Binge-watchers of the third season of Netflix's "Stranger Things" went wild on social media over the inclusion of the show's first LGBT character.
According to Pink News, the show broke its heteronormative trend this year with the inclusion of the character Robin (Maya Hawke), whom the character Steve (Joe Keery) develops feelings for as the two work alongside each other at the mall ice cream parlor throughout the summer.
"After realising he has a crush on his ice cream parlor colleague," reports Pink News, "[Steve] tells new character Robin (Maya Hawke) that he likes her. The scene cleverly defies genre expectation, as it sees Steve list all the things he admires about her and seemingly set up the oh-too-familiar storyline of the 'cool guy' falling for – and ending up with – the 'quirky misfit.' But instead, Robin’s face suggests she’s not into him in the way we’ve come to believe."
"When Steve asks her what she thinks of his confession, Robin explains that she wasn’t acting 'jealous and obsessed' because she had a crush on him in high school; she was envious of him because the girl she liked couldn’t stop staring at him in class," the report said of the big reveal.
People who watched all eight episodes of the new season could not get enough of Robin and publicly expressed their enthusiasm on social media, with some calling it a "win for the gays."
"I’m genuinely so happy stranger things gave us this lesbian icon," one Twitter user wrote. "Robin is beautiful, smart, funny, one of the coolest characters and she’s a lesbian. It’s a win for the gays."
Not only that, people also appreciated Steve's total support for Robin coming out to him as a lesbian.
"When Steve admitted his feelings for Robin, only to find out that she likes girls and he becomes 100% supportive of her after she comes out to him ...," said another user.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Maya Hawke said she felt "honored" to play the show's first LGBT character. "She gets less sarcastic and more vulnerable and more herself, until finally, in the end, she has no choice but to be her complete self," she said. “I think that to have that scene [set] in the ’80s, and to have that scene on TV in general, I feel really honored to have got to be a part it, and I’m really grateful that the Duffer Brothers wrote it."
The hit Netflix show has not actually faced much criticism from the LGBT community in the past for not including more characters of different sexual persuasions. As season 2 premiered in 2017, The Advocate actually praised the show for its depictions of homophobia and even said that the principal characters were all "queer in some fashion."
"All of the young protagonists are queer in some fashion, because they are outsiders who defy heteronormativity," said Daniel Reynolds of The Advocate. "Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) is a loner and a photographer. Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) are harassed for their love of A.V. Club and fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons. And Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is the clearest allegory of a queer character. A gender-nonconforming child with supernatural abilities, she escapes a government institution and endures homelessness before discovering a found family with these other young folks. Her journey has resonated with many LGBT viewers."