Remembering Naya Rivera: a tough talent and a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ representation

Remembering Naya Rivera: a tough talent and a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ representation

The ‘Glee’ star simply leaves behind a extremely effective legacy, and a generation of queer fans to who she provided hope

Today, the entire world recalls Naya Rivera. Most commonly known for her breakout part as Santana Lopez in Glee, the actress, singer and model passed away aged simply 33, at Lake Piru in Southern California.

Rivera was a hugely talented performer, whom brought joy along with her razor- razor- sharp feeling of humour to numerous things she did. Through the parody anti-yeast disease commercial that she filmed as an element of her part in Glee, to her turn as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Naya Rivera had been a force of comedy in specific. As well as people in the community that is LGBTQ+ numerous will even keep in mind Rivera as an ally into the truest feeling of the phrase, whom represented us on tv whenever few other programs had been prepared to get here.

Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez in ‘Glee’. Credit: Alamy

Santana Lopez’s on-screen love with other cheerleader Brittany had been genuinely groundbreaking – for several young adults growing up as Glee aired, Rivera played the very first lesbian character that they had ever seen on television, complete end. This is within the belated noughties, significantly less than 10 years following the ending of Section 28, which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in British schools. Gay wedding wasn’t yet that is legal. The ever that is first of a lesbian sex scene into the reputation for tv were held simply six years ahead of the first period of Glee, and based on Amber Benson (whom played Tara on Buffy The Vampire Slayer) having the community to also agree to a same-sex kiss previously ended up being “like pulling teeth”. This arrived at the same time when Buffy and Spike had been merrily shagging their method around secluded graveyards – there is a huge and disparity that is clear the way in which right and homosexual partners had been depicted when you look at the news.

Meanwhile, you might easily count the true amount of queer females featuring on main-stream television shows on one hand. In britain we’d Emily and Naomi from Skins, as well as in the usa, audiences had Ellen Degeneres, and Samantha Jones experimenting for two Intercourse together with City episodes utilizing the heavily stereotyped artist that is brazilian Diega Reyes.

Naya Rivera had been a way to obtain convenience for several queer fans of ‘Glee’. Credit: Getty

And where there is bigger media representation, it absolutely was usually restricted to more niche LGBTQ+ shows such as the L term, glucose Rush, and Lip provider – hugely important shows, however with a difference that is key we had to earnestly look for them down. These programs were additionally predominantly white. Queerness had been something which had been repressed and whispered about in the main-stream; once we saw ourselves reflected, it absolutely was usually belated at evening with all the amount refused, one finger anxiously poised on the television remote’s energy switch all the time. Glee, having said that, had on average 10.11 million watchers at its top in popularity. Besides attaining the queer those who perhaps required a character like Santana the absolute most, it reached their moms and dads, buddies, and grand-parents – all viewing the show close to them in the sofa. As a new gay kid who was simply scared shitless during the notion of ever developing, Rivera’s character provided me personally hope that is genuine.

And Santana – the hilarious expert in smarting one-liners and ponytail flicks that she is – was one of Glee’s most readily useful figures. Captain of McKinley High’s Cheerios, she is at once terrifying, and terrifically witty, snarling quips that are razor-sharp anybody whom dared to get a get a get a cross her. Lots of her most useful barbed remarks can nevertheless be recited from memory. “How could you execute a duet on your own? ” she asks Kurt at one rehearsal. “That’s like vocal masturbation”. Much like the groundbreaking film But I’m A Cheerleader, Rivera depicted a character that is lesbian from the typical tired stereotypes. Turn on the television now, and you’ll see countless other queer figures whom are indebted into the fundamentals she set down: Riverdale‘s Cheryl Blossom, to mention one character whom may well not occur without her.

The actor studied classics like Mean Girls for inspiration and brought comic timing to every line without a talent like Rivera, Santana might’ve just ended up being another bitchy TV cheerleader, but in this case. And behind her steely exterior, it constantly felt like Santana ended up being keeping part of by herself straight back – in season two, Rivera explored her kinder, more side that is vulnerable and behind the scenes, pressed for Santana’s relationship with Brittany to be taken more really. Initially, it had been conceived being a brief punchline.

“It began off since this funny small thing, like “oh yeah she simply arbitrarily shacks up along with her buddy Brittany, ” Rivera explained xhamsterlive com. “But I became sort of encouraging them making it more severe and never mess around along with it ‘cause you will find individuals nowadays so it’s perhaps not a tale to. It’s their genuine lives”. She comprehended that she could truly achieve something meaningful alternatively.

Leave a Reply