Emily, you’re not signing a contract.
You were Emily dating Ben and now
you’re Emily dating Maya. We love Emily.
No one cares who you’re with.
— Hanna Marin, “Pretty Little Liars” episode 1.07
When I first heard that Emily is going to hook-up with Maya’s male cousin on this season of “Pretty Little Liars,” it felt like getting kicked in the gut. Not because I couldn’t stomach the thought of Emily with a dude, but because I couldn’t stomach the thought of living through another fistfight in which AfterEllen readers beat the shit out of each other and me and Marlene King and poor Shay Mitchell (who has only ever stood before the young women who watch her show with an open heart and open hands in an act of purposeful generosity unlike anything I have ever seen from an actor her age). Nothing makes lesbians want to burn down their own house like: a) a gay lady TV character getting killed, or b) a gay lady TV character developing feelings for a man. And with the death of Maya St. Germain and the genesis of Nathan St. Germain, “Pretty Little Liars” was planning to hit up both of those tropes in an unapologetic back-to-back KAPOW!
I understand the frustration. I really, really do. Those storylines tap into decades-old screenwriter-inflicted wounds and annoying cultural stereotypes, like how lesbians just haven’t found the right man yet. But the problem I always get myself into is that my empathy doesn’t manifest itself as action. I fully get why some people are outraged, but I’m not outraged. And because my voice is a little bit louder than the average lesbian fan’s, my lack of indignation and my unwillingness to take up the banner of grievance, makes a lot of AfterEllen readers want to burn me to the ground too.
See, the thing is: This kind of story is fascinating to me because I’ve lived it.
Ian Harding wanted an Ezbian Loves Lesbians t-shirt. And you can have one too, if you want.
Buy it here. If the shirt makes a buck, I’ll give all the bucks to The Trevor Project.