, Los Hombres de Paco

Gunned down on her wedding day, she bled out in her new wife’s arms, turning their white wedding dresses red.

Maya St. Germain, Pretty Little Liars

Maya St. Germain, Pretty Little Liars

Maya’s super hippie parents supposedly sent her to some kind of Christian drug camp when they found out she had weed, and there she was murdered by her fake cousin who was later stabbed atop a lighthouse by Emily Fields. Something Bianca Lawson found out from some other actor at a whole different audition.

Susan, Seinfeld

Susan, Seinfeld

She died by getting poisoned by the glue on the envelopes of her own wedding invitations.

Naomi Campbell, Skins

Naomi Campbell, Skins

Naomi and Emily lived happily ever after, joining a very small handful of queer characters at the time. (Or at any time?) Well, and then they were brought back, years later, for a two-part mini-series just to have Naomi die of cancer. One of the cruelest things I have ever seen on TV, to this day.

Tamsin, Lost Girl

Tamsin, Lost Girl

Died IN THE FINALE giving birth to Hades’ baby, which she conceived when Hades pretended to be his own daughter, Bo, and Tamsin had sex with him. The baby was conceived and born in the span of about 72 hours.

Kira, The Magicians

Kira, The Magicians

A Black lesbian disabled guest character who was mercy-killed by Julia to further Julia’s own storyline.

Peach Salinger, Hashtag You on Lifetime/Netflix 

Peach Salinger, You

Outsmarted by Dan Humphrey, the greatest insult of all time.

Lexa, The 100

Lexa, The 100

This will go down in history as the historical Bury Your Gays divide, like the BC/AD chasm of TV history.

Mimi and Camilla, Empire

Mimi and Camilla, Empire

Okay, imagine you’re the most famous lesbian showrunner on earth, Ilene Chaiken, and imagine every decision you’ve ever made to kill lesbian characters has been universally panned. Would your next move be to take over showrunning a whole other show, and bring on two lesbian characters, just to murder them? Surely not. SURELY not! Camilla poisoned Mimi and then Camilla was forced to drink her own poison at gunpoint. Sure, sure, sure.

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And support from readers like you keeps the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers do not support. Autostraddle is fundraising right now to keep our site funded through January 2022. Will you join our community of readers in helping to keep us around?

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1218 articles for us.

31 Comments

    • I still rage tweet Emily Andras every now and then to remind her I’m not going to ever forgive her for Tamsin. Never. Forgive. Her.

      Never.

      My wife and I watched Lexa’s death live and it (for me) was like watching Tara get murdered all over again. We, like the rest of you, were riding high from that amazing scene prior to her death and after The Incident, literally turned off the 1oo and never turned it back on.

      My wife was so pissed. It was her first Bury Your Gays (Surprise we killed the lesbian, for fun! Edition) and she still, to this day, is angry because “Clarke is a DOCTOR. She has healed EVERYONE ELSE from STUPID WOUNDS, she brought Lincoln BACK TO LIFE and she can’t save Lexa. Okay sure. SURE.”

      Anyway, Tara, Tamsin, and Lexa live on in fanfiction like God intended and I refuse to acknowledge their deaths.

      Also, I only watched the Naomily Supercuts on YouTube, but I still think that was a stupid and pointless death that I will never be over, ever.

      And I know she wasn’t on this list, but Ilene Chaiken has to know it’s on on sight because of Dana Fairbanks. On sight. That goes for Joss too. For Tara, obviously, but also because of Cordy.

      Look, this comment is getting away from me, but showrunners need to check themselves because I am 5, 2″, redheaded, and full of lesbian rage.

  1. Great list, and by great, I of course mean terrible LOL. Facepalms and cringe all the way….a few of my personal “favorites” include:

    Cristina from Tierra de Lobos – death by hitting-her-head-on-a-dresser after being shoved by her lover’s husband…
    Cat McKenzie from Lip Service – death by car crash as she distractedly crossed the street…
    Charlie from Supernatural – inexplicably murdered and disposed of in a bathtub…

  2. Um, while this is a Cavalcade of Stupid, THE Stupidest—the Stupid By Which ALL Other Stupid Must Inevitably Be Judged—happened *Twenty Fucking Years Ago* next week : the Death (“and this time we mean it, you’re STAYING dead”) of Xena Warrior Princess. {insert rage emojis}

    I can’t watch “Friend in Need, Part Two” without physically trying to reach into my TV, and dump Xena’s mofo ashes, into the mofo Waters of Life. [We KNOW Renee’ was stronger—just break Lucy’s grip and Dump Away, ROC!]

    Announcing right now: I’m going to be a mess next week [I still have a toy sword, which I took to an XWP Finale Watch Party, 6/17/01, and had people sign (includes several well-known fanfic bards!). Damn if that didn’t turn into the saddest wake (for a fictional character) ever… ]

    • How is the word “stupid” ableist? I was under the impression that the word evolved from some form of “stupefied.” I’m sorry but I really don’t think this article is throwing disabled people under the bus…that’s almost implying that “stupid” is interchangeable with “disabled.” I guess I’m confused and would love to be enlightened. What word/words would you use instead?

    • Came here to say this, thank you.
      Heather, some variation of “ridiculous” or “unbelievable” or “infuriating” would be a better choice here.

      -accidentally replied to someone else, whoops. frickin mobile

  3. Ultra important question: WHO DID ILENE CHAIKEN WANT TO SEND TO PRISON TO HEADLINE A SHOW???? And how have I lived this long without knowing why Jenny was killed???

    Really hope someone can tell me. This tantalizing info is now killing me. 💜

  4. Nooooo I’m a big Naomily fan but had never watched the miniseries so I was blssfully unaware of Naomi’s very very stupid death… until I saw the cover image for this post… then read the post… I’m still in denial.

  5. What if a woman bored from her busy marriage life. What she will do if she is not satisfied due to lack of sex and romance in her life. Will she adopt her ex for sex or encounter with strangers or compromise with the situation. Will she enjoy her sex life or not.

  6. what you said about jenny is exactly right. she didn’t commit suicide. she was murdered and that line about her committing suicide in the new show is total crap so they don’t have to deal with finding whoever killed her

  7. Stupid deaths, stupid deaths, they’re funny coz they’re true
    Stupid deaths stupid deaths, hope next time it’s not you!

    I like to think that Death from Horrible Histories has a special where he does fictional gays.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!