Elena Alvarez from ‘One Day at a Time’ Had Sex and She Didn’t Die. Oh My!

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.

Elena Alvarez had sex on One Day at a Time and she didn’t die.

Here, have a cookie ODAAT writers.

If there’s anything that TV has taught me it’s that sex leads to death. In the last couple of years it’s been especially true for queer couples. For anyone that needs a little refresher, The 100 had Lexa and Clarke finally getting it on before she was brutally and stupidly murdered by the most random gun in the post-apocalyptic world.

For many, her death didn’t really matter. They just saw someone in the way of their OTP dying. As someone who never shipped Clexa and barely remembers if I ever liked Bellarke, I saw the truth of her death. She was a queer woman that was punished by the world, and by a man who shot her, for knowing what she wanted and going for it. And that hurts.

So when I say that I’m excited and really happy that Elena Alvarez had sex and didn’t die, this The 100 blast from the past and other queer deaths like Tara’s on Buffy the Vampire Slayer after she had sex with Willow, is the reason why. Elena and Syd didn’t die after doing the sex. Furthermore they weren’t treated as a joke or a fun little plot line to progress other people’s story without taking the time to care for what Elena and Syd were about to do.


It was all about Elena and Syd.

Here, another cookie for the ODAAT writers because we’re about to get into the meat of this and they deserve all the cookies.

Queer women aren’t afforded the same kind of care and understanding that straight couples or straight people are given when they have sex. Sex between two women is usually seen through the eyes of male pleasure with slim and busty beauties all the rage. And when you do see teenagers come and talk to their parents about what’s going on it’s usually this life-changing conversation between mother and daughter or father and son.

Until One Day at a Time I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Latina mother sit down and talk about sex with her queer daughter. Lupita didn’t treat Elena like she was strange or out of this world because she was a queer person seeking guidance and knowledge from someone who is not. And most importantly, Lupita made Elena feel like she did nothing wrong. She was ashamed for what she did and the level of openness that Lupita had with Elena means that the latter will come to the former for advice.

That right there is the reason it’s so important to have parents talking with their kids about queer things. If you don’t know how to address the queer things in the life of your child, do the same thing that Lupita did. Seek advice or counsel from someone who has lived the queer life and is now an adult. By doing so you allow someone to teach you what it feels like as a queer person growing up in ever-changing world. Also, it allows and encourages the queer people in your life that are trying to figure things out, a safe space to come to conclusions about their sexualities in a safe space.


Ok, more cookies for you, ODAAT!

Now, there will be people that say or think that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to Elena or Syd on One Day at a Time. But these people, they’re the kind who have always been represented on TV and haven’t lived without that representation ever. Now is my moment and that of all the other queer women out there.

One Day at a Time and how they developed Elena’s storyline makes me feel seen and like my experiences are important or worthwhile. After all, we learn about our world and the norms that belong in it by the media we consume. So if we have TV shows that accept, acknowledge, and talk about queer relationships, there comes the normalization of us as people.

That right there is what makes Elena and her experience something that you should be watching, if you haven’t started already. She is the positive representation I’ve always wanted/needed and I’m so proud to be on this journey with her as a queer Latina myself. So, thank you One Day at a Time, it’s fantastic writers, and Isabella Gomez. You make me feel seen. You make me feel worthwhile. And you make me feel like there is nothing wrong with the life I’ve chosen or who I decide to be with.

Thank you.


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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