Never Have I Ever divides viewers with queer Muslim coming out story: ‘She deserves so much better’
The inclusion of a bisexual Muslim woman in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever has been welcomed by viewers – but not everyone is happy.
Megan Suri joined the Mindy Kaling-created series as new student Aneesa Qureshi in season two, quickly striking up a rivalry with Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) after she started dating her ex-boyfriend Ben.
In season three, Aneesa goes through a queer awakening and enters into a relationship with a woman named Fabiola, played by Lee Rodriguez. But it is short-lived, ending when Fabiola meets non-binary character Addison.
Some viewers were disappointed with the lack of relationship development.
“Kind of mad about how they just threw Addison in there after Aneesa and Fabiola got together because i was really excited at getting sapphic Muslim representation,” one viewer wrote.
Another added: “Aneesa deserves so much better. She’s one of the sweetest and nicest characters in the show. She made efforts and was very committed to her relationship with Ben and Fabiola just for them both to do her dirty.”
“Guess we’re just throwing and discarding random queer relationships with zero explanation,” added a third.
Aneesa deserves better. It felt like she was put aside this season.#NeverHaveIEver3
— isabella (@alemm_malik) August 13, 2022
Well can’t say I’m surprised but still disappointed at the complete lack of character development between Aneesa and Fabiola, guess we’re just throwing and discarding random queer relationships with zero explanation 👍🏽
— Pardesi (@PardesiBlog) August 12, 2022
Idk who needs to heart this but Aneesa is not good Muslim representation, you can make her an atheist or a Christian and absolutely nothing in her or the plot would change, that's not representation.
— S (@moietroses) August 2, 2021
Many were disappointed at how the character was “tokenised” with no real development or space to explore their identity.
One fan wrote: “I’m beyond irritated at the way Aneesa’s been pushed to the side this season. She’s gone through as many important changes as everyone else but she’s had a total of 10 minutes of screen time THE WHOLE SEASON.”
Others were simply pleased to see LGBTQ+ Muslims acknowledged in a major Netflix show, with the hopes that Aneesa Qureshi will get a chance to shine in all her queer glory in season four.
As usual when queer representation comes on screen, trolls across Twitter and TikTok tried to invalidate Aneesa’s identity.
Many jumped to defend the much-needed representation.
“Fans need to stop using the sexuality of Aneesa to prove that she’s ‘not good Muslim representation’, queer Muslims exist and they deserve just as much representation as those who aren’t, if you’re going to critique her character find something else,” one fan wrote.
“Aneesa navigated discovering she was queer, especially as quite possibly one of the first major queer Muslim characters on mainstream TV, is really important representation and it feels like they just kinda brushed over it,” another said.
Just watched never have I ever and feel sorry for queer Muslims because so many people are invalidating them HEAVILY just because Aneesa kissed Fabiola. #NeverHaveIEver3
— ami | Alien Superstar (@ami_westside) August 13, 2022
really hoping NHIE season 4 gives my girl Aneesa even more moments because Megan Suri is a GEM #NeverHaveIEver3
— Junelle Aubrey Geli 🌈💛 (@TealSealAubrey) August 13, 2022
— Queen of Burning Bridges (@HausOfDemi9) August 17, 2022
never have i ever season 3 spoilers!!!!
ANEESA AND FABIOLA OMG?!?! THE QUEER MUSLIM REP🏽🏽🏽
— mysha is listening🏽 | મિસ માર્વેલ🏽 (@wh0re4d0jacat) August 12, 2022
WLW ANEESA GUYS THIS IS NOT A DRILLLLLL LETS GO MUSLIM SAPPHICS
— dee ⚢ 🍂★ ∞ (@ptheticgrl43) August 13, 2022
Never Have I Ever is streaming on Netflix.