Riverdale’s latest plot, which sees Cheryl Blossom forcefully admitted to gay conversion therapy by her mother, has divided fans.
Since the show’s debut, the cheerleader and self-proclaimed ‘Queen Bee’ at Riverdale High has been to hell and back. Her father murdered her brother Jason, which led to a suicide attempt, and in season two, she was drugged and (almost) sexually assaulted by trouble-making bad boy, Nick St. Clair.
So when Cheryl came out as bisexual and embarked on a romance with Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan), fans *finally* thought Cheryl would have a positive plot line, and were excited at the prospect of another LGBTQ romance. But the latest episode saw Cheryl sent off to Sisters of Quiet Mercy to have the gay stripped away by her mother, before she even had the chance to properly explore her sexuality.
“Oh you poor child, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” says Sister Woodhouse. She then refers to herself in the third person, telling Cheryl: “Sister Woodhouse is going to help you. Yes, she’s going to rid you of all those naughty demons, the ones making you think such awful, unnatural thoughts.
“Today, you must rest. Tomorrow, the real work – the conversion – begins.
The storyline, and the whole creepy encounter with Sister Woodhouse, has left viewers divided. Many fans are furious that one of the only queer characters has been punished for her sexuality, whilst some believe the show is trying shine a light on conversion therapy.
Take a look at some of the reactions below.
radmuffin: I’m literally SO uneasy about Cheryl being sent to conversion therapy after coming out and… https://t.co/bJh8mKUnZg
— fifth harmony forever ????❤️ (@jesyln_wwe) March 26, 2018
Since Toni and Cheryl are supposedly not #queerbait, and Cheryl is supposedly queer and has since come out, what do the producers do? Put her in conversion therapy. That's right: the queer character is punished.
— The Bacca That Chews (@Samantha_Clause) March 26, 2018
Real shit how come Archie and Veronica got to kiss on ep 1 but when Cheryl and Toni tried to kiss Nana got pushed down the stairs and Cheryl got sent to conversion therapy?
— abbie????️???? (@belikeabbie) March 26, 2018
just thinking about cheryl having to go through conversion therapy makes me literally bawl my eyes out
— Dom (@nowthisisvirgo) March 26, 2018
When I learned what conversion therapy was and it was tied to Cheryl I wanted to cry. That's not right. No one should ever have to go through that. Ik it's a show but it happens in real life too. #justiceforcheryl @madelainepetsch #riverdale
— pineapples???? (@nerdy_loren) March 26, 2018
Making Cheryl have conversion therapy before she’s even had a fucking chance to be gay ugh @CW_Riverdale better make up for this
— Katie ⚢ (@vausemanblack) March 25, 2018
ah i see riverdale has cheryl in conversion therapy now, which i'm sure will be handled with as much grace and sensitivity as, you know, her sexuality and everything else on the show has been
— liz on spring break hiatus (@irljeangrey) March 24, 2018
#choni @ everyone who thinks that the Cheryl conversion therapy storyline isn’t that serious and doesn’t need a trigger warning please realize that yes Cheryl is a fictional character but what they’re putting her through is what so many lgbt people faced for years and continue
— Naomi (@whynotnaomi) March 23, 2018
It’s so scary seeing Cheryl be taken to conversion therapy in riverdale, because it reminds you that real people every day are torn from their friends and taken to places like that.
— alice waters (@_aliwaters) March 22, 2018
anyway what’s GONNA happen is that the straights are finna get educated about conversion therapy and then cheryl and toni are gonna make out and cheryl will never ever be sad again
— me? a hopeless romantic? mayhaps! (@legendslaurmani) March 22, 2018
Conversion therapy is an extremely tough topic for so many people. But sadly, it happens in a lot of places, including America. #Riverdale has made a bold choice in including this in their show. And yes Cheryl has been through a hell of a lot, but this will open up conversations
— MJ (@msmollybruton) March 22, 2018
So what are your thoughts? Are the writers trying to educate viewers, or are they hellbent on making Cheryl Blossom’s life a misery? Let us know how you feel about the issue in the comments!
The second season of Riverdale airs every Thursday on UK Netflix, and on The CW in the United States.