Bad queer character tropes that Heartstopper subverts:
- Queer character says/does homophobic things to repress their feelings and protect their straight image: Nick is confused about his sexuality, but he never turns to homophobia or toxic masculine behavior in order to ward off rumors about his sexuality
- Queer character breaks up with partner because they're closeted: Charlie breaks things off with Ben because he doesn't actually care about Charlie and is emotionally abusive, not because Ben is in the closet. When Nick and Charlie start dating, Charlie respects Nick's desire to keep things a secret for the meantime.
- Queer character must be "flamboyant" or display "effeminate" or "tomboyish" traits: Ironically, Tao (the "token straight friend") is the most "extra" and flamboyant character. Additionally, Nick's interest in traditionally masculine activities such as rugby does not preclude him from being queer.
- Someone catches queer couple being intimate and outs them to everyone: Isaac walks in on an affectionate moment between Nick and Charlie but never says anything about it, even if he can detect the attraction between the two of them. No one walks in on Charlie and Nick sharing their first kiss in public at the bowling alley. They can just enjoy the moment together!
- Queer character pretends or tries to be straight by dating someone of the opposite gender: While Ben does fit this trope, Nick subverts it when he cancels his date with Imogen and tells her that he doesn't have romantic feelings for her. And contrary to expectations that Imogen might be jealous and retaliate in some way, she accepts that Nick doesn't like her and appears to be supportive of his relationship with Charlie at the end of the show.
- Parents reject their child when they come out: Charlie's parents are seen being supportive of him and expressing concern about potential bullying. When Nick comes out to his mum, she is completely accepting, telling him she loves him, hugging him, and apologizing for saying anything that made it difficult to confide in her.
- Female characters kiss for the enjoyment of male characters: When Nick sees Tara and Darcy kiss at Harry's party, he is empowered to pursue his own feelings for Charlie and be himself. He doesn't objectify or fetishize them in any way.
- Trans characters can't be in straight relationships: Tao and Elle clearly have feelings for each other, and her being trans doesn't matter in the slightest!
- Queer character must signal acceptance of their identity through dramatic public announcement: Nick could have done this by kissing Charlie in front of all the other students after running off the field during Sports Day, but instead, his moments of self-acceptance are quiet, intimate celebrations (e.g., Nick telling Charlie he is "definitely bisexual" and saying "Oh my god, I like you so much. And I love liking you" to Charlie on their beach date)
Feel free to add more!