Emmerdale has been praised by gay rights charity Stonewall for its hard-hitting portrayal of life as an LGBT person in prison.
Last week, viewers saw one half of fan favourite couple ‘Robron’, Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller), jailed for assault, just a day after marrying partner Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) in the garage where they first hooked up.
With Aaron now in prison, the ITV soap is exploring the very real issue of homophobia behind bars. The mechanic initially decided to keep his sexuality a secret to avoid being targeted by fellow inmates, but was shown standing up for other vulnerable prisoners being abused by menacing inmate Jason.
Despite going back into the closet behind bars, Aaron’s secret was discovered in Wednesday night’s episode (March 1) when Jason spotted Robert touching his leg when he paid him a visit, leading to a tense confrontation and potentially much more serious problems to follow…
Responding to the dark new storyline, Stonewall, the UK’s leading LGBT charity had praise Emmerdale for shining a light on homophobia in different settings.
A spokesperson for Stonewall told Digital Spy: “Gay men experience homophobia in many different parts of their lives, whether at work, in school or in their local communities, and it’s great to see Emmerdale tackling the abuse that lesbian, gay, bi and trans people continue to face.
“It’s vital that all prison staff are trained in how to prevent and tackle anti-LGBT behaviour, and that all public institutions take pride in promoting diversity and inclusion.”
Unfortunately, it seems that Aaron’s problems in prison are only set to increase as abuse at the hands of his fellow prisoners ramps up over the coming weeks. We’re just hoping our favourite mechanic makes it out the other side…
Emmerdale continues tonight at 7pm on ITV.