Moffat has been homophobic in the past, still is, and torturing and potentially killing a lesbian character is nothing new, bury your gays trope is homophobic no matter how hard you try to excuse it. Also racist cause she's been the first black companion since 2008? And how many has there been? Sexism isn't the issues here, it's homophobia and racism
The issue raised by the post I saw had everything to do with sexism, “Steven Moffat’s desire to torture his female characters” was the wording used. That is specifically what I was responding to, because that claim is simply unfounded (as I…outline in my original post!). But if you want to discuss homophobia:
I want to clarify that I’m gay myself and so I’d like to think my response to homophobia in media is both personal and well tried and tested. With this in mind, I truly struggle to see evidence of homophobia in Steven Moffat’s work…
Jenny and Vastra’s love is warm, witty and completely celebrated by Doctor Who’s narrative.There’s nothing else to say regarding them, apart from perhaps the fact that they are both exceptionally interesting, lively characters with rich and engaging personalites. (There WAS an awful, awful, awful moment of sexual assualt in “The Crimson Horror” involving Jenny and Eleven, which I absolutely hate and condemn, but this was ultimately an ill-judged moment of improv from Catrin Stewart and Matt Smith, in a Mark Gatiss penned episode, in an era of the show that has been long since moved on from. It should have been cut, but it’s existence has very little to do with Steven Moffat).
Bill Potts is perhaps the sunniest, most refreshing, and most accuarte depiction of a young gay woman I’ve ever seen. Her sexuality is a beautiful, beautiful part of who she is, and this is something she both acknowledges, embraces (loudly among strangers, quietly among her family), and pokes fun at. That’s as vibrant and genial and natural a piece of Lesbian representation you can find. The way the show has depicted Bill’s sexuality has struck a huge chord with me personally, and it’s something I’m so happy millions of children and adults are also encouraged by. It’s also, yes, something that I, as a gay person, am tremendously thankful to Steven Moffat for.
As far as Steven Moffat’s character, I of course don’t know him, so can’t totally vouch for him, but if we take him by the things he has said about gay representation, its pretty wonderful, progressive stuff. If we take him by the things profressional colleagues have said about him, it’s pretty wonderful, progressive stuff. He’s a self described “Lefty”! And if you were to ask me for my personal opinion, (having been a huge fan of his for years and years I’d like to think I could make an accurate assessment), he strikes me as a man who has, particularly since c.2012, worked incredibly hard to listen, improve, instruct and educate himself on the many social issues which he now fully and fundamentally embraces and celebrates in his work. That includes LGBT represenetation, representation of people of colour, and representation of women.
You’re absolutely right, the ‘bury your gays’ trope is homophobic. But at the moment, Bill is not buried - she’s not dead! Suffering, hurting, yes. But alive and kicking, (and blinking and crying too…) That last shot wasn’t for nothing! It tells us that despite everything, underneath a morbid attempt at destruction, she is fighting, surviving. That should give us all a lot of hope. If by the end of next week, Bill ends up dead with her agency torn apart, I will be utterly surprised, but horrified and angry alongside everyone else. But that hasn’t happened yet.
I don’t think the race aspect is unarguable. Although Steven Moffat has said really lovely, (and self critical), things about the representation of people of colour on Doctor Who, there’s certainly something to be said about the fact that Bill is now the second black character to be converted into a cyberman in the show, (the third if we widen the scope to Torchwood, however I’m inclined not to, given this happened in a…well…dreadfully dated and sexist episode penned by Chris Chibnall under Russel T Davies’ showrunning in 2006), and there’s no getting away from the fact that that’s a very uncomfortable figure for the show to hold, however unintentional it is. Beyond that, there’s not much to be said until we see how the story, (bearing in mind we are less than halfway throgh this one given next week’s extended running time), progresses. There’s a very likely chance the events here will be subverted.
TLDR: Basically, I appreciate that people have concerns about how Bill’s story will end next week, but these concerns are driven by prominent misunderstandings of Steven Moffat’s character, and his writing, and until we see otherwise, I’m 100% inclined to put my trust in him, and to wait and see what happens. His track record in giving female characters agency and a triumphant ending following being ‘killed off’ in a finale cliffhanger is second-to-none:
- Amy killed off in ‘The Pandorica Opens’ only to end ‘The Big Bang’ happily married and travelling
- Amy commiting suicide along with Rory in ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’ only to end the episode determidly standing by her husband’s side, living a long and happy life with him in New York.
- Clara being killed off in ‘Face The Raven’ only to become a time travelling immortal by the end of ‘Hell Bent’
Given this, I’m genuinely confident that Bill’s story will, too, by it’s end, be triumphant.