Melanie Lynskey is “honoured” over her status as a queer icon.
Throughout her illustrious career, the New Zealand actress has starred in several films and television productions adored by the LGBTQ+ community, from But I’m a Cheerleader to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Yellowjackets.
More recently, Lynskey had a two-episode arc in HBO’s post-apocalyptic drama The Last of Us, which broke various records for the network and received acclaim for Bella Ramsey’s queer leading character and episode three’s gay love story between Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman.
While Lynskey doesn’t identify as queer – and her character in The Last of Us seemingly doesn’t either – she was bizarrely accused of “more homosexual agenda pushing” by one irate, anti-LGBTQ+ viewer.
Her response, in which she confirmed that she is, in fact, backing the aforementioned “agenda”, immediately went viral.
Speaking with GAY TIMES, Lyskey doubled down on the comments in her tweet, saying it’s her “honour” to advocate for LGBTQ+ causes and representation in mainstream media.
“So funny though, it really made me laugh out loud that tweet,” she continues, before affirming that the homosexual agenda “should be pushed at all times”: “I’m big on pushing the homosexual agenda. I don’t really know how me just being cast in something does that, but I think it should be pushed. It’s a big agenda for me.”
Lynskey returns as her Emmy Award-nominated character Shauna Shipman in the second season of Yellowjackets, which is currently streaming in the UK on Paramount Plus.
Both seasons have been lauded by critics for normalising the queer experience with characters such as Taissa Turner (played by Jasmin Savoy Brown and Tawny Cypress) and Vanessa “Van” Palmer (played by Liv Hewson and Lauren Ambrose). Yellowjackets has even been hailed as the “queerest show” on television right now by fans and critics.
Lynskey says other storytellers should take note of the lack of queer trauma narratives in Yellowjackets: “I also love that about The Last of Us, that third episode. I know that living through a mushroom zombie apocalypse is its own kind of trauma, but it was just a very average love story where they got to, in a way, live happily ever after. I thought it was very romantic.”
The sophomore season of the survival thriller series also stars Sophie Nélisse as the teenage version of Shauna, as well as Ella Purnell as Jackie, Steven Kreuger as Ben Scott, Warren Kole as Jeff, Christina Ricci and Samantha Hanratty as Misty, Juliette Lewis and Sophie Thatcher as Nat, Simone Kessell and Courtney Eaton as Lottie and Kevin Alves as Travis.
On the show’s dark themes, which range from cannibalism to murder, Lynskey says: “I’m so surprised sometimes. There are some things coming up later in the season that are so upsetting, that they really stuck with me. But, it’s exciting. I’m always impressed by our writers taking things where they do and I trust them so much.”
Season two of Yellowjackets is currently airing on Paramount+, with new episodes available on Fridays.