Queer Baiting on YouTube and Other Mediums

I saw this poem posted by Ashley Mardell, an LGBT+ YouTuber known for her ABC’s of LGBT+ series (which will also be a book) and other videos, and I thought it would be good to share.

It’s about “queer baiting” which is a term for when someone who isn’t LGBT+ uses clickbait-like phrases in their YouTube titles or other mediums such as “I MIGHT BE GAY?!?!?!” or “COMING OUT” making people think they’re coming out as LGBT+, but then say they’re coming out as straight, cisgender, lumberjack, or really anything that one wouldn’t really “come out” as.

Words to the poem:

Stop Coming Out.

Stop it.

If you’re not L or G, T, A, or I, unless you’re bi, pan,
If you can confidently, unquestioningly, unqueerly, clearly say, You. Are. Not Gay. Aka you are straight.
Then stop “coming out”.
In your thumbnails, in your titles, in your clicky/queer bait,
I hate that you take Oct 11*, as if it’s yours.
It’s not. This day in no way you belongs to you.
And, you may be unaware b/c everything else does. You get everything else.
That is your privilege.
You’re she/her him/his cisness goes unquestioned, while I am an isthmus of mystery surrounded, no trapped between everyone else like you.
Note that no one stutters with your pronouns, no one shutters at pictures of you and your partner’s wedding plans.
You are not a gender bender, were born with orientation that happens to conform with sexual norms.
And honestly. It feels wrong to admit, but in the pit of my most truthful stomach, I can’t stomach how am jealous of you I am.
How zealously jealous I am, of the of the judgment you’re spared,
I am scared, if I could taste the convenience of being a straight cis/het I might regret being me.
This is why coming out, years ago, was HUGE.
Trembling, tearful, tentative teetering on the tip of maybe losing everything, huge.
So when you inappropriately appropriate a piece, a moment of queer culture so intimate to my personal narrative,
Oh, It rattles my bones.
You encroach on what you don’t understand, and worse exploit it.
Commercialize, capitalize, sensationalize lies, and saucy possibilities for social gain.
Believe, when I came out, I was not exciting for clicks or cash.
Yet you can cavalierly brand a vlog,
“First Kiss a girl” or “I’m gay?”
You filmed platonic day date with your mate – still you pose for a faux kiss?
Grabbing a thumbnail still seconds sooner than you both giggle and pull away…why? CAUSE YOU’RE NOT GAY.
You lazy, fucking, scammer.
My coming out was accompanied by panic attacks,
Your fake coming out was born out of disrespect for me, disrespect for your audience, and the hope of subscribers.
Talk about trivializing.



*October 11th is National Coming Out Day.


UPDATE: I made a typo and said ‘bating’ instead of ‘baiting.’ My bad.


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