The sci-fi series Stranger Things has almost instantly become a cultural phenomenon since it was released to Netflix on July 15, but it’s the supporting character of Barb that has truly taken the internet by storm.
Memes and mentions of Barb, played to perfection by newcomer Shannon Purser, have been flooding news feeds for weeks, but seem to have struck a significant chord with the LGBT community in particular.
Purser recently spoke with Paper about why she thinks the character is so relatable.
“We all at some point in our lives have felt that we weren’t at the top of our social circle, or that maybe we needed our friends more than they needed us, and feeling overlooked,” she shared. “I think a lot more people feel a little bit insecure and a little bit hungry for love and acceptance.”
Those feelings of alienation are often all too common among LGBT youth, which certainly may help explain why the character of Barb is emerging as an unexpected gay icon.
“As a person, I’ve always been really passionate about being really inclusive and letting people know that they are loved,” Purser said. “And I think there really is an inherent feeling of isolation in the LGBT community, because often times, they can’t really fit in the way they’d like.”
“I’m so thankful that LGBT people have related to the character,” she continued. “If I can help anybody with my character, or feel loved or less alone, that is the best feeling.”