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On many occasions throughout the series, numerous characters are shown starting affairs merely to make their lovers jealous or simply sabotaging their relationships through adultery for no apparent reason, while their ex-lovers resort to petty or childish forms of revenge, ranging from using other people to start their own affairs to more serious actions or even crimes such as defamation (Lacey, who puts up posters and hands out flyers to expose Shane's promiscuity for not committing to her), potential perjury (Tina, who attempts to use her bisexuality to ingratiate herself into a heterosexual family in order to fool the family court into giving her sole custody of her baby with Bette), kidnapping (Bette, who kidnaps the baby to thwart Tina's plot), animal abuse (Jenny, who deliberately adopts and puts down a terminally ill dog to gain sympathy from a vet and sabotage her relationship with her lover), speeding (Alice, who pursues Dana in her car and attempts to run her off the road after realizing Dana used her sexually and then dumped her for her ex, Lara), blackmail (Adele, who steals a sex tape from Jenny and Niki and threatens to expose it in order to further her own career in Hollywood), arson (Paige, who apparently burns down Shane's workplace in revenge for her cheating on her), theft and framing (Niki, who steals the Lez Girls negatives to stop the film from being released and putting them in Jenny's attic to frame her in revenge for her using her), public humiliation (Jodi, who humiliates Bette in retaliation for using her sexually and giving her false hope during her separation from Tina), attorney misconduct (Joyce Wischnia, a gay civil rights lawyer who represents numerous lesbians and is implied to have had sex with every single one of them) and a possible murder (the victim is Jenny, but it is left unrevealed if it was a murder or suicide, as all of the characters had a motive, most of them sex-related).
Of note, all of the main characters are depicted as having cheated at least once on a lover or engaged in an act of adultery while easily judging others for doing the same, and generally unable or unwilling to commit to a sole partner.
Such statistics led Variety to conclude in 2016 that "the trope is alive and well on TV, and fictional lesbian and bisexual women in particular have a very small chance of leading long and productive lives".
The trope also appears in other fiction, such as video games, where LGBT characters are, according to Kotaku, "largely defined by a pain that their straight counterparts do not share".
Facing challenges that "serve as an in-world analogy for anti-LGBTQ bigotry", these characters are defined by tragedy that denies them a chance at happiness.
For years, the media has been moving forward in equally representing members of the LGBT community.
However, by the 21st century, the media was portraying lesbians in a more positive light.Harry Knox, a gay minister, has led this movement since 2005."Seventy-two percent of adults describe their faith as "very important" in their lives, so do sixty percent of gays and lesbians" (US News).Columnist Brent Hartinger observed that "big-budget Hollywood movies until, perhaps, Philadelphia in 1993 that featured major gay male characters portrayed them as insane villains and serial killers".
Community members organized protests and boycotts against films with murderous gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters, including Cruising (1980), Silence of the Lambs (1991), and Basic Instinct (1992).For instance, in the popular lesbian television series The L Word the media refutes the "U-Haul" lesbian stereotype, which is that lesbians move in on the second date.