16MM Film, hand processed, with direct on film animation
TRT 01:00 (Loop)

Once mandated by the industry broadcasting moral guidelines, the Hays Code required “deviant” characters (specifically LGBT characters) to not be made sympathetic or rewarded. Narrative punishment for this behavior in contemporary broadcasting remains pervasive even now that mainstream attitudes and laws have changed. Even though queer women only make up 0.8% of the TV character population, they account for 10% of all television deaths. The key problem in with this trope, widely referred to as “Bury Your Gays,” isn’t merely that these characters are killed off, but rather that their deaths often served no other purpose than to further the narrative of a more central (and often straight, cisgender) character, or as an easy solution to avoid writing plots for token queer characters. Especially to a community that relies on television as a main source of representation, this perpetuates a pernicious ideology, not a narrative structure.

DLS compiles over fifty moments of queer women deaths on television, including footage from the 1970’s up until 2018. The women have been carefully drawn over, frame by frame, in order to soften and censor their deaths and to create a layer of protective separation. Made with filmmaker Tandis Shoushtary.