12 LGBTQIA+ tropes we don’t want to see in pop culture anymore

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Queerbaiting in general

When creators and writers clarify that a popular character is gay, lesbian, or bi+ after a series or franchise has wrapped, this can be considered queerbaiting, because it’s an empty gesture that doesn’t actually show that character being LGBTQ — but it intentionally attracts LGBTQ fans to that fandom and franchise.

However, we see queerbaiting more commonly in productions that unintentionally queer-code a character(s) without ever clarifying that character’s sexuality or gender identity. Fans have notably accused Supernatural of this. This trope can take on many forms though.

In regards to the extended Harry Potter fandom, even after J.K. Rowling revealed that Dumbledore has always been gay, neither of the Fantastic Beasts productions touched on Dumbledore’s sexuality. Rowling said he’s gay but didn’t create any tangible content that showcases his open sexuality on-screen, and it’s easy to perceive this as a disappointing, broken promise. Given that queerbaiting can take on multiple forms, it also has a few subcategories to the trope.

Some television shows still wait until the last episode in the series or a season to show their viewers a character(s) is in the community, which ultimately makes the characters’ sexuality a big reveal and diminishes the grandeur (even though many fans already previously shipped the too-little-too-late queer couples before their sexualities become canon on their shows). And yes, you already know we’re talking about Voltron and Adventure Time.

Like in The Walking Dead, queerbaiting can lead to erasure in television and film productions that are based on comics, books, or otherwise. Since fans often read the books and comics before the media congregate to television or film, fans already have expectations about the characters in the production, including their canon sexualities.

Obviously, this subdivision of queerbaiting isn’t exclusive to TWD, as the MCU has suppressed openly LGBTQ characters before as well.

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Honestly, this list isn’t exhaustive and doesn’t account for dozens of other tropes that either wrongfully represent certain identities of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole or perpetuate harmful stereotypes about members in the community. Regardless, we just want to see less tropes in our LGBTQ media in 2019 and beyond.