Over the course of THE WALKING DEAD‘s wildly successful four seasons, no other character has earned as much adoration or fan praise than Daryl Dixon. (Unless of course you count the “Corl” meme.) Whether it’s the popular “If Daryl Dies, We Riot” mentality or the sold out $325 tickets for the “Norman Reedus VIP Experience” at Chicago Comic-Con, there’s no denying that Daryl Dixon is one of the most prominent figures in genre television. After four seasons and gearing up for a fifth, fans have been questioning why Dixon hasn’t ever had a romantic relationship with any of the other female characters despite developing very strong friendships. Is it because Dixon decided that the zombie apocalypse shouldn’t be used as a free-for-all admission to pound town, or is he gay? THE WALKING DEAD comic creator, Robert Kirkman, recently weighed in on the option stating:
“All I can say is that it’s been discussed. We have very specific ideas about Daryl’s sexuality (or the seeming lack thereof), and if there’s ever a quiet period in the show where he’s not consistently distracted by crossbowing… we’ll tackle it in the show.”
So, there you have it. Daryl Dixon might be gay. Now, here’s where the important stuff comes out to play. Why is everyone making such a big deal about the sexual orientation of a fictional character? Well, if Daryl Dixon turns out to be a gay character…it’s a pretty fucking important.
First of all, representation is a huge deal. The reason so many stereotypes and stigmas exist towards groups of people, are because they’re enforced by the media. A lot of people 100% believe that just because something is presented to them, it makes it factual. The amount of people “fooled” by satire sites like The Onion are walking proof that people can sometimes be really, really stupid. Look at the way the media is currently handling the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. The news outlets are reporting of looting, rioting, and violence in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, but the truth being circulated around social media would paint a very different story. Representation. Is. Important. When it comes to a character like Daryl Dixon, he as a gay character would be a momentous advancement for gay representation in the media. THE WALKING DEAD is one of the most popular shows on television and its success is arguably the reason the horror genre is starting to be taken a little more seriously. Daryl Dixon is a beloved character not just by horror fans, but by fans all over the world from all different backgrounds. The LGBTQ community struggles deeply with being represented as stock characters, stereotypes, or just completely excluded. If Daryl Dixon is gay, that would mean a gay character is being presented to the masses where his sexuality does not define his character, his motives, his situations, or his relationships with those around him. To put in simply, his sexuality wouldn’t be the basis for who he is and the only thing people are seeing about him. That’s HUGE.
I may not fully understand the obsession many females have with Daryl Dixon, but I won’t deny the fact he’s a bonafide badass. For some reason, the major figureheads behind arts and entertainment are afraid of allowing their strong male characters to also be gay. There was a huge upset earlier this year when NBC announced that the portrayal of the well-known bisexual character John Constantine would not be written as such for his new show. Despite having 30 years of documented comic evidence, NBC is choosing to erase Constantine’s sexual fluidity. With the exception of Jack Harkness on TORCHWOOD, there are very few mainstream gay male characters that aren’t presented as stock or stereotypical. Daryl Dixon would be a total gamechanger. Better yet, what if Daryl Dixon doesn’t have a sexual preference at all? What if he’s asexual? Even better.
While it is possible the “shippers” of Daryl/Carol may not ever get to see their relationship come to fruition, Daryl’s sexuality is still just speculation. I totally understand the argument about romance being the last thing on anyone’s mind during a zombie apocalypse, but what is most important is that Daryl wouldn’t be a token gay character, he’d be a character who happens to be gay. His sexuality has been treated as something as banal as heterosexuality, and that’s a great message to send to a wider audience.
Oh, and just because Beth had a major crush on Daryl doesn’t mean he was into her. Damn.