‘The Walking Dead’ Has a LGBT Relationship Problem

Lawrence Yee
TV The Walking Dead
TV The Walking Dead

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from Season 8 of The Walking Dead. Proceed with caution.

Death is an inevitability in the world of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

The living are under the constant threat of walkers, a lack of resources, and other survivors vying — and fighting for — limited food, medicine, and guns.

The current season of The Walking Dead features an all-out war between Rick Grimes’ group and Negan’s Saviors. Just three episodes in, both sides have faced massive casualties.

Last week, Eric, the boyfriend of Aaron, succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained in a shoot-out with the Saviors. The two lovers had a touching goodbye as Aaron left Eric by a tree, promising to return after he finished his mission. It’s not the fact that Eric died that’s upsetting; as mentioned above, death is an inevitability. It’s how he died.

Eric died off camera away from his partner. In fact, EVERY gay and lesbian character on the show who has died has been away from their partner, dating all the way back to Season 4.

A Troubling Trend

denise cloyd the walking dead
Denise was the SECOND of Tara's girlfriends to be murdered.

Alisha took a bullet to the head while storming the prison while her then-girlfriend Tara refused to fight.

Then Denise, Alexandria’s doctor and another of Tara’s girlfriends, also died from a headshot during a supply run with Daryl and Rosita. Ironically, she was delivering a gift to Tara — a can of orange soda.

Tara never had a chance to say goodbye to either Alisha or Denise, only learning of their deaths after — just like Aaron.

Meanwhile, other characters in committed relationships that were killed in the last few seasons — Glenn (married to Maggie), Abraham (dating Sasha/Rosita), Jessie (dating Rick), and Reg (married to Deanna) — all died by their respective partners’ sides.

Sure, seeing one’s partner get bashed, devoured, or sliced is traumatic. But at least they’re together at the end. There’s no ambiguity about the dead’s fate.

Not so for Tara and Aaron, who were separated from their partners when they died, only to learn of their deaths hours later (or in the case of Denise, days). These LGBT relationships lack the closure — no matter how traumatic — that the heterosexual relationships do. And in many ways, that lack of closure is even more traumatic.

Fans React

Fans took to Twitter to express their dismay over Eric’s passing. While not with the same fervor of the #buryyourgays trope, this latest death is the third of three gay couples to end violently — and apart.

What do you think about how The Walking Dead is treating LGBT relationships?

Lawrence Yee
Lawrence is Editor in Chief of FANDOM. He grew up loving X-Men, Transformers, and Japanese-style role playing games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. First-person shooters make him incredibly nauseous.
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