in entertainment, it is the practice of hinting at same-sex romance or attraction without actually depicting it. For example, a television series in which two male characters form a close bond where there are sexual or romantic connotations or suggestions, but the romance or sexual element is never actually developed.
Celebrities have been accused of queerbaiting, too – that is, using Queer identity and love as a marketing technique: one such example may be a heterosexual singer that sings about being interested in somebody of the same gender, or being suggestive with other people of the same gender in music videos or performances – essentially, being Queer for show (also known as being a fauxmosexual).
Using Queer identity as a marketing technique trivialises Queer identities, particularly when it happens at the hands of cishet people who have very little knowledge of the experiences and journeys of Queer people; particularly when heterosexual entertainers play with the idea of being bicurious or bisexual as a ploy or marketing technique (or indeed, to appeal to LGBT+ fans), it further encourages the biphobic idea that bisexuality isn’t a legitimate, real orientation, and merely a fashionable fad.
Of course, being suggestive rather than explicit also happens between opposite-sex characters, and it is a form of dramatic tension in narrative arcs; and so not all examples of sexual or romantic tension between characters is, in itself, a deliberate act of Queerbaiting.
Originally published: 13th December, 2020
Last modified: 13th December, 2020