We were told that 2018 would actually be 20GAYteen and guess what? The world of genre really lived up to that moniker.
From comic books to film, there has been a lot to celebrate under the queer rainbow this year. There have been weddings and daring escapes and even little queer babies. Queer characters have come out and queer actors and creators have, too. Longtime coded queer characters have become openly queer, and canon queer characters have gotten even queerer. There really isn’t much that can be said to redeem this garbage fire of a year, but we queers, we held it down in 20GAYteen.
No matter if your year has been stellar or really rather terrible, we’ve gathered the 18 shiniest, sweetest, silliest, queerest genre moments of 2018 all for you because, in our eyes, you’re doing great, sweetie.
Choni breaks out of a gay conversion camp on Riverdale
When you’re a teenager in the wild, wild world of Riverdale, you’re used to handling pretty adult situations. Whether it be serving as a capo for a mob boss or running your own night club, them’s the breaks in this sleepy little murder-town. Even our favorite bisexual couple collectively known as Choni (Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz), face more than their fair share of issues, but they reach the epitome of cool and queer when Toni helps Cheryl break out of a gay conversion camp. That’s right, you little queer queens, you just run away from those wicked nuns and get your love on! #LoveWins
Super Drags is here to take it up town
The totally over-the-top, somewhat bizarre animated Netflix series Super Drags premiered, bringing us the fabulous, raunch-loving queens Lemon Chiffon, Scarlet Carmesim, and Safira Cyan. Department store retail workers who turn into magical, super-powered drag queens, these queers have all the fun. Whether battling megalomaniacal hags or celebrating the “highlight” that makes each queer person so special, these ladies look good—and fight dirty.
Aneela, Del Seyah Kendry, and D'avin have a baby on Killjoys
When your clone is pissing you off, your girlfriend is hot, and you find a dude with the right kind of super-powers, there’s really only one path forward: Combine your genetic material with that dude and impregnate your girlfriend, duh. At least, that’s what we assume Killjoys’ Aneela was thinking when she combined her genetic material with D’avin’s and put that soup o’ human in her main squeeze, Del Seyah Kendry. Due to the “weird” nature of both Aneela and D’avin’s physiology, their little fetus grows to maturation way too quickly and then as a human in the world, grows even quicker. The whole thing is strange, off-putting, and a good reminder of why you shouldn’t anger Aneela.
Vampirella finally gets to be out
For approximately one million years, comic book creators hinted at Vampirella’s queerness. Earlier this year, however, new issues (collected into Vampirella Volume 4) appeared, containing the exploits of the sexy, blood-sucking alien—and she has a girlfriend! The two meet when Vicki Vincente gets caught up in one of Vampirella’s fights, this time with bat-wielding clowns. Later, Vampirella and Vicki are kidnapped and taken to Vampirella’s home planet, Drakulon, where it seems that Vicki has betrayed Ellie, her pet name for Vampirella. (Can you believe Vicki calls Vampirella “Ellie?” How freaking cute is that?!) In the end, though, only Vicki’s love can save Vampirella. Seriously, it’s all just too sweet.
Eleanor is out on The Good Place—and not just for laughs
The Good Place is all about philosophical dilemmas, human potential, and corrupt systems. It’s also about the redemption of four (sometimes alive, sometimes dead) people including our favorite Arizona dirtbag, Eleanor Shellstrop. Eleanor has kind of always been queer-ish, but Season 3 finally saw Eleanor’s sexuality not only confirmed but also not treated as the butt of a joke. There’s some debate within the OMG-YAY community about when exactly the show turned the corner and started treating Eleanor’s sexuality as a real, integrated part of her versus a running gag, but it’s safe to say that on the whole Season 3 is a refreshing change of pace. While we’re all pretty big fans of Cheleanor (Eleanor and Chidi), we can’t pretend we don’t want to see Teleanor (Eleanor and Tahani) grace our screens.
Dreamer becomes the first trans superhero—and she’s played by a trans actor
Nia Nal, aka Dreamer, made her adorable arrival on Supergirl this year. Not only is she the first trans superhero on TV, but she’s also portrayed by trans actor and activist Nicole Maines. Nia is intelligent, passionate, and eager, a willing and thoughtful mentee to Kara Danvers in her life at Catco. The icing on the cake with this delightful addition to the Arrowverse is that Nia inherits her powers from her mother, as do all Naltorians—a beautiful affirmation of trans identities.
Marvel’s Runaways retcons Karolina and Nico’s relationship definitively for the better
If you’ve read the Runaways comic books, you might recall cringing a lot when Karolina falls for Nico. Let’s just say things go poorly. In the Hulu TV adaptation, however, that’s not the case. Shortly after Karolina busts her way out of the closet, she kisses Nico, who immediately reciprocates. If that wasn’t enough, after a wild climactic fight with their supervillain parents, Karolina and Nico share a tender moment before they make out some more—and, this time the kiss is initiated by Nico. Their cute queer flirtation just might make your heart explode in a glittery spray of d'awww.
