Demi Lovato Calls Naya Rivera's 'Glee' Character ‘Groundbreaking’ for ‘Closeted Queer Girls’

Demi Lovato Calls Naya Rivera's 'Glee' Character ‘Groundbreaking’ for ‘Closeted Queer Girls’

July 14, 2020

Demi Lovato paid tribute to her former Glee costar Naya Rivera in a touching Instagram post after Rivera was confirmed dead by officials in California on July 13 (five days after she went missing on Lake Piru). 

Lovato, who played a love interest for Rivera's Santana Lopez in season five of the show, commented on the impact Rivera had on so many queer women. 

“R.I.P., Naya Rivera. I’ll forever cherish the opportunity to play your girlfriend on Glee," Lovato wrote. “The character you played was groundbreaking for tons of closeted queer girls (like me at the time) and open queer girls, and your ambition and accomplishments were inspiring to Latina women all over the world. My heart goes out to your loved ones at this time.. ❤️?”” data-instgrm-version=”8″>Across social media, fans echoed Demi Lovato's sentiment and lauded Naya Rivera's portrayal of Santana, a young woman who came to terms with her own sexuality over the course of the show's run. 

"For queer women over 25, Naya was one of maybe three people we had for TV representation growing up," one person tweeted. “I cannot convey how many lives, including my own, were completely changed and realized as a direct result of her talent and voice. RIP Naya, you will never be forgotten. Thank you.”

“I'm so saddened and disturbed by the news of Naya Rivera. Naya meant so much to so many queer women my age. Her character on Glee awakened a generation repressed. Thank you, Naya,” writer Jill Gutowitz posted. 

“One of the first queer characters I saw myself in, Miss Santana Lopez,” Ryan Jamaal Swain tweeted. “A QPOC on primetime television. Naya, thank you for handling her with car. What a force you are." 

Others shared their own memories of Rivera's portrayal of Santana and what it meant to their lives. 

Representation matters so much, and Rivera will continue to be deeply missed. But her impact will live on. 

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