Culture

18 Queer Moments That Prove 2018 Was The Gayest Year On Record

#20GAYTEEN has absolutely lived up to its name.

#20GAYTEEN

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

It’s common knowledge that the last few years have basically been the stray Lego piece beneath the bare foot of queer people. After the last few years, we deserved #20GayTeen.

Between a particularly brutal plebiscite on marriage equality here in Australia, and international events like the Trump administration attempting to reinstate a ban on transgender people in the military, I don’t think I’m wrong to say that we needed cute, beautiful, powerful and moving queerness in 2018.

#20GayTeen: the Twitter hashtag awoken in the very early hours of January 1st has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. From real world victories, to historic representations on our screens, #20GayTeen is the queer agenda in action, reminding us of the small victories.

Below is just a handful of #20GayTeen moments that, in no particular order, have brightened our 2018.

Reminding us all to keep the love, hope, and fight alive. Stay queer!


1. Hayley Kiyoko Invents #20GAYTEEN

With one tweet from Disney-star-turned-music-sensation Hayley Kiyoko, we were ushered into #20GayTeen. A whole year for the queer crew.

In January this year Hayley, dubbed “Lesbian Jesus” by her fans, tweeted out that “It’s our year, it’s our time. To thrive and let our souls feel alive #20GAYTEEN”.

This was indeed the first #20GayTeen tweet, and thus, an era was born. Along with releasing queer anthem after queer anthem on her debut album Expectations, Hayley is living up to her own declaration.

A #20GayTeen list would be remise without honouring the hashtag’s originator.


2. Ruby and Sapphire Get Married

Steven Universe, a Cartoon Network animated children’s series praised for its science-fiction-fantasy world building and queer characters, upped the game this year with the fifth season’s delightful finale.

This 22-minute episode ‘Reunion’ makes this list for featuring the first ever same-sex wedding in a children’s show.

Ruby and Sapphire, two of the shows main characters, have had their life affirming relationship as a central focus throughout the series, as they both “fuse” to form the de-facto leader of Crystal Gems and fan favourite character, Garnet.

While having been together for 5,750 years (and 8 months) these two female-coded nonbinary extraterrestrials or “Gems”, finally commit to one another on their own terms in a touching ceremony led by Steven, who, as they kiss, now pronounces them as Garnet.


3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine Rescued

When beloved Brooklyn Nine-Nine was cancelled by Fox, massive outrage and support saw to it being revived by NBC.

With the show having been praised for its queer characters of colour — the delightful Captain Raymond Holt and Detective Rosa Diaz (gay and bisexual respectively) — this was undeniably a queer triumph for the books.


4. Ángela Ponce for Miss Universe

In June, Spanish model Angela Ponce was named Spain’s Miss Universe candidate, and so made history as the pageants first accepted trans woman contestant.

Ponce’s strength and grace in the face of backlash is a standing mark to her professionalism and message. She told EL PAÍS fashion Magazine:

“I have a very powerful message of tolerance, hope, respect, love for oneself and others.”

What more could you want from Miss Universe?


5. Todd Chavez: Asexual Disaster

Bojack Horseman continued its exploration of well-meaning slacker Todd Chavez’s asexuality with his new girlfriend Yolanda.

Like Todd and Yolanda, some asexual people are sex-averse, and it is refreshing to see a representation of an asexual character navigating romantic relationships and determining their boundaries, something many ace people can relate to and something until now, rarely seen on screen.


6. Mac Finds his Pride

Having come out last season for a $10,000 scratchy, the season 13 finale of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia sees Mac struggling when the gang demand he dances on their commercialised Patty’s Pub Pride float.

Instead, Mac journeys with Frank to ‘find his Pride’ determining he needs to come out to his father his way instead of being in the parade. In lieu of boorishness and jokes, we end up with a truly raw and exquisitely choreographed five-minute piece of interpretive storytelling by Mac to his father and prison buddies backed by Sigur Rós’ haunting ‘Varúð’.

There’s no punchline, no irony. Just a gay man having finally found his own pride in a way he is comfortable with sharing. Very Un-Sunny but in the best way.


7. Yukio and Negasonic 4 Eva

Not only was Deadpool’s sequel a strong return for our favourite pansexual merc, but DP2 showcases the first openly queer superhero couple in cinema.

