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Queerbaiting--if you're queer yourself, you might already know what this harmful marketing tactic is. Queerbaiting is shown most commonly on TV but can be seen in books, music, and any other type of media. You may already know that queerbaiting is bad--but what exactly is queerbaiting? In this wikiHow, you will learn what queerbaiting really is and how to avoid queerbaiting in stories you write.

Section 1 of 4:
What is queerbaiting?

  1. It's a bait-and-switch technique that hints at queerness but never shows it. You might have seen this in movies or a series, since it's quite prevalent on television. Queerbaiting is a "bait-and-switch" technique of drawing in viewers by hinting at a character's queerness, but it's never actually shown. As mentioned, it's a marketing approach to gain more viewers, which seems like a good thing--but it's a lot more harmful than most people would think. [1]
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Section 2 of 4:
What's the difference between queer coding and queerbaiting?

  1. Many people often get confused by the terms "queer-coding" and "queerbaiting" and don't know what the difference is, but the two are very different.[2]
    • Queerbaiting: When an LGBTQ romance or queerness is "hinted" at but isn't actually portrayed. For example, when two women in a TV series often flirt with each other but never get into a relationship or state that they are interested in each other. Queerbaiting is always negative.
    • Queer coding: When characters are not officially proclaimed to be queer, yet there is enough subtext for an audience to interpret them as queer. For example, a male character wearing makeup each episode of a TV series. Queer coding isn't necessarily negative or positive, but when it's used too much in media, it can be harmful.

Section 3 of 4:
Why is queerbaiting harmful?

  1. 1
    It may cause young viewers to assume that there is little LGBTQ representation and feel isolated. Young people who identify as LGBTQ and view media with queerbaiting can feel inadequately represented. These sorts of bait-and-switch techniques also exacerbate the mental health concerns that queer people are already more prone to encounter, such as depression and anxiety. When queer youth don't see themselves reflected in media, it can be isolating.[3]
  2. 2
    It's invalidating to LGBTQ people. When same-gender attraction or LGBTQ identities are suggested but never shown, this can be invalidating for people who identify as LGBTQ. Queerbaiting is a way to "sweep" LGBTQ identities "under the rug;" this is very invalidating to queer folks.
  3. 3
    Queerbaiting is considered an attempt to "erase" queer identities. When characters are hinted at to be LGBTQ and then aren't actually shown to be, or never state their identity, this can appear as a way to "erase" queer identities by showing same-gender attraction or being LGBTQ as "a phase" or "not a real thing".
  4. 4
    It allows firms to benefit from deceptive marketing to the LGBTQ community. Queerbaiting also contributes to the LGBTQ community's stigma, since it inhibits society from viewing LGBTQ individuals as just normal, everyday humans functioning in a culture where they can live happy, healthy, normal lives out in the open.
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Section 4 of 4:
How can I avoid queerbaiting in my own writing?

  1. 1
    Don't be afraid to write queer characters and relationships. Many cisgender and/or straight writers are "cautious" or don't want to add LGBTQ characters to their story because they think they will misrepresent queer-identifying people. Writing a queer character or relationship is nearly the same as writing any other characters or relationship.
    • However, there are some things you must keep in mind to write LGBTQ characters respectfully and properly. Check out How to Make a Fictional LGBT Character to do this.
  2. 2
    Make character relationships clear. The character's friendship and relationship should be made clear in your story. For example, if two guys flirt with each other throughout your story and clearly like one another, make them a couple at the end. If a character likes their best friend and flirts with them, but their friend doesn't feel the same way, have one of them say they aren't interested in dating. Don't make a character have a love interest and leave the reader hanging.
    • Remember that questions about love interests and relationships should be answered by the end of the story. The reader should be able to read your story and say something like, "two guys were in love with each other and finally decided to go on a date at the last chapter of the story," not "two guys were in love and flirted, but they never actually started dating."
  3. 3
    Try to include one or two same-gender couples in your story. This is a simple way to add LGBTQ representation to your story. Try having a story character talk about their partner in a conversation, or make a primary character bring her girlfriend to a party.
  4. 4
    Add a least one known queer character in your story. Make at least one queer character in your story, and have them clearly state their identity or sexual orientation. Avoid "beating around the bush" with their identity as the story goes on because this is what queerbaiting truly is.
  5. 5
    If the main character isn't queer, add a few LGBTQ background characters. Have one or more of the main character's friends, peers, family members, colleagues, or teachers mention that they are LGBTQ or in a same-gender relationship. Simply having one character that is (openly) LGBTQ can make all the difference for inclusivity in your story.
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  • Question
    One of my main characters is bi, but she won't come out or get in a relationship until the second book. I want to foreshadow it in book one, so it doesn't come out of nowhere but I'm worried it'll seem like baiting. Help?
    Nico
    Nico
    Top Answerer
    There are several different options for you. Here are a few examples of what you could do to avoid queerbaiting: 1, have your bi character talk to herself with monolog about her sexual orientation; for example, she sits on her bed and says, "Now isn't a good time to come out. I should wait a little longer." 2, you could have your character point make a joke about her sexuality with dialogue between her family/friends, but never explicitly state that she's bisexual. 3, she could be shown researching bisexuality on her computer. There are many different approaches you could take without queerbaiting. See if you can come up with an idea that fits the story.
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      About This Article

      wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 22,370 times.
      115 votes - 41%
      Co-authors: 5
      Updated: June 14, 2022
      Views: 22,370
      Categories: Writing | Fiction Writing
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 22,370 times.

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