Ahead of HBO’s Just-Announced Reboot, We Look Back at 5 Favorite Queer ‘Degrassi’ Characters
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HBO Max is riding the nostalgia wave, and we’re living for it. The latest series soon to be resurrected is Degrassi. Not only is HBO Max creating a Degrassi reboot with 10 hour-long episodes set to debut in 2023, but it’s also adding all 14 seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation to the streaming platform this Spring. It was a show that was full of queer representation, with too many queer Degrassi storylines to count.
Degrassi: The Next Generation aired from 2001 to 2015 with 14 seasons total, the fourth series in the Degrassi franchise. The show was a big part of many millennials’ lives because it depicted everything — drugs, gun violence, rape and more — in a relatable way. Throughout those 14 seasons, viewers met a ton of queer Degrassi characters, and those explorations of sexuality and gender were some of TV’s most meaningful.
Ahead of the upcoming Degrassi reboot, let’s take a look at the series’ history of LGBTQ representation.
Here are 5 of our favorite queer Degrassi characters from The Next Generation:
1. Marco Del Rossi (gay)
Marco Del Rossi first appears in Season 2 of Degrassi: The Next Generation, when Marco is shown struggling with his sexuality. After he comes out as gay to Ellie Nash, his girlfriend, she agrees to continue to date him until he’s ready to come out to everyone. In Season 3, after Ellie had enough of their arrangement, she publicly announces that they’ve broken up, which leads to one of the all-time best queer Degrassi moments, when Marco emotionally comes out to one of his best friends, Spinner.
2. Paige Michalchuk (bisexual)
Paige Michalchuk starts off in Season 1 of Degrassi: The Next Generation as the stereotypical Queen Bee, and although Paige never properly comes out, she’s seen as bisexual. To repay Spinner after totaling his car, Paige finds a job at the movie theater, working with Alex Nuñez. Although the two didn’t get along at school, by working together their relationship slowly develops. The two of them end up sharing a kiss at an after-party. After Paige has a conversation with Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith) where he encourages her to stop caring about what other people think, Paige and Alex kickstart a relationship (which happens twice during the show’s span).
3. Riley Stavros (gay)
Like Marco Del Rossi, Riley Stavros, who first appears in Season 8 of Degrassi: The Next Generation, struggles with his sexuality. He spends many episodes in denial, striving to be the quintessential straight popular football jock. Eventually he comes to terms with being gay and begins dating Zane Park, a fellow football player. On the show Riley aspires to be the first openly gay professional football player.
4. Adam Torres (trans man)
In Season 10 of Degrassi: The Next Generation, Adam Torres becomes the first trans character on Degrassi. He and his older step-brother Drew transfer to Degrassi Community School after Adam got bullied at his old school. He gets outed as trans by a classmate after attempting to go stealth, but the support of his friends gets him through it. Although played by a cis woman, the queer Degrassi character of Adam Torres was a revolutionary depiction of a trans character done with respect, even with his untimely end due to texting while driving.
5. Imogen Moreno (pansexual)
Quirky and eccentric Imogen Moreno first appears in Season 11 of Degrassi: The Next Generation. Imogen says she “likes people” when she confesses her feelings for Adam, and the show’s writers have confirmed this line to mean she is pansexual. Imogen’s character is a change of pace from many other queer Degrassi characters since she doesn’t have many storylines centered on her queerness; she just happens to date whomever she likes at the time.
With the Degrassi reboot coming to HBO Max next year, we’re hoping the show will continue to depict the LGBTQ community as multi-dimensional. We’re expecting a ton of new queer Degrassi characters and can’t wait!