For decades it has been true that lesbian and bisexual women on television die more often than other characters. They die, and die horribly - often by gunshot wound. This has been called the "Bury your Gays" trope. Autostraddle has an exhaustive list of 166 dead television lesbians and bisexuals, spanning four decades - about as long as there have been lesbian and bisexual women on television. But lately, there seems to be a ray of hope for the lesbian and bisexual women of television. That hope comes wrapped in a bulletproof vest.

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Bulletproof vests

Two shows this year have featured lesbians in bulletproof vests, while two more have brought characters back who were thought to be dead. On Wynonna Earp, a new Syfy show about the demon hunting descendant of Wyatt Earp, Officer Nicole Haught is shot by Wynonna Earp's evil sister. The audience is meant to think she's done for but then - she opens up her shirt to reveal her bulletproof vest.

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Recently on the CW's Supergirl, Maggie Sawyer was shot. Once again, we see a lesbian protected by her bulletproof vest. In previous years, bullets near a woman who loved women on television spelled the end. We lost Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to a bullet. More recently we lost Lexa to one.

Unburying your gays

Speaking of women who love women who have been shot, on BBC America's Orphan Black, everyone was certain that a gunshot wound had killed bisexual Delphine.

But this year, in the 4th season, we saw her return.

Another character previously thought dead was the scheming Rose, otherwise known as Sin Rostro, on Jane the Virgin. She had supposedly been strangled to death in season 2, but later is revealed to have faked her death and disguised herself as another lesbian. These are two rare cases of unburying your gays.

Now, just because certain writers are taking better care of their gay and lesbian characters does not mean they all are.

In 2016 alone, 22 lesbian and bisexual female characters died. I can hardly think of 22 lesbian and bisexual female characters currently on television right now. But there is hope, and with that hope comes a bulletproof vest.

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