In the second season of Netflix’s remake of 1970s sitcom “One Day At A Time,” actress Sheridan Pierce plays Syd, a non-binary student activist.
The show, set in present day, focuses on Cuban-American military veteran and single mother Penelope Alvarez (Justina Machado) and her family. The show covers issues like post-war trauma, bigotry, and LGBT issues. During “One Day At A Time’s” first season, Alvarez’s high school-age daughter Elena (Isabella Gomez) comes out as lesbian to her mother.
One plot arc of the second season, which debuted last week, features Syd bonding with Elena over their love of sci-fi shows, queer theory and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When Elena introduces her mother and grandmother to Syd, they become baffled when Syd explains they use the pronouns “they” and ”them” instead of “he” or “she.”
Even so, some fans criticized the show for referring to Syd as Elena’s girlfriend, instead of with gender neutral pronouns, PinkNews reports.
But Machado told IndieWire, “I think that realistically Penelope and Lydia would say ‘girlfriend’ … We had fans reach out, actually, because somebody mentioned something about it and was being really nasty. And somebody that identified with ‘they/them’ pronouns said ‘Hey, I have a girlfriend and she calls me her girlfriend and that’s just what we do.’”
Gomez explained to Vanity Fair the reason queer viewers like “One Day At A Time,” saying they are “fiercely loyal, and they’re so passionate about it because they lack representation. And the representation they do get is so shallow—we always see the gay man story line, and we never see young lesbians. And when we do, we see it for the benefit of men and we sexualize them.”
Check out the clip below.