What Is Queerbaiting?

What Is Queerbaiting?

Do TV shows and movies really want to deceive and lie to their fans? Yes.

President Obama recently proclaimed the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village a national LGBT+ historical site. During NYC Pride, Joe Jonas was invited to speak about the Orlando shooting in the LGBT+ nightclub, Pulse. Joe Jonas is a straight, white, singer-actor while a majority of the victims of the nightclub were not straight, were not white, and were not singer-actors.

Before I go further it should be mentioned that I will switch between LGBT+ and queer. They do not mean the same thing for everyone, but for ease of language they will in this context.

Joe Jonas is one of the more recent examples of the term “queerbaiter.” Queerbaiting is when a piece of media or a person uses queer subtext or introducing an LGBT+ character to appeal to LGBT+ audiences and in doing so they showcase how “proactive” and “accepting” they are. Joe Jonas performs at LGBT+ clubs and strips in front of his audiences at those clubs. He talks about his friends giving him drugs and accidently getting a boner. But guys, Joe Jonas has affirmed his heterosexuality time and time again.

Other examples are the CW show "Supernatural" and the MTV show "Teen Wolf." "Supernatural"queerbaits by providing subtext between the characters Dean and Castiel, even though their sexualities have not been proven to be anything besides heterosexual. "Teen Wolf" introduced a good handful of LGBT+ characters and killed them off (Ethan) or never gave them screen time so the actors had to move on (Keahu Kahuanui).

Believe it or not, but a lot of shows do queerbait just to get audiences. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" used queerbait tactics with the friendship of Buffy and Faith teetering on the line between lovers and friends. "Rizzoli and Isles," the detective show on TNT, uses queerbait tactics to show the love that Rizzoli has for Isles while the creators are adamant that the women are heterosexual. The BBC’s "Sherlock" is another heavy example of queerbaiting because it shows two heterosexual men in a domestic relationship usual associated with a heterosexual couple.

For movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) uses queerbaiting with the relationship between Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers. While Marvel has many LGBT+ characters in the comics, they seem to be lacking in the MCU and that’s a real shame since there is a petition to give Captain America a boyfriend.

Shows that have LGBT+ characters, depending on the production company, tend to not last as long as shows that do. The rare few that do last past a few seasons are diamonds in the rough. As with female characters and characters of color, LGBT+ characters are generally written by straight and cisgender writers.

I could go on and on for a while about what shows queerbait and why it’s detrimental but for now, I’ll leave with this. If a TV show has queer subtext, it’s queerbaiting. If a show has an LGBT+ character with little to no screen time, it’s queerbaiting.

Cover Image Credit: i.ytimg.com

Popular Right Now

30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The 2020 Race Is Feeling The Bern

Everything you need to know about Bernie Sanders entering the presidential race.


This morning, February 19, 2019, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders announced he is running for president once again.

Unlike his run in 2016, though, Sanders now joins a crowded field of progressive candidates, one of which is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In Sanders's own words, this campaign is "about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life". Sanders went on to say that this is a "pivotal and dangerous moment in American history," and "We are running against a President who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction".

In his interview with CBS, Sanders explained that it is "absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated", and described candidates whom he is running alongside as his "friends".

Regarding policy issues, his focus remains the same as in previous years, planning to focus largely on women's reproductive rights, lower prices for prescription drugs, and criminal justice reform.

Sanders is also widely recognized because of his goal of universal healthcare. His Medicare-for-all bill that was drafted in 2017 outlines the establishment of a "national health insurance program to provide comprehensive protection against the costs of health-care and health-related services". According to estimates, however, such a plan would increase federal spending by $2.5 trillion a year.

When it comes to education, Sanders plans to make preschool for all 4-year-olds free, aiming to fund this plan through tax increases on the wealthy as well as Wall Street transactions.

More widely acknowledged is his "College For All Act", which would provide $47 billion a year to states in order to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Additionally, the act would cut student loan interest rates nearly in half for undergrads.

In terms of social issues, Sanders is pro-choice when it comes to abortion rights and opposes policies which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, such as Trump's push to ban transgender people from the military.

The New York Times discusses the idea that the political field of the 2020 run might leave Sanders a "victim of his own success", in that the multitude of Democratic candidates are embracing policies which Sanders championed in the last race.

"Ironically, Bernie's agenda for working families will be the Democratic Party's message in 2020, but he may not be the one leading the parade," said talk show host Bill Press.

Moreover, victories by women, minorities, and first-time candidates in the 2018 midterm elections suggest that "fresh energy" is preferred by Democrats, which potentially poses a challenge for Sanders.

Conversely, though, Sanders is also starting off with certain advantages, such as a "massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined".

Donald Trump responded to Sanders's announcement by saying, "First of all I think he missed his time, but... I like Bernie. He sort of would agree on trade... the problem is he doesn't know what to do about it. But I wish Bernie well."

By and large, Sanders is another strong candidate, and it will be interesting to see if he can generate the same energy and support now that he did in 2016.

Related Content

Facebook Comments