Queerbaiting aside, a person’s true sexuality is no one else’s business 

In social media celebrities, influencers called out and canceled for queerbaiting

As someone who identifies with the lgbtqia+ community, I feel there is a topic that needs to be talked about to educate people who are not part of this community.

That topic is queerbaiting.     

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s basically when someone pretends or hints that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or another non-binary status, or are attracted to someone who is, even though that is not true. They may even claim to be in a relationship with someone of the same gender or a non-traditional gender.

The term is thought to have been first used about a decade ago on Tumblr by fans critical of television shows that teased a gay attraction between characters. 

Members of the lgbtqia+ community (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual etc.) have their own stories about queerbaiting.

Sadly there is not much lgbtqia+ representation in business, entertainment or the media, and when there is, it is not portrayed well. As a result, companies, television series, films, and even celebrities have used queerbaiting to mimic lgbtqia+ people for laughs or to get attention or to make money. In short, to benefit themselves from a false representation.

I’ve recently experienced someone queerbaiting in high school. The other day in my second period class at De Anza High School, my teacher asked the class what students had a girlfriend Several boys raised their hands. And so did one girl.

What caught my attention was that a girl confidently raised her hand and said she has a girlfriend as well, and “came out” to the class as a lesbian. 

Everybody else was pretty shocked whereas I initially felt proud that she was confident doing in that front of the class because, for example, someone who is a gay Latina can’t openly come out, even if they wanted to because Latino families are extremely religious and homophobic.       

It turned out there was less than meets the eye about the girl who did “come out.” She sits next to me in my algebra class and she was telling everyone about how she had said in the other class that she was a lesbian as a joke (she later said that she is straight) and everyone believed her and was talking about how “it was so funny.”

This is a perfect example of queerbaiting because that student manipulated everyone into thinking she was part of wlw (women loving women), but it was just for her benefit — getting attention and providing entertainment. She is 100 percent straight. 

Today, in social media some celebrities and social media influencers are getting called out and canceled for queerbaiting. But some critics are taking it a bit too far. 

For example, the singer Harry Styles was accused of  queerbaiting just because he wears feminine clothing and nail polish.  

Harry himself has said several times that he is unlabeled and it is wrong to assume someone else’s sexuality. Harry may be doing a good thing by showing society that clothes don’t have a gender. 

Another example of a celebrity being accused of  queerbaiting is teen singer Billie Eilish. I have mixed feelings about this “scandal.” Basically, she posted a picture on Instagram with the caption “I love girls.”

 Now, this bothered some people (including me) because she has said several times that she is heterosexual. I have now come to realize that when she claimed she was heterosexual, it was a pretty long time ago and she was still young. Over time, she could have discovered her sexuality and just doesn’t feel comfortable about coming out, or doesn’t know how to come out. It’s fair to surmise that Billie doesn’t like labels and believes her sexuality and other people’s sexuality are none of our business.

The moral of the story is that the predominate view in today’s society, which most of us are taught, is that a person is automatically attracted to someone of the opposite sex and is heterosexual. And if they hint at any sort of queerness then they are accused of  queerbaiting. 

Who are we to assign sexualities to other people? We should let people be who they are. 

However, if someone identifies as heterosexual and constantly acts queer for laughs or attention that is a problem. Altogether, what we can do as people is educate ourselves and other people about topics like this so we can all understand each other better and make the world a better and safer place.