Linda Schuyler & Stefan Brogren Address Degrassi Controversy

If you are a Degrassi fan, the name Florida Family Association should probably sound familiar. This conservative organization has been criticizing Degrassi for years because of the show’s many LGBT characters. They have lead various email campaigns in an attempt to get companies to stop advertising during episodes of Degrassi.

Degrassi producers Linda Schuyler and Stefan Brogren addressed the controversy in separate interviews this past week. A major storyline in season 12 involves a split along religious lines over LGBT issues. Many fans have speculated that this storyline is in response to the FFA.

On that topic, Stefan Brogren said, “The truth is, there’s a lot of kids out there who hold very deeply onto their faith, and that can cause problems within the teen community.” Degrassi seems committed to portraying the religious characters fairly (both of them are regulars), as opposed to instantly making them the “bad guy.” Of course, Degrassi will also continue giving storylines to Adam, one of the first teenage transgender characters in TV history. “It’s something that we wanted to address for a couple of years,” Stefan told The Toronto Star, “but we really didn’t know how. We didn’t know what the stats were. But we’ve become aware of how many young people are dealing with questions about their gender.”

Ultimately, it’s clear that the producers and writers are aware of the FFA controversy, but that only seems to make them more passionate about accurately portraying LGBT characters on the show. “We’re continuing to challenge people in their tolerance and understanding of sexual identity,” Linda Schuyler said in a recent interview. “[The FFA] have that narrow mindset, and then they say they are against bullying. It’s just insane. They were quite active, writing to our broadcasters, asking them to pull ads from our show. Fortunately, neither broadcaster responded.

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