Though Negasonic and Yukio’s screen time is all too brief (with some truly delightful scenes making their way into the director’s cut) the couple shines in a way that is so casual and understated, that Disney’s LeFou “parade” needs to pay attention.


8. Miss…Vanjie

Miss Vanessa Vanjie Mateo left an indelible mark on season ten of RuPaul’s Drag Race and worldwide, as, after being eliminated she left the stage, walking backwards, saying “Miss Vanjie… Miss Vanjie… Miss… Vanjie”.

Honestly, the most prevailing queer meme of 2018.


9. Holland’s History Making Debut

K-pop was changed forever back in January when Holland, an openly gay and emerging South Korean artist, released his single “Neverland”, a love song describing his own romantic experiences. Both “Neverland” and its music video massively increased the normalisation of homosexual representation in K-pop, opening up pathways for more queer K-pop artistry in the future.


10. Rafiki shatters Box Office Records

Despite being banned in its home country of Kenya for spreading ‘gayism’, Rafiki a film about a lesbian relationship in a country where queer people face extreme persecution as consequence of colonialism, is now up for Oscar consideration, and has won three awards in two US film festivals.

It is a film not to be missed and we can hope, with all our queer hearts, will see wider release.


11. Love, Simon and Box Office Success

Based on Becky Albertalli’s debut YA novel, Simon Vs the Homosapien’s Agenda, Love, Simon portrays all of the unique challenges of coming out, being gay and falling in love in high school with none of the gimmicks or cringe.

Love, Simon kicked off the trend of romantic comedies this year being more inclusive and timely than ever before.


janelle monae pynk

12. Janelle Monaé = Everything

In her May cover story of Rolling Stone, Janelle Monaé came out as identifying with both pansexuality and bisexuality.

Monaé’s bisexual lighting-illuminated ‘Make Me Feel’ video also was a highlight of the year, kick-starting bi-themed memes, while her Pussy Pants from ‘PYNK’ are just about the most beautiful thing this queer has ever seen.


courtney act celebrity big brother

13. Courtney Act Caught in the Act

Australia’s own Drag Race Alum, Courtney Act conquered Celebrity Big Brother UK, delighting housemates and audiences alike with her likeability and charm.

Though she spent quite a bit of her time in the house educating her housemates and the UK public on gender and identity politics, Courtney also at the announcement of her winning, accidentally flashed her tuck to thousands.

A true-blue Aussie: laughing it off and still being fabulous all the while.


14. Bert Loves Ernie

In an interview with Queerty, former Sesame Street writer, Mark Saltzman, confirmed Bert and Ernie were indeed, written as a couple.

Although a few days later the Sesame Workshop issued a public statement denying the canonicity of this pairing, the internet took drastic action, quickly informing Sesame Workshop that actually, Harold, they’re all queer!


Doctor Who

15. The Thirteenth Doctor

With a completely energised budget, a great gang of found-family companions and beloved TARDIS, actress Jodie Whittaker has not let fans down with her portrayal of the enigmatic genderfluid Doctor.

Poignant, funny, educational and more exciting than ever, the thirteenth Doctor is here, queer and spelling ‘rejuvenation’ for the long running sci-fi series.


16. Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette

Aussie comedian Hannah Gadsby has received world acclaim for her Netflix special, Nannette, released earlier this year.

Speaking to sexism, homophobia, assault and mental health, Nannette completely uprooted the expectations of a comedy special, hitting like a lightning bolt.

The special also landed Gadsby a truly adorkable moment at the Emmys.


17. Canon Bubbline

Throughout the last ten seasons of Adventure Time, ever since their earliest encounters fans, crew members and casual viewers have believed in Bubbline; the relationship between Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen.

In the year of our lord #20GayTeen, without baiting or humouring queer fans, Adventure Time delivered. A powerful end to a ground-breaking, long time show. The kids really are, alright.


Queer Eye

18. Queer Eye

In February, the world became easier to face with the release of the newly revamped and updated Queer Eye on Netflix, featuring a whole new Fab Five; Antoni, Tan, Karamo, Bobby and Jonathan.

I don’t know a single person who hasn’t fallen for the Fab Five’s charms, and been warmed by their quest to improve the lives and self-esteem of a diverse array of “heroes” across the US.

Queer excellence indeed.

Jes Layton is @AGeekwithaHat, writing, drawing and discussing queer-nerdy things in Melbourne.