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Queer Coding, Explained | Hidden in Plain Sight

An elusive figure stalks film and TV history, with an ambiguous sexuality that’s only hinted at. Enter: The Queer Coded Character. For many years when queerness couldn’t be spelled out onscreen, recognizable signifiers, tropes and stock character types like the maiden aunt or the confirmed bachelor sent a message to in-the-know audiences. Today, queer coding continues in the form of queerbaiting, which panders to a queer audience through teasing romance but never delivers, for fear of offending any homophobic viewers. Here’s our Take on the history of queer coding, and why for the love of Sappho it needs to stop.