Shay Mitchell has something of a sweet gig. The actress has a steady gig as Emily on Pretty Little Liars, and in a recent interview with Teen Vogue, she talked about playing a lesbian. In fact, she makes it clear that she did not even spare a second thought in auditioning for hte role.
Shay stated that “I have a lot of friends who are gay; my aunt had a girlfriend. It’s just normal, and the way that fans have reacted [to my portrayal of Emily] has been amazing: I’m not playing the gothic chick dressed in all black who eats lunch in the corner and is a lesbian. If you look at the poster, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to pinpoint which one of us is the lesbian, and that was really important to me.”
However, playing a lesbian character has caused some issues. She’s had a lot of people wondering whether or not she, herself, is lesbian. She said that “People always ask me, ‘Are you gay like your character?’ But I don’t feel like I need to answer, because honestly, it doesn’t matter.”
Still, her role is important as a lot of people love her character. She also said “It means so much to me when someone says, ‘Thank you for playing this role.’ It’s one thing to entertain people, but it’s something else to actually have a small impact on their life in a positive way, and that’s why it’s important for me to meet my fans.”
In fact, it has been a huge issue for many people. For instance, one of the reasons why Star Wars fans have been so adamant about having same-sex romance arcs in the game is because of how it helps them feel about themselves.
One of the biggest gripes many people make about LGBT characters is how difficult it can be to find positive ones that are not, somehow, a big deal or just someone using them as part of fan service.