"I’m Pretty Sick Of The Blink-And-You’ll-Miss-It Queer Content": 24 Tropes People Are Tired Of Seeing In Stories About The LGBTQ+ Community
"The trope that I most wish would go away is the one that says that girls only kiss other girls to get attention from guys."
1. "I would LOVE to see the gay person be the main focus and the straight person be the quirky best friend!"
2. "Only representing a small fraction of the LGBTQ+ community, i.e. straight-passing (usually white) cisgender gay men in leading roles and labeling it as progressive/diverse/queer. Looking at you, Call Me By Your Name, Love, Simon, God's Own Country, and the upcoming Bros (count the last 20 popular gay films/TV shows and 90% follow this 'trope'). This is basically saying that only gay men who can conform to masculine heteronormativity get to be the lead in their own stories, while the rest of us are non-existent or get sidelined as one-dimensional supporting characters. It's harmful and creates a toxic hierarchy within the gay community wherein the closer you are to these unrealistic straight boy standards, the better."
—Anonymous, 29, New York
4. "I'm so tired of the 'homophobic jock was gay the whole time' trope. It's become a lazy way for writers to make a sympathetic antagonist, and it normalizes the bullying of LGBTQIA+ kids. Internalized homophobia is real, but I hope the media can come up with other ways to highlight that experience, not just taking it out on people around you."
5. "I’m so sick of there being zero asexual representation in the media. The very few characters that are ace are seen as frigid or loveless."
"No representation for asexual or demisexual people, or when it does exist, it's something that needs to be 'cured,' like in that awful episode of House, M.D., or it's used to infantilize the characters, often with their virginity being a sign that they're not a 'real' man or woman yet, and their character's growth is tied to them finally having sex. Which also ignores the fact that while some ace and demi people are virgins, not all of us are."
6. "The trope that I most wish would go away is the one that says that girls only kiss other girls to get attention from guys. When I kiss another woman (even if it's in public!), it's because I want to kiss that woman and I don't give a rat's ass what any guy in the vicinity thinks about it!"
—Anonymous, 42, Wisconsin
7. "I'm tired of queer characters being forced out of the closet to create 'drama.' Being outed against your will is an incredibly traumatic experience and I've yet to see a film/TV series that gets it right. Even Love, Simon, which everyone hails as an accurate portrayal of being a gay teenager, got this 100% wrong. Not only was Simon outed against his will by a blackmailer who was never punished, but all his friends abandoned him, blamed him, and expected him to apologize for not being ready to be open to them. When you're a teen in the closet, people finding out who you are is pretty much the scariest thing that can happen to you, and it can go so, so wrong if it does happen. It's about time movies and TV series stopped treating it as an easy plot twist for queer characters."
—Anonymous, 34, United Kingdom
8. "I’d love more trans or nonbinary characters, especially ones that have an actual personality. There’s been a few popping up here and there recently, but most of their storylines have just been about their gender, without any other storylines."
9. "The overrepresentation of the gay Asian/POC man with no personality and life of his own as a plot device or token. It mostly feels like 'We need diversity! OK, let's make this minor character POC and gay!' As the result, he usually shows up as a white secondary character's mostly silent partner. Hey creators, gay Asian wo/men, trans Asian wo/men, bisexual Asian wo/men, ace Asian people, and co. actually exist. Each has a personality, life, interests, and flaws. Enough with tokenism, please. I'm also pretty sick of seeing a queer Asian/POC character being paired with a white character to justify their existence. Like a young queer East Asian/POC couple can't possibly exist. It feels like creators aren't willing to feature a POC character without involving a white character."
10. "Throwing in that a character is queer and then doing nothing with it. Again, lazy diversity points. I want to see this person date, have crushes, get married, all of it. If they're bi or pan I want to see them date multiple genders, not just opposite-sex people."
"They did this with Loki and with Noah from Law & Order SVU (I know he's, like, 11) where it's said in the show but if you didn't hear it you'd never know these are supposed to be queer characters. Either put up or shut up."
