Lachlan Watson influenced Susie's “queer journey” on 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
1 November 2018, 12:54
Lachlan also opened up about being non-binary...
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina came out last Friday and it is incredible. At first glance, the new Netflix series may seem like it could be just your average supernatural horror or teen drama but it's so much more. Not only does Sabrina establish its own unique universe over the course of just 10 episodes but it also deals with incredibly important themes ranging from coming of age, female agency and prejudice.
That's not all though. The new show is also being praised for centring a genderqueer storyline. One of Sabrina's best friends at her mortal school is Susie Putnam and Susie's season 1 storyline focuses on their journey with their own gender identity. It's notable because Susie's journey isn't defined by labels. And now, Lachlan Watson, who plays Susie, has revealed that they changed Susie's character arc.
In the original Sabrina script, Susie was written as a trans man who came out early in the series. Speaking to Bustle, Lachlan said: "I may have influenced the writers to hold off. I talk so much about myself and my identity as a non-binary person and I think they listened, and if anything it helped them understand that labels aren’t everything. Susie is on an ongoing queer journey, just like myself".
At the end of season 1 of CAOS, Susie hasn't established any official language they identify with. The TV show is remarkable because it gives Susie the chance to discover themselves at their own pace. Instead of producing a neat plot device, Netflix have created something a little more real and it's all thanks to Lachlan's own input. Sabrina may be fictional but Susie's storyline isn't.
In the same interview, Lachlan discussed their own gender. They revealed that they used to identify "fully and completely as a trans male". Lachlan said: "I thought that was my only option: 'I don’t feel like a woman so I guess I’ll be a man.'" And yet they added: "I was still so uncomfortable with myself and my body. I was like, 'I’m presenting as trans, why am I still so unhappy?'"
It was only when they began identifying outside of gender binaries that things clicked. In their own words, "You don’t have to label yourself so quickly, you don’t have to just be one thing or another. You are allowed to forge your own path and you can do it brilliantly and independently." In reference to Susie, they said: "Just telling [their] story has meant a lot to me. I think it would have meant a lot to little young confused me, too."
In a separate profile with Teen Vogue, Lachlan stated: “Honestly, it was a little refreshing to be a queer character [and] not be confined to a linear path where ‘oh, the character gets bullied and does research and oh, now they came out. It was nice to live in that ambiguous world where Susie can really just be Susie and figure out what they meant without really being pressured to come out and label themselves just yet."
They then teased: "That changes a little bit in season two, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that.”