The queer nickname, 20gayteen, for 2018 was first penned by former Disney Star Hayley Kiyoko when she dropped her music video for “Curious,” and just as expected, her album Expectations was just as gay. With so many other viral queer moments we have experienced, from music videos to the big screen, 2018 is truly looking to be the gayest year yet!
Hayley Kiyoko’s Expectations
We started out the year with a bang, and if you haven’t watched “Curious,” you are missing out! “Curious” explores the pressure those on the LGBTQ+ spectrum experience to conform to society. Kiyoko expressed her personal experience dating women who feel pushed to create a facade around their sexuality and the struggle lesbians specifically feel to date men and follow expectations that are placed on the American woman.
The music industry has had predominantly rigid heteronormative stances on love songs, which is why a group of artists decided it was high time there were LGBTQ+ inclusive wedding songs. Universal Love is an album comprised of rerecorded iconic wedding songs, such as “He’s Funny That Way” instead of “She’s Funny That Way” by Bob Dylan. Artists such as Kesha, St. Vincent, Kele Okereke, Valerie June, Benjamin Gibbard, and Bob Dylan have banded together to fight for equality in the music industry. This album is available on all streaming platforms now.
Disney Channel’s First Openly Gay Character
Joshua Rush, Disney channel star currently playing Cyrus on Andi Mack, has been very open about the importance of queer representation in children’s shows. Disney channel was able to consult GLAAD, PFLAG, and other queer resources in order to create an accurate and openly gay character. You can check out Andi Mack Fridays at 8 pm ET.
That said, the Disney Channel isn’t the Only TV Station Including More Queer Characters.
The Freeform drama Shadowhunters, based on The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, has been congratulated for their queer accomplishments and even won Outstanding Drama Series during the GLAAD media awards. Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr.), a “freewheeling bisexual warlock” of Brooklyn, is in a committed relationship with Alec Lightwood (Matthew Daddario), the head of the Shadowhunter Institute. This pairing, fondly called “Malec” by fans, has broken many gay, bisexual, and interracial stereotypes. Shadowhunters also covers other queer topics such as asexuality and familial relationships after coming out. Shadowhunters season 3 started in March, and you can watch it on the Freeform app!
A Queer Superhero
CW’s new hit superhero show, Black Lightning, includes a Lesbian superhero Thunder. In an interview, Nafessa Williams, who plays Anissa, actually compared her discovering of powers to coming to term with her sexuality, making for a unique and fresh take on the modern queer discovery. Black Lightning can be found on the CW app.
Netflix Comedies Have Open Talks About Sexuality
Netflix’s series One Day at a Time was newly renewed. This series follows a family that struggles with balancing cultural differences and explore topics like mental illness, religion, sexuality, and gender identity. Season 2 is now available on the Netflix app.
This teen drama revolving around queer topics made a big splash in the box office. The story follows Simon Spier, a gay teen who has yet to come out to his family and friends, as he falls for an anonymous internet friend. Queer representation is extremely important, especially in films, so go see it theaters!
Harry Styles’ “Medicine”
Harry Styles, known most popularly for his part in the boy band One Direction, recently went on tour with his song “Medicine.” Styles not only sings with a pride flag, but “Medicine” includes the lyrics “The boys and the girls are in / I mess around with him / And I’m okay with it.” Styles is one of the few groundbreaking vocalists that are not conforming to the heteronormative music industry and we should applaud him for his accomplishments on his first tour as a solo artist.
Janelle Monae’s “PYNK”
Janelle Monae’s “PYNK” music video uses vaginal images to address complexity in queer theory and gender identity. Although she has not directly discussed her sexuality, she has expressed support of the queer movements. Her upcoming album Dirty Computer is rumored to include more vulnerable topics in the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Keiynan Lonsdale “Kiss the Boy”
Actor Keiynan Lonsdale released a new queer anthem “Kiss the Boy” and is currently working on a music video. Lonsdale is very open about his sexuality and also acted in the queer film, Love, Simon.
These are the top queer highlights of 2018 so far and it’s only April; it only gets queerer from here!