How ‘Heartstopper’ Is Helping Author Alice Oseman (And Us) Heal

Heartstopper is bringing healing, catharsis, and wholesomeness to every generation of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s also helping author Alice Oseman, who identifies as asexual and aromantic.

The coming-of-age Netflix series, based on Oseman’s beloved graphic novels, follows the blooming love story of Charlie Springs (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor). Though the teens’ relationship may be tender and sweet, they live in a very real world filled with homophobia, mental health issues, and the pressures of being a teen.

That dichotomy, as Oseman recently told The Irish News, is perhaps the secret ingredient behind its whirlwind success.

“In Heartstopper, I try to explore realistic contemporary issues with a hopeful and optimistic lens,” she said. “I think that is what people like about Heartstopper more than anything. It feels like it could be real, but with the comfort and knowledge that everything is going to be okay in the end, and no matter what someone might be going through, there are always pockets of joy to be had.” Bless our little queer hearts!

The latest season finds our fave students leaving the safety and confines of school to explore Paris, tackling decisions about the future, and coming to terms with their identities. The journey Isaac (Tobie Donovan) goes on, in particular, parallels Oseman’s experience with asexuality.

“Working on Heartstopper constantly brings me back to my own teenage years, which were not exactly full of queer joy,” she explained. “Seeing how Heartstopper has helped so many queer teens is so special and magical, but has also helped me see that I’ve got some healing of my own to do.”

That healing is not something Oseman, nor the Heartstopper cast takes lightly. Locke recalls that a 56-year-old man in D.C. let him know the show inspired him to come out. “And now [he has] a boyfriend and is the happiest he’s ever been,” Locke told the outlet. “Reactions like that make you realize this is a show that really matters to people.”

In that respect, the importance of the show’s inclusion of the full LGBTQ+ spectrum can’t be understated.

“Alice has been able to open up the stories of the other characters here, which is really great, because queerness isn’t just one binary,” Locke explained. “You don’t have to just be one thing.”

We can’t wait to see what kind of magic awaits in Season 3, expected to hit Netflix in summer 2024.

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