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Why Heartbreak High’s autistic queer representation is so groundbreaking.

LGBTQ and Autism
Chloe Hayden from Netflix’s Heartbreak High

Netflix’s reboot of the Australian teen TV show Heartbreak High is full of leads with a breadth of identities and different life experiences, pioneering representation for multiple marginalized communities. One of these young people is Quinni, an autistic, queer woman redefining how the media portrays autism, played by autistic advocate and TikTok star Chloe Hayden.

Quinn “Quinni” Gallagher-Jones bursts onto screens in the first episode of the show, best friends with non-binary character Darren Rivers (James Majoos), and dressed in quirky clothing with bright, glittery makeup.

Even though autistic people are more likely to be LGBTQ+ than non-autistic individuals, this is an intersection rarely explored in television or film. Generally, autistic characters tend either to be straight, like Atypical’s Sam, or there is an avoidance of discussion of sexuality or romance at all, implying autistic people could have no interest in such things. Quinni, as an autistic lesbian, bucks this trend early on in the season.

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