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Walker Independence's Katie Findlay Teases The Storyline Fans Have Been Waiting For

Crafting period pieces in modern times is a carefully constructed dalliance between honoring the time period and keeping things fresh for audiences today. People often think that just because something might have been taboo in the past, it didn't happen at all. That couldn't be further from the truth. There's no denying that queer individuals have existed in every period of history. Still, people frequently use historical prejudices as an excuse for not having LGBTQ+ representation on projects set in different periods — like the old West

Of course, queer relationships will look different depending on the era, but there's no valid reason to keep them from movies and TV shows that are set in the past. When The CW announced the late 1800s-set "Walker Independence," fans were particularly concerned about representation. Yet the romanticized old Westerns with entirely whitewashed casts weren't accurate to the time. Texas borders Mexico, after all. There was plenty of diversity, even back in those days. "Walker" fans can rest easy, though — because the spinoff honors what the area would have actually looked like. 

Looper participated in a press conference for "Walker Independence," where Katie Findlay teased a possible queer storyline for their character Kate. 

The wild queer west

Katie Findlay pointed out that the West has always been queer, despite Hollywood's longstanding attempts to straight wash it. "I feel like everybody's been waiting for me to do this. The West was queer. It was queer. It was all kinds of people, all kinds of gender presentation, and I think that's something we see so rarely. Cowboys lived together in domestic marriages that were sometimes romantic and weren't," they said. "People ran away to the frontiers so that queer women could marry their wives and masquerade as men because women couldn't own property. So they bound and bought a damn ranch."

Findlay identifies as a queer person, giving their lived experience to speak on the subject. Even from the first episode, their character Kate gives off some vibes, and Findlay teased that there might be something canonically queer about their character down the line. They noted, "And I am so looking forward to the opportunity to explore it both through my own queerness and the queerness of others, which sounds like a hilarious thing to say. But I think that it's something that's not often touched on — the wildness of frontier self-discovery and the kind of refuge that was available for people."

Yet gender identities and sexual orientation aren't the only identities [that] the lawless land of the Wild West allowed its inhabitants to explore. "Not only of different sexualities and genders, but of cultures to find peace or adventure or acceptance or escape or respite from the societal norm of the time," Findlay elaborated. "And obviously, in Westerns that are a bunch of old straight white guys, you're not gonna see that. So I'm really delighted to have been given the opportunity to get in there and wiggle around a little bit." It's certainly nice to see a Western doing something fresh and new, all while covering the untold stories of the era's marginalized groups.

"Walker Independence" premieres Thursday, October 6 on The CW.