LGBTQ Characters in The Handmaid’s Tale: LGBTQ Treatment and the “Bury Your Gays” Trope in Atwood’s Novel and its 2017 Adaptation
Klein Hesselink, F.J.
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This thesis explores LGBTQ treatment and the “Bury Your Gays” trope in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its Hulu adaptation (2017). The show included more LGBTQ characters than the novel contained but treated them unfairly, often resulting in unhappy endings like death, being silenced or being cut out of the story, which are all instances of the “Bury Your Gays” (BYG) trope. This thesis argues that the show is guilty of burying its gays. This is demonstrated by close reading excerpts of Atwood’s novel that are related to LGBTQ representation or treatment, and by comparing the representation and treatment of LGBTQ characters in the novel and show. Linda Hutcheon’s adaptation theory is used to examine and explain why certain changes in the story are made. Furthermore, this thesis discusses possible consequences of BYG for the show and its audience.