Actress and That’s So Raven star Raven-Symoné said she refused the offer to make her iconic Raven Baxter character a lesbian in the show’s Disney spinoff, Raven’s Home. Symoné — who is gay — said that she wanted to let the straight character “have her moment.”
“There was a conversation before the series started, and I was asked the question, ‘Would you like Raven Baxter to be a lesbian?’ And I said, no. I said no,” Symoné revealed during a recent episode of the “Pride” podcast with Levi Chambers.
The actress clarified that she declined the offer to make Raven Baxter a lesbian, not because she wasn’t proud of being gay herself, but because “Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter,” and she didn’t feel the need to change who the character was in order to “fit the actress that played her.”
“The reason I said no wasn’t because I wasn’t proud of who I was, or I didn’t want to represent the LGBTQ+ community in any way,” Symoné explained. “It was because Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter.”
“There was no reason for me to change the human that she was in order to fit the actress that played her,” she added. “And Raven Baxter is a character that I was proud to play, even if she is straight, cisgender — I don’t mind — let her have her moment.”
Symoné also mentioned that it can get complicated when an actor conflates themselves with their characters, suggesting the risk of being type-casted.
“When you really start blending your personal self with your character self, it’s even harder,” she said. “Like, I’m stereotyped for the rest of my life. Let’s just keep it 100. You know what I mean?”
“If you ever see me in another character, you see Raven Baxter, and that’s just what the deal is,” Symoné added. “And I think the one thing that differentiates me from her is now a lot more.”
According to a 2019 study, LGBTQ characters have hit a record high on television. HBO Max’s reboot of Gossip Girl, for example, has put queerness front and center, jumping right to a gay makeout scene between Max and his straight but seemingly curious best friend Aki at a bathhouse popular with gay men.
And newer shows like HBO’s Euphoria feature lesbian and transgender lead characters, as well as a copious amount of teenage gay, lesbian, and transsexual sex.
Shows aimed at children have also seen a 222% increase in LGBTQ characters and stories in just two years, as the entertainment industry has engaged in a concerted, industry-wide effort to push the radical LGBTQ agenda into all programs for children in cooperation with gay activist group GLAAD.