Why Buffy Slayed as a Gay Icon

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” -Buffy Summers

Buffy 20 Years of Slaying
Image Credit: FOX

 

This week marks the 20th Anniversary of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” premiere episode. And while many of us have moved on from our high-school days, it would be unfair to look back at our formative years and not pay our respects to the high-kicking, blonde bombshell who was immortalized by Sarah Michelle Gellar.

For gay men and lesbians alike, Buffy Summers' struggles of feeling isolated and "abnormal" served as the perfect metaphor for growing up gay. Battling (internal) demons, hiding a "secret" from family and friends, coming out of the closet, dying … twice. OK, maybe not that last one. But there's no denying that watching Buffy navigate the hellish halls of Sunnydale High with the help of her tightly knit gang of misfits was simultaneously cathartic and empowering.

Buffy herself was not a lesbian. Nor were there any explicitly gay characters on the show until midway through season two. The first appearance occurred in the episode "Phases" when the souped-up jock, Larry, mistakenly crosses wires with an undercover Xander in the locker room. However, things get decidedly "gayer" when the Scooby Gang's resident Wiccan, Willow, meets Tara in season four's Emmy-nominated episode "Hush." Flash back to 20 years ago, when same-sex partnerships (let alone positive representations of said partnerships) were practically unheard of on TV, and you will quickly come to realize that "Buffy" was well ahead of its time. Not to mention, for many years Willow and Tara had the longest-running lesbian relationship on network television at two and a half seasons, much to the delight of LGBTQ youth across the world.

So, what was it about everyone's favorite undead slayer that elevated her to the highly coveted "gay icon" status? Was it because she was a strong woman? Was it her keen fashion sense? Or maybe her zippy one-liners? Across it's seven seasons, "The Chosen One" gave us plenty of reasons why she slayed as a gay icon! To prove B's icon status is just as relevant today as 20 years ago, we've chosen 20 of our favorite "Buffy" moments and re-purposed them to apply to today's real-life gay struggles.

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” by binge-watching every episode starting from the beginning with Netflix on X1.


When you get a call from your friend who’s had far too many drinks at happy hour.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you forgot that you said you could cook on your Tinder profile.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you talk your dieting friend into post-party pancakes at IHOP.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you have to show the bartender at the straight bar how to properly muddle a mojito.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you try and convince your scene friends to go camping.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When Beyoncé comes on the radio and your friends won’t stop talking.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you insist on playing Barbra Streisand’s “Jingle Bells” on repeat during family Christmas.  

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you come back from the bathroom to find someone moving in on your date.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you’re having a bad day and all you want is ice cream, but it’s almost beach season.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you don’t trust your best girlfriend’s new partner.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you have to decide between drinks on Friday night or RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you decide to go down for a disco nap and will not be interrupted. 

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you do drag for the first time and are really feeling your fantasy.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you suddenly realize that Obama isn’t in the White House anymore.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When a guy at the bar asks for your number, but you’re really not feeling it.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you accidentally say “Yas Queen Slay!” in the middle of a work meeting.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When your friend documents their entire evening out on Snapchat.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you’ve made it through your first NYC Pride and it’s time to head back home. 

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you’re too exhausted at brunch to come up with a witty retort to your friend’s comment about your outfit.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When you realize that 30 years in “gay time” is the equivalent of 60 years in “straight time.”

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

When videos of you doing karaoke from the night before pop up on Facebook.

Buffy
Image Credit: FOX

What was your favorite "Buffy" moment? Share it with us on social media with #XFINITYLGBTQ.

Scott Conant is the LGBTQ Editor for Comcast XFINITY. You can watch his top picks and more LGBTQ-related titles in the XFINITY LGBTQ Film & TV Collection

To visit the LGBTQ Film & TV Collection on XFINITY, or say “LGBTQ” into the X1 Voice Remote.

On X1: Navigate to “Popular Destinations” > LGBTQ Film & TV
On Native: Go to “On Demand” > LGBTQ Film & TV