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Aired Sep 15, 2022

Queerbaiting, Rainbow Washing, or Bi+ Erasure?

Bisexual+ erasure is a pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in regard to an individual or as an identity) is questioned or denied outright. As we head into Bisexuality Awareness Week (September 16-23) and Celebrate Bisexuality Day (September 23) it is important to consider the ways that queer coding, queerbaiting, and rainbow washing (and accusations of all three) in media can feel a lot like bi+ erasure.

We hosted a conversation about this article as a part of PFLAG Connects and Something to Talk About Live on Thursday, September 15. Did you miss it? You can still watch it here!   

Article: Harry Styles Walks a Fine Line

Source: New York Times

Author: Anna Marks

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Have you heard the term “queerbaiting” before? What about “rainbow washing?” If so, do you think you could explain what those terms mean to others? If not, where could you go to learn more? With what you know, how do you think conversations about queerbaiting fit into larger conversations about rainbow washing?

  2. How can LGBTQ+ media consumers find representation in mainstream content while also being mindful of queerbaiting in storytelling? How can audiences be critical of media that they love and have found inspiration in?

  3. Do you think that accusations of queerbaiting sometimes demonstrate a misunderstanding of LGBTQ+ identities (particularly bisexuality+)? Do you have any recommendations for people that would like to better understand the way that people use – and don’t use – labels to describe themselves?  

Bonus Resources: Check out “Queerbaiting – exploitation or a sign of progress?“ from the BBC by Holly Honderich and “Cardi B Shuts Down “Queerbaiting” Claims by Reminding Everyone She’s Bisexual” from them by Samantha Riedel

About Our Guests:

Raina Deerwater, Entertainment Research and Analysis Manager, GLAAD Media Institute

Mackenzie Harte, Learning and Inclusion Coordinator, PFLAG National

Nicole Kristal, President and Executive Director, Still Bisexual

Ways to Watch:

Also available on Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Something to Talk About Live is a series designed by PFLAG National’s Straight for Equality program to create conversation about LGBTQ+ issues. Each week we offer an article on LGBTQ+ topics and suggest a few questions you can use to lead a discussion with your ERG, community group, or PFLAG chapter.