Since it was revealed that actor Bhavna Limbachia was soon to stop playing Rana Habeeb in Coronation Street back in January, fans of the character have preparing for the worst. Their fears were amplified when the soap teased that someone was going to die in a factory collapse on an episode airing on Wednesday 20 March – and sure enough, it was Rana.
Now, several upset fans are calling on others to boycott the British soap and file Ofcom complaints due to it playing into the harmful ‘Bury Your Gays’ television trope that has seen numerous queer characters face violent ends.
Rana was set to marry fiancée Kate Connor (Faye Brookes) on the day of her death, but got trapped inside the wreckage before the two could tie the knot.
One Twitter user said that the writing was “thoughtless,” while another expressed disappointment that the show can’t seem to grant any of its same-sex couples with the happier storylines awarded to some of its straight ones.
“Why doesn’t #Corrie do something really different & let a same sex couple marry, live happily together for years, have children?,” they asked. “Why do they always have to kill them?!”
THREAD. REPORT CORRIE NOW.
They mislead lgbt fans into thinking it theyd see corrie's first same-sex wedding. only to kill of the muslim lesbian in a shock, disgusting and TRIGGERING twist
REPORT THEM BELOW NOW. EVERY COMPLAINT MATTERS.
— REPORT CORRIE TO OFCOM FOR RANA (SEE PINNED TWEET (@valsjuliana) March 20, 2019
#Kana ending was always going to be sad, no way around that. But to have a Muslim lesbian die on her wedding day isn't just sad, it's outright harmful. This is playing into homophobic tropes that have no place in 2019. #Corrie #RanaDeservedBetter #LGBTViewersDeserveBetter
— Annie (@annief3051) March 20, 2019
It's five years last week since same-sex marriage became legal in the UK, and the closest Coronation Street has got to a gay wedding is killing Rana off on her wedding day. Such a disappointment#Corrie
— Wriggy (@Wriggy) March 20, 2019
Others expressed sadness that they were not only were losing LGB representation on Corrie by killing off Rana but important Muslim lesbian representation too; something that’s not often seen on screen.
“#Kana ending was always going to be sad, no way around that,” one user noted. “But to have a Muslim lesbian die on her wedding day isn’t just sad, it’s outright harmful. This is playing into homophobic tropes that have no place in 2019.”
While some were disappointed by the extreme nature of the character’s ‘exit,’ they didn’t agree with the backlash. “It is a real shame to have such important representation as a Muslim in a same-sex relationship and an interracial lesbian couple end in a death,” someone posted. “But I don’t think it’s the outright display of homophobia people would have you believe, that’s just a bit much #Corrie.”
Another said: “Race/religion or sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with this. #Corrie is neither racist or homophobic. They simply followed the wishes of an actor who has left to pursue other things in her career.”
Limbachia recently revealed that she had requested Rana die on the show because she wanted to explore other roles outside of the soap and didn’t feel like her existing character would have left Kate any other way.
“I was trying to come up with a reason for why Rana would leave Kate, but they have fought so hard to be together that I was racking my brains for weeks trying to come up with a reason,” she stated. “She would never leave Kate. I believe their love is so pure, they’ve worked so hard to be together. The only way she would leave is if it was taken out of her hands.”
Speaking on This Morning on 21 March, she said: “The intention was never to offend the LGBT community. I guess it was a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story, but with a Juliet and Juliet love story.”