This one isn’t explicitly queer. And yet… queer folks fly to it in hordes. It’s a fun show with compelling characters, an interesting story, and hilarious self-awareness.
There are a whole lot of reasons for why queer folks might enjoy and even project onto it. We have a vague understanding of how much rarer fraternal twins are in comparison to identical, so a lot of people headcanon Dipper as a trans boy (combined with the fact that he doesn’t give his legal name in any conversation). For some, it’s the aspect of found family and the bonds between them.
There is one gay couple in the show (and pretty much everyone saw it coming from day one thanks to good coding). Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland. The disaster police officers who care so deeply about each other that they refer to each other as “my Durland” and “my Blubs.” The reason why they are not shown to be married in show is because the company producing the show wanted to be able to have the show air in Russia and China. Queer-coding was the best that we could get while assuring that the point got across.
Fanfiction is important to how we as a community are able to express our creative abilities and also give other people in the community a place to experience loving/smutty/ridiculous couples that we would otherwise never get.
The Legend of Korra had… a lot going on. Both sortywise and in production. It was a sequel series of Avatar the Last Airbender so there was already a lot of pressure on it. It went through four different production companies. At some point it was literally pulled off the air. And still it continued on, because it had a story to tell.
When the finale was coming out, a lot of people were under the presumption that Korra, the main character, and her original love interest, Mako, were going to have their happily ever after in the same way that we got Aang and Katara’s at the end of Avatar. This ship was called Makorra by most fans.
But then surrealy, we had something else entirely.
In the last few moments, Korra and Asami, a former flame of Mako’s and resident kick-ass, share a moment of tender conversation. Words cannot express how intense this moment was for fans. So here’s a video of one of the first animated bi couples.
And never forget the most popular Legend of Korra post on Tumblr.
There’s always been issues with anime and the American localizations. Whether it’s something as casual as 4Kids replacing cigarettes with lollipops or calling onigiri donuts in the dub, there has always been something for us to laugh at in localizations.
But there is one thing that transcends cringy adjustments and falls into the what the ever living shit category. Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. In the original Japanese version of the show, the two were lovers. No holds barred. They were two women in love with each other and dedicated to fighting for good in the world.
The English translation made a big change. In the original English version, they decided to make them cousins. But didn’t change any of the animation. Which means that all of the times that the two casually flirted were… not changed. This had some worse implications than the original “worry” about exposing a lesbian couple to children. This persisted in the series’ show and films.
Years later, VIZ media redubbed the show and stayed truer to the original content, restoring some deleted scenes, and kept the couple as just lovers instead of the implied incest.
Something that has always bugged me in post-apocalyptic settings is that suddenly there is the expectation that queer folks either don’t exist or are somehow more concerned with the biological continuation of the human race instead of their self. Or if they do keep to their orientation, they are dramatically sacrificed for the greater good of the (usually cishet) group, thereby proving that they cared about furthering humanity all along.
Granted, this assumes that there’s queer characters in post-apocalyptica at all. Part of the issue is that for ages, anything related to the queer community has been put into the specific category of queer content only. The desire for artists of all kinds of media to create compelling stories featuring queer characters had to weigh getting the story out there versus having the main character be queer.
The Handmaids Tale, first published in 1985, focuses on a straight character but includes her best friend, a lesbian woman. While the main idea of the story is the subjugation of women, there is also a brief explanation of what happens to queer people, referred to as “gender traitors” in this dystopia. Men and women alike are killed for their identity in this setting that values Christian fundamentalism is they are queer. It is assumed that this is definite for trans folks as much as it is for anyone who shows their sexual preference. In the cases of lesbians, it is possible that they may be sent to a place called the Colonies, an irradiated area where “non-persons” are sent to clear up radioactive waste, men and women alike. While this is also a death sentence, it is seen as far more cruel than outright being executed.
Part of the problem is that speculative fiction shows which covers post-apocalyptia is almost always based off of books or short stories. They are expanded on and bring the worlds to people who would have otherwise not read the original texts. And the literary world is fraught with people like this who make it difficult to publish queer dystopias at all. There are filters that limit what we get to see on screen that are filtered by what producers want to pick up that are filtered by stories that get to be told. When we put a limit on trivialities like how many identities make up an individual (which only ever seems to be a problem when it comes to inclusion), we are limiting how many amazing stories we get to consume in the long run.
How do I begin to express how much I love this particular show? You want a sports anime? Here you go. You want peak gay? Here you go. You want slow burn? Here you go.
Yuri!!! on Ice is refreshingly not about teenagers falling in love. It’s been a while since that’s happened for queer relationships. This is a love story about a Japanese man and a Russian man who are incredibly dense and somehow still manage to propose to each other on the exact same night. Not only that, but the love story isn’t just romantic. It showcases love of a partner, family, and the self.
I highly recommend it to anyone looking for compelling characters and some good laughs. Especially if you struggle with severe anxiety. It also carries incredible queer energy that could suplex a bear. And that’s just from episode one.
We knew this was coming. We need to have that talk.
The word itself now feels chaotic.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I watched almost all of it in high-school. My mom, brothers, and I piled into my mom’s bedroom and watched it together because what else do you do with dumpster fire shows? We did the same thing with Lost. I was much more invested in the show than they were, but I didn’t know why yet.
There’s a lot that Glee did wrong. We know that. There’s a lot they did right too. But something that I think we can all appreciate is that it was there with constant gay drama when no one else was. We got Kurt from the very beginning with all his twink power. Rachel with her two dads. Santana and Brittney loving each other so much.
But there was one scene that got me in more ways than one.
Unique definitely lived up to her name. While her character wasn’t always handled well, this scene struck a lot of chords in a lot of people. Especially during the time when bathroom bans were the norm. She was a complex character. The writing for her was on par with everyone else. Which means that while she may have done some questionable and Not Good things, it was always something that literally any other character could have done. It was her struggle that set up the conversation about transphobia and how we can stop it. And that we aren’t alone in the fight.
The show opened up a lot of doors to a lot of conversations. From stress to STDs to transphobia to rape culture. It wasn’t afraid to try to talk about topics that are frankly relevant to a lot of American highschoolers. Granted it is way more over the top than my (and nearly anyone else’s) high school experience ever was.
The representation in this show led to a lot more of an understanding in how queer characters should be treated. Either because the show did things very well or because they clearly had no idea what they were talking about. And the nice thing is that as weird as it sounds, we were able to see break-ups. We were able to see how it is to be the only queer kid in your grade and have to deal with regrowing after high school because now you can be you. We see kids coming out and being accepted. We see them not. The queer kids were given the same treatment as the straight ones. They got to sing out their drama just as much as anyone else did.