Stranger Things Season 3 was a wild ride (here’s a recap of the previous seasons), but one of my favourite elements of it was how it explored teen relationships and growing up. Despite there being terrifying and super gross monsters all over the place, the show manages to show the comradery (pun intended) of a tight-knit group of kids. Particularly their protectiveness of each other, first shown through Will Byers, and then El.
The nostalgia isn’t just about the 80s, but also the nostalgia you have of being a kid and having friends that would back you no matter what. Even against a giant, inter-dimensional mind eating monster.
Season 3 is all about exploring that on a different level – romance. Now that the boys are 14, they’re kinda angsty and hormonal and pretty obsessed with girls. Except Will Byers.
TBH, right at the very beginning of Stranger Things I thought that Will could be gay. Sure, Mike was a bit of an older brother, but I couldn’t help noticing not just the dependence Will had on Mike, but the admiration? It kinda seemed like a crush. I forgot about it TBH, but then it came back full force this season.
Will is totally sulking the whole time the rest of the gang talks about girls. At first it just seems like he’s annoyed and maybe a bit left out, since he’s the only single one. When they finally play Dungeons and Dragons, he’s way too excited about not having girls around, but whatever right? I mean, it could go both ways at this point. (pun also intended).
will byers said gay rights pic.twitter.com/17CNOnitjD
— mira (@pIeuvior) 4 July 2019
But then he totally has a freak out, and it leads to an emotional and angry outburst at Mike and storms out into the pouring rain, shouting “You’re destroying everything, and for what? So you can swap spit with some stupid girl?”
Mike, getting equally frustrated, yells “El’s not stupid! It’s not my fault you don’t like girls.”
UM, excuse me what?!
“It’s not my fault you don’t like girls.”
After an extremely loaded pause, Mike goes on to say “I’m not trying to be a jerk, okay? But we’re not kids anymore. I mean, what did you think, really? That we were never going to get girlfriends? That we’re just going to sit in my basement playing games for the rest of our lives?”
Will, now completely losing his shit, screams that yes, that is what he thought. He goes home to Castle Byers, and in a heart wrenching scene, sobs hysterically while ripping up images of him and the boys. He then goes on a heart broken rampage and attacks the fort with a baseball bat.
Now, are we really going to pretend that is a perfectly normal and reasonable response to your friend getting a girlfriend and not playing D&D with you anymore?
Will Byers is gay. MAKE ME CHANGE MY MIND. pic.twitter.com/4yXKfPA36M
— Céline (@CelineLovesCal) 5 July 2019
No, of course it’s not. The truth is, it’s so much more than that for Will. I mean, the kid is already isolated from everyone else because we was literally possessed by the mind flayer, and also stuck in the Upside Down. It really doesn’t get much isolating than that. Then, to not be able to relate to your friends on basic things like crushes and girls? Yeah, it’s definitely coming to terms with sexuality that was the reason for such an intense and devastating outburst.
will byers really captures the gay teen experience, I was exactly as shut off and dejected in school when my friends started talking incessantly about boys and I didn’t even have the added trauma of having been taken to the brink of death by monsters
— abbey bartlet’s ouija board (@rosiealaska) 4 July 2019
It’s not officially confirmed that Will Byers is gay, but I don’t think it matters if it is. He doesn’t need to come out for it to matter to fans, or anyone. It was one of those wonderful things where you just took it in like you would take any other character revelation in, and I love that. We need more casual LGBTQ characters, and there shouldn’t always have to be a grand ‘coming out’ moment (though we loved Robin’s). Stranger Things treated Will’s sexuality in a way where it didn’t matter, because we are here for his character regardless.
Image Sources: GIPHY, Netflix, Twitter: @rosiealaska, @CelineLovesCal, @pIeuvior