Throughout the series, it is hinted that Justin Foley, who is played by Brandon Flynn, may be gay. He is seen kissing another boy in a bathroom stall and is also implied to have sex with men. It is unclear if he does this regularly or not but it has lead fans to speculate whether or not he is homosexual in real life.
Despite the fact that the show deals with a lot of sensitive issues, it has been criticised for its lack of understanding on some of them. One of these instances involved the depiction of HIV and its progression to AIDS in season 4. The controversial ending saw the character, who had contracted the virus through his sex work, die from the disease. The scene was blasted by many fans, who believed it to be an unrealistic portrayal of the illness and was hurtful to those suffering from it.
Dylan Minnette, who plays Clay Jensen in 13 Reasons Why, has spoken out against the way that the character was killed off. He says that the show has always tackled difficult topics and that they should be able to do so without being hurtful.