11. "I’m pretty sick of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it queer content (that has NOTHING to do with the plot and can easily be edited out) in a blockbuster movie, and then studio executives patting themselves on the back for how inclusive and groundbreaking they are. Looking at you, Disney!"
12. "Those same-sex female relationships are usually a 'we were best friends and then fell in love' story. That has never been my experience as a queer woman and it diminishes the reality that same-sex female relationships can begin with a sudden spark, just like hetero relationships."
13. "I hate the 'you discover your sexuality through sex' trope. I am a 21-year-old gay guy who’s never kissed another man, never so much as held their hand romantically! But I still sure as hell know I like men. Also, in the same vein, not all queer people have extremely active sex lives. Me never having banged a guy doesn’t make me less gay, or a lesser gay."
—Anonymous, 21, North Dakota
14. "Every LGBT story doesn’t have to be a coming of age or coming out one! So many LGBT stories focus on the coming out process or the character discovering their sexuality. Yes, that is something we all go through, but a lot of us did that years ago and don’t necessarily want to relive it over and over. I want to see what comes after!"
15. "I am personally over these tropes: Queerness being represented in 'traditionally masculine' settings. Please, no more gay cowboys or farmers or cattle ranchers. Gayness being represented in sports. I'm gay. In no way shape or form did I participate in sports in high school, so why do I always feel like everything is about the closeted gay playing football? Where's the show about the gay art kid? Or theater nerd?"
"I'm also over the media not portraying 'flamboyant' gays and people with 'gay' voices: We need more 'gay' voice actors in leading roles and in stories about gay people."
16. "I'm tired of almost every lesbian story on TV or film being almost exclusively femme for femme. Where are all the butches??? Masc people have and always will be such a big part of the community and shouldn't be left out of the stories we tell."
—Anonymous, 25, Illinois
17. "I'm sick of the trope of bisexual and pansexual characters being very sexually adventurous and experienced. I have no problem with being sex-positive and showing some characters this way. But some of us are pretty boring, don't have much sexual experience, prefer monogamy, and don't do threesomes. Again, no judgment if you do, but I have a hard time with online dating because so many people make assumptions about me being into threesomes or just looking for hookups when I am looking for a romantic partner of any gender."
—Anonymous, 34, New York
18. "That every LGTBQIA+ story needs to include struggle and bigotry! People need to take a page from Schitt's Creek and Heartstopper: Let queer people exist with no bigotry. Show the world you want to see. We don’t need another story of a queer person's rights being infringed upon."
19. "Queercoding as a story device or a big 'AHA' moment later on. It's a cheap way to not actually tell a queer person's truth. Let the character be themselves fully from the get-go."
20. "As important as the films are for representation, we need to reexamine films like Love, Simon and Blue is the Warmest Colour, which were obviously written for a heteronormative gaze. Being gay isn't something that needs to be adjusted to be 'palatable.'"
21. "I've seen that 'a-gay-teen-in-a-small-town-with-no-other-gays-around' plot so many times I'm legit sick of it now. Yes, okay, it's a pretty common situation, but not the only one possible, huh?"
22. "That all gay men are well-groomed, well dressed, and know every Cher/Madonna/pop song in existence. Some of us act just like a 'normal straight dude' would act. That stereotype becomes very harmful because it sets an expectation that you can only be gay if you fit the stereotype."
"Also the 'gay best friend.' I will immediately shut you down if you qualify me as 'gay' in any way. I’m either your friend or you’re a stranger to me."
—Anonymous, 36, Ohio
23. "That trans women are disgusting and that trans men don't exist. Every trans-fem character I've seen is a tease for the main male character to be horrified, and I've never seen trans-masc characters (and the ones I've seen have extremely tragic stories)."
—Anonymous, 15, Uruguay
24. And finally: "I think enough lesbians have been killed off that we can refrain from doing that again for the rest of cinematic history."
—Anonymous, 35, California