What is Queer-baiting?

Queer-baiting is the term used to “describe a tactic where a queer relationship is hinted at [in today's media] to appeal to the queer market, and then is denied.”

Although this is a relatively recent sociocultural phenomenon, its effects are not limited to the LGBTQ+ community. When the powers that be create homoerotic tension between two characters without following through, an audience's perception of reality is altered to conform to the idea that homosexuality “never leads to anything more.” In other words, the more queer-baiting occurs, the more we are led to believe that homosexuality is just an idea (equivalent with a television or movie trope) that will always exist in the realm of experimentation.

It's easy to say that this is just a way for fans to complain about why Character A belongs with Character B. The truth is, the individuals that have brought this into light really are onto something important. Although there is nothing wrong, in and of itself, with simply wanting to see your favorite characters in a relationship in your favorite universe, the fact that people are speaking up for the reality of LGBTQ+ relationships is quite a powerful statement about the evolution of society.

Slowly and steadily, media is growing inclusive of minorities for main roles. We are lucky to see all-female-created shows like Hulu's "Harlots," and Netflix's "Orange is the New Black," which stars actresses of various ethnicity (and makes an effort to describe their hardships in society). However, what we don't have enough of, by far, are healthy portrayals of homosexuality between anything other than cis-women.

Why the Imbalance?

It's quite simple. Homosexual cis-women (or cis-women simply engaging in homosexual acts) appeals to the dominant heterosexual audience just as heterosexual relationships do.

It seems society is not yet ready to own up to its treatment of ALL minorities. The media still pretends to cater to us all, but it still has a long way to go. The best thing we can do is continue to speak up and make them realize that we are here to stay.