This article was published on November 8th, 2022
In the past month, Kit Connor, who has become a queer fan favorite for playing a queer character – Nick Nelson, on the extremely popular gay Netflix series Heartstopper, faced queerbaiting allegations after a video of him holding hands with a female costar went viral.
The backlash he faced was so severe that he had to delete his Twitter account. Later, on Halloween, he returned on Twitter and posted, “Back for a minute. I’m bi. Congrats for forcing an 18-year-old to out himself. I think some of you missed the point of the show.” Although the circumstances in which the actor had to come out were less than ideal, he still got plenty of support.
Now, you must be wondering how queerbaiting allegations are so severe that an 18-year-old had no other option but to come out before he was ready. Keep reading to learn about queer baiting and its consequences on the LGBTQ+ community!
Queerbaiting is a practice of implying gay or lesbian relationships (in a TV show or movie) to engage an LGBTQ+ audience or generate interest without ever actually depicting such relationships. Queerbaiting has become an effective marketing strategy used by TV shows or movie makers to engage a larger LGBTQ+ audience in their content.
Today, anyone pretending they belong to the LGBTQ+ community when they are not can be accused of queer baiting. Many people have assumed queerbaiting to be a term of the modern era. However, the history of queerbaiting stretches far further back.
Queerbaiting is an effective marketing strategy used to bait and tease queer and trans individuals into watching a particular show or movie. To most people, it might sound silly, and many might believe it does not work. Who will engage in a show just because there is a small sequence of potential queer couples on the series? More people than you could ever imagine.
The number of queer individuals is increasing day by day. However, many young people still have not discovered their sexuality yet. Just imagine a scenario – a young individual that is yet to discover their sexuality is watching television. The moment that individual sees queer representation on TV, they see themselves. They feel understood. They accept themselves for who they are because they know that others are doing the same thing.
However, they soon know that the characters they see are not queer. Instead, they are simply part of a storyline that has tricked them into feeling invested. They feel invalidated. Also, there are various TV shows or movie scenes where females or males are drunkenly exchanging a kiss with same-sex people only to laugh it off in the morning. First, they hint at a queer storyline, and later, these characters fall for opposite-sex characters, and that’s it. Queer experimentation is done.
The LGBTQ+ community watching these scenes feels teased, mocked, or insulted. The storyline in which they were emotionally invested was just a strategy to make them watch. Recently, the LGBTQ+ community has been demanding actual queer representation in media. They want queer actors to be seen in roles and storylines made for queer people.
However, most TV shows or movie makers are just busy manipulating the labels to their advantage. Instead of showing actual queer representation in their TV shows or movies, they are just tricking them into engaging in false storylines and characters. It is because of queerbaiting that there is little to no queer representation in the media industry.
What are your thoughts about queerbaiting in today’s media? Let HomoCulture know your thoughts in the comments section below!