Author: Melanie Litwin


Nobody Owes You a Coming Out: Unpacking the Internet’s Fixation With “Queerbaiting”

Online discourse is overrun with suspicions of sexuality and accusations of “queerbaiting.” But, like many terms thrown around online, its meaning has become diluted and convoluted. While the exact origins of the term “queerbaiting” are not easily defined, it was previously primarily used to describe fictional characters who are teased as queer but are never explicitly or canonically queer, thus creating a false promise of representation that is never delivered. In this way, queerbaiting is a manipulative marketing strategy to bring in queer audiences without actually providing genuine representation. Some well-known examples of queerbaiting in popular media include TV shows Sherlock and Supernatural, as well as JK Rowling’s claims that Dumbledore is gay—even though this is not actively present in any Harry Potter content.

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