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Queer Media In 2022: From “Gays Are The Best People” To “These Gays, They’re Trying To Murder Me”

The year 2022 saw mainstream media flourish, making remarkable strides for queer experiences in the wider pop culture. It both served as a testament to the power of the queers, and also taught us important lessons about how to further improve the narratives.

The year 2022 saw mainstream media flourish, making remarkable strides for queer experiences in the wider pop culture. It both served as a testament to the power of the queers, and also taught us important lessons about how to further improve the narratives.

Cinema Stole the Rainbow Spotlight!

In terms of movies, Joyland from Pakistan showed the world what exactly constitutes a queer movie. The movie, following a budding romance between a married man and a trans woman, is a scathing critique of patriarchy and exposes our obsessions with strict gender roles, while also getting back once again to who bears the brunt of all this. In Hollywood, on the other hand, we had Fire Island, which is unlike any other queer movie we have seen in years and was just so much fun. The line “I knew I smelled some bottoms” became instantly iconic. Unfortunately, Bros, which was supposed tobe the first major romcom featuring queer leads, fell apart unfortunately.

The year also saw the queers getting back in the horror genre in They/Them, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Hellraiser, Scream, Nope and Fear Street Trilogy, even extending to shows like Chucky.

However, if a queer movie had to define the year 2022, it would definitely be Everything Everywhere All At Once, which deftly captured so many emotions in a fun, frenzied, and tear-jerking manner. Additionally, Cate Blanchett cemented herself as a lesbian icon in Tár.  

Other movies like Aftersun and All the Beauty and the Bloodshed also garnered acclaim, and TIFF saw the much awaited queer coming of age romance’s premiere in Aristotle and Dante Discovers the Secrets of the Universe, which is expected to hit theaters sometime next year. Amidst headlines of Harry Styles being the ‘King of Queerbaiting,’ the pop star starred in My Policeman in a queer role and the film was absolutely trashed due to his apparent lack of acting skills. While he was teaching us what “gay sex” is or “what constitutes a movie,” Styles’ other movie Don’t Worry Darling was the shit storm for the media this year.

Within India, we had a divisive Badhai Do, an amazing rendition of Cobalt Blue and Madhuri Dixit herself playing an unabashedly queer character in Maja Maa. While things have improved certainly, given the political climate and the opposition to same-sex marriage rights, there’s still a lot to be done. Trans persons’ representation was again at an all time low as Rajpal Yadav portrayed a trans character in Ardh, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui has declared to do the same soon. He also played an effeminate villain in Heropanti 2 which is nothing but long overdrawn use of the gays as evil trope. While Hollywood made attempts and strides, and some major breakthroughs, Bollywood just succumbed to its old tropes of making money over stereotyping.

The Music Was as Unholy As It Could Get

The music scene was as vibrant and gay as it could be. The best queer albums include Dirt Femme by Tove Love, Ivory by Omar Apollo, Muna by Muna, Ugly Season by Perfume Genuis, Night Call by Years and Years, and other works by Dave Cameron and Hayley Kiyoko. But some of the songs that absolutely smashed it were some of the biggest hits seen in a while. This includes Booty by Saucy Santana, Hold me Closer by Britney Spears ft. Elton John (also Britney’s comeback song after the end of her horrendous conservatorship), Chosen Family by Rina Swayama ft. Elton John, and Beg for You, a classic lesbian anthem by Rina Swayama and Charlie XCX.

Troye Sivan also released a couple of songs, and then there was Christopher Street by Kevin Atwater, an absolutely heart-warming and heart-wrenching song. But perhaps the greatest pieces of music were Beyonce’s Renaissance, which absolutely took over the world, and even paid tribute to the black and queer roots of house and disco music. The other one was Unholy by Sam Smith and Kim Petras, which had one of the most memorable hooks and also a stunning music video which will inspire drag looks for a decade. Other releases included Midnights by Taylor Swift, which took over the top ten spots on billboard Hot 100, The Loneliest Time by Carly Rae Jepsen, which is sacred for the gays, and finally the queen Mariah Carey, gaining back her throne as All I want for Christmas is You is again at the peak of Hot 100.  

There were some shows which ended, some for good reason and some canceled outrageously. While The Good Fight ended its stellar run of six seasons, Netflix’s First Kill, a breakthrough for lesbian representation was canceled after just one season, and finally Derry Girls also ended, after giving us one of the most relatable lesbian characters ever. Station Eleven and Our Flag Means Death offered fresh queer perspectives as the former presented a dystopian setting and the latter a hilarious exploration of masculinity in the most outrageous manner possible – through pirates. 

Streaming and Television: The Gays are Trying to Murder Me

HBO’s Euphoria was amongst one of the most talked about shows of the year and perhaps one of the most devastating ones. Other showstoppers include Heartstopper, Young Royals, and Heartbreak High. A worthy mention also because these shows feature queer actors playing queer characters and not just some straight actor in their 30s playing a teenage character. On the animated front, The Owl House and Harley Quinn broadened the scope of queer representation on television, and so did Luca, if read as an allegory for coming out. However, the best of the queer animation was Pixar’s Turning Red, which expand on Pixar’s formula of showcasing adult themes through animation.

While Stranger Things and Uncoupled fell in their queer representation, The White Lotus actually took the crown by having the television’s first sort of happy ending for a lesbian and also exploring the trope of evil gays. Another show that was in the critics list was A League of Their Own. To sum it up, 2022 has been the queerest year we have had in a long while, especially after the pandemic. It marks significant achievements for so many creators from the queer and trans community, breaking barriers, charging new perspectives, and all in all, making sure the future is queer-feminist.

These barely cover the wide depository of queer media we had in 2022. Do comment your favorites or the one we missed out below!

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Rajeev completed their under graduation in Political Science Hons. from Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi in 2020. They graduated with Masters in Women’s Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in 2022 and were a participant at the International Writing Program’s Summer Institute, University of Iowa for the 2021-22 session. They have been the recipient of Mavelinadu Collective’s grant for non-fiction for the first issue of Debrahminising Gender. Their work can be found in EPW, Women’s Link Journal, Shuddhashar, Gaysi Family, Feminism in India and Hindu College Gazette among others. Their research interests include queer experiences, feminist ethics of care, and masculinities.

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