Is Francesca in Bridgerton gay? With more great representation in the show, this expert shares how to start the conversation around sexuality with your teen if they’re watching

The series is a good starting point for important chats with your teen

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 302 of Bridgerton
(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Is Francesca in Bridgerton gay? It's a question many are asking, offering an opportunity to have conversations around sexuality with your teen if they’re watching - our expert shares the best ways to start.

If you've wondered whether to let your teenager watch Bridgerton season 3, there's no easy answer and your decision will be based on many personal factors. If you do choose to let them tune in, Bridgerton offers the chance to open up conversations around important topics - the big Eloise and Penelope fight gave parents the opportunity to discuss navigating difficulties in friendships. 

With the series continuing to offer great representation, it's also paved the way to chat about coming out, by teasing the possibility Francesca might be gay. Teens tuning in won't be unfamiliar with the concept of being LGBTQ, but might find talking about it a challenge. We discuss Francesca's sexuality and share expert help from sex and relationships expert, Dr Tara Suwinyattichaipornon around getting the conversation flowing about it if you've been tuning into the show with your teen.

Is Francesca in Bridgerton gay?

Francesca might be married to John Stirling, but Bridgerton showrunner Jess Brownell, has confirmed the character will have a relationship with a woman - with her love interest being Michaela Stirling. For those wanting to know if she's gay, Francesca's precise sexuality is yet to be labelled. Her path to marriage was slow and apprehensive, already leading viewers to believe she might not be entirely comfortable with the prospect of a commitment to a man. 

In the series finale, Francesca confides in Violet that she still doesn't feel she knows herself, hoping marrying John and going to Scotland will alleviate these feelings. However, when she's introduced to John's cousin Michaela, Francesca blushes and is openly flustered by meeting the new arrival. 

This is a deviation from the books, where John dies and Francesca becomes close to his cousin, Michael. The character Michael has been flipped to Michaela, to add the inclusive angle to the storyline. Jess Brownell spoke to Glamour about making the change, and her thoughts on it.

Jess said "So the first time I read When He Was Wicked, which is Francesca's book, I really related to it as a queer woman. Her book talks a lot about how different she feels, and I think Julia Quinn's intention in the book is just that Fran feels different because she's introverted. But for many of us in the queer community, that sense of feeling different is a part of our stories."

She adds "I felt like there was fertile ground thematically in her book to nod toward telling a queer story. There are also some elements of her story that allow us to make sure we can tell a pretty happy ending for Francesca and Michaela. It was important for me in telling a main queer story for us to be able to give them a happily ever after, as we have with every other couple."

She concludes "Going forward, I'm hopeful to tell a very nuanced story about Francesca having two great loves in her life."

How to start a conversation with your teen about sexuality

Dr Tara shares the following expert tips for broaching this subject with your teen:

  • Start with a question – this might be unexpected but if you want to keep an open and healthy channel of communication with your children about sex, you need to give them space to share their ideas. Ask your teen what they already know about sexuality, how do they feel about what they’re seeing on tv, what is their current understanding about what’s going on and the character’s sexuality.
  • Approach this topic in a sex-positive way or at least in a neutral manner – making sure that you don’t talk about sex and sexuality in a shameful manner is key. If you act like talking about it is taboo and inappropriate, then it may cause your teen to feel ashamed talking about their own sexuality. The tone of your communication is important.
  • Talk about diversity of sexual orientation - but also be up front that you don’t know everything – share with your teens that people have different sexual orientations, and it depends on who you’re naturally attracted to. For example, Francesca might be bisexual because she’s attracted to women and men.
  • Treat it as a dialogue – an ongoing two-way conversation is healthy. Talking about sexuality with your kids isn’t a one-way street that you have one time in your life and you’re never mentioning it again. You want to create a healthy ongoing conversation so that your children feel safe coming to you for insights and advice. You can say “hey I know it might feel confusing sometimes as a teenager figuring out who you are, but I am here and will always be here to listen to you with love and acceptance.”
  • Share credible resources – a part of this conversation is saying “hey I’m not an expert but if you want to understand sexuality and sexual orientations more, try reading this.” You can share this Kinsey Scale for scientific explanations about sexual orientations.

For more on the Bridgerton universe, one Bridgerton star has very famous parents and you'll definitely recognise them. Bridgerton filmed in some beautiful spots, and some of them are open to the public. If you're searching for unique names, these Bridgerton baby names fit the bill perfectly. 

Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn
Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn

Dr. Tara is a tenured professor of relational and sexual communication, and quantitative research at California State University Fullerton (recieved her tenure at the age of 33), an award-winning researcher, expert on Celebs Go Dating, and the host of Luvbites by Dr. Tara Podcast that focuses on sexual wellness. Her work has been featured in ABC News, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health Magazine, Insider, and other media outlets. 

Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.