‘Queerly Not Straight’: We Need to Talk About ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ and Trans Representation

In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.


Susie Putnam is no more. And it’s not because she’s died, gone over to the dark side, or because the actor decided to say goodbye to the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Susie Putnam is no more because she has come out as transgender and changed their name to Theo Putnam. And we couldn’t be prouder!

Too often, we’re told that portraying trans or non-binary characters on TV is too hard. Queer characters that are gay, lesbian, or bisexual are easier on the palate for hetero viewers. And with Hollywood just cracking the shell of what it means to be queer in general, many feel like these members of the LGBTQ+ community should wait their turn. But trans people shouldn’t have to wait til it’s their turn to be represented on TV because other people aren’t comfortable yet.

Trans people are here to stay and as a member of the queer community it’s my job to support, lift up, and have my trans brothers and sisters back as they come out to the world and demand a seat at the table when it comes to telling their truth. That’s why I’m so proud, happy, and all the wonderful emotions that make you feel like you’re the proudest mama in the world because of Susie Putnam coming out as a transgender man.

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We all knew that the moment was coming. Since season one Susie has been struggling to define herself and understand the body she was born in. Her self discovery was thrown off big time in season one by the bullies in school who wanted to know what Susie was/is because they couldn’t fit it into their neanderthal skulls that someone didn’t have to define themselves to them.

One of the biggest reasons why I think Susie was able to keep fighting and finally come out as a transgender man was the support and love they had from Sabrina, Roz, and Harvey. (Also, this is the point where we use “he” pronouns because Susie is now Theo and we respect the choices others make about their own bodies.) Theo knew that his family had his back NO MATTER WHAT and it prepared him for coming out to the most important person in his life: his dad.

Coming out is always seen as messy, according to the media we consume. It’s as if hetero viewers can’t fathom the fact that there is more to our lives besides the woah moment where we free ourselves to be queer AF by telling our loved ones that we belong to the LGBTQ+ community. Sometimes there is no big build up. Sometimes there are no arguments or kicking your kid out because you can’t have a queer child in your house. Sometimes people just…accept it.

I know. Shocker. I’m totally blowing your mind. But it’s true.

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Family, you know…the people who love you unconditionally, sometimes just accept that you like men over women or vice versa. Or if you’re trans. Or if you’re ace. All of it. They accept it because they love you and that love is WAY bigger than any confusion they might feel. Because, there is confusion. You saw it in Theo’s dad’s eyes, body language, and words. He didn’t know what was going on and instead of flying off the handle because “that’s good for drama according to the hetero community” Theo’s pop actually sat down and listened.

Moments like this matter. Moments like this are the ones we need to see more of. Moments like this are the reality for many of us coming out in 2019. And we need to see more of them. The reality is that the overlords of TV/movies try to make us believe that queer stories, trans ones in particular, are too hard to tell. Too confusing. Too complex. Too time consuming. Too, too, too. And that’s a load of bullshit.

Trans stories are real.

Trans stories are worth it.

And trans stories are part of our community.

Theo Putnam is proof of that.

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Watch Lachlan Watson join other non-binary badasses as they dismantle misconceptions on what it means to be nonbinary in 2019!

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina seasons 1 & 2 are available on Netflix.


Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)

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Lyra

Editor, Writer, Supreme Mugwump

Lyra enjoys loud mouthed, damaged characters, with a penchant for rescuing people and drinking their sorrows away. When she isn’t splurging on Netflix shows she’s not so quietly ranting about Teen Wolf, The Walking Dead, and Supernatural!