Ruby Rose brings a queer AF Batwoman to the Arrowverse
After dealing with a lot of stupid BS about whether she was gay enough to play Batwoman, Ruby Rose delivered an exciting performance in the Arrowverse crossover event “Elseworlds.” When she meets Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, and Kara Danvers visiting from other Earths, Kate Kane is wildly unimpressed and tells the trio to get packing. Since the disappearance of both Bruce Wayne and Batman, who could not possibly be connected to one another, Kate has considered this to be her town and assumed the vigilante identity of Batwoman. She’s tough as nails, hot AF, and very, very queer in her tattooed-to-the-skies arms and Hannah Gadsby-worthy blazer.
Dirty Computer, Janelle Monae, and Tessa Thompson are a queer rainbow of awesome
Janelle Monae owned 2018, but she didn’t do it alone. Tessa Thompson also had a banner year. Monae released her remarkable, queer album and sci-fi emotion picture, Dirty Computer, which starred Thompson (who also appeared in Annihilation, Sorry to Bother You, and Westworld). In Dirty Computer, a woman is on the run from an authoritarian government that wants to wipe away her memories. It’s a delightful tale of freedom and resistance. Plus, it turns out that Monae and Thompson are in some kind of enlightened, freedom-loving relationship where they “vibrate at the same frequency” and both also came out. Monae famously proclaimed herself to be a bisexual/pansexual “free-ass mother*cker.” Damn. Now that’s how you do 2018.
Snagglepuss becomes an homage to Tennessee Williams
At the beginning of the year, D.C. released a six-issue miniseries featuring Snagglepuss, the popular cartoon cougar known for his bright pink coat and flamboyant mannerisms. Long accepted as a coded queer character, in this new miniseries, “Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles,” Snagglepuss’s sexuality is explicitly acknowledged. He’s a closeted playwright during the McCarthy era and along with his success comes the attention of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
Thunder rolls...onto Black Lightning
From the moment Anissa Pierce appeared onscreen in Black Lightning, every queer woman held her breath, waiting for the moment this unabashedly queer black woman would get her powers. And, wow, did their arrival not disappoint. The daughter of the hero Black Lightning, Anissa’s powers manifest suddenly, giving her the ability to manipulate her body’s density. That may sound like small potatoes, but Anissa, now Thunder, uses her abilities in stunning ways, rendering herself impervious to bullets and sending shockwaves by stomping (or clapping) really hard. She’s bright, beautiful, and protective, having a passion for justice and intolerance for bullies. Though we’ve seen sadly little of the two onscreen, Anissa and Grace Choi, cutie bisexual and possible future hero, have adorable chemistry. We can’t wait to see what unfolds for these badasses.
The Magicians' Eliot and Quentin have a magical life elsewhen
While trying to solve an impossible puzzle on The Magicians, Eliot and Quentin spend a lifetime in Fillory, though it’s the Fillory of the past. That wasn’t their intention, they have friends back on Earth who need them after all, but once it’s clear that solving the puzzle will take a while, they settle in for the long haul. One night as they look up at the stars, Quentin kisses Eliot and the two, who have hooked up before, begin a queer life together. Even as Quentin meets a woman who he has a child with, it is Quentin and Eliot who send that child out into the world. What a beautiful queer family! (Now, if only we could get a substantive Queliot romance during the main timeline…)
The whole story takes place in a single episode: Season 3, Episode 5's “A Life in the Day.” Watch it.
Ezra Miller serves lewks on the red carpet of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
The things that should be queer about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald may not be, but that didn’t stop Ezra Miller from bringing his absolute A-game to the red carpet. He served gender-neutral lewks that could stop a Dementor in its tracks. He also kept his outfits ridiculously on theme, printing the Avada Kedavra killing curse on his palms in black, a contrast to his white, feathered outfit inspired by Hedwig. Miller understands his power and harnesses it on the red carpet—to the joy of us all.
Annihilation's queer glory
Annihilation’s whole jam is queer from the way the light moves inside the shimmer, to the way nothing is as it seems, to the way Anya (Gina Rodriguez) brings soft butch goodness to the big screen. Add to that the appearance of the oh-so-sexy Tessa Thompson as Josie and you’ve got all the trappings of a fun, queer sci-fi epic. Unfortunately, Anya and Josie aren’t in a relationship, but that won’t stop us from shipping them!
Incredibles 2's Voyd, queer fangirl of the year
Incredibles 2 came out this year, bringing the Parr family back to the big screen, but this time Mama’s the one in the super suit. As part of her super life, Elastigirl, aka Helen Parr, meets other supers including the effusive, awkward, relatable AF Voyd. Stunned to be in the presence of Elastigirl, Voyd cannot help but confess her admiration for the hero, words tumbling out of her mouth as she shares not just her excitement but her coming out story. Sure, she’s technically coming out as a superhero, but who’s to say she isn’t also coming out as queer? As far as we’re concerned, Voyd is the queer fangirl of our hearts and of the year.
Wynonna Earp's Jeremy meets his boyfriend Robin
On Wynonna Earp, Jeremy Chetri has survived an inordinate amount since his arrival in Purgatory, home of revenants and demons and way too much death. After all that hardship, Season 3 finally takes Jeremy on a romantic adventure of his own. No longer pining after Doc, Jeremy strikes up a conversation, and later a tender relationship, with Robin Jett, a wonderfully brilliant, woefully out of place forest ranger who took the first job available to move back home to care for his sick father. Of course, the Big Bad meddles with their relationship by turning Robin into his pawn, but Jeremy helps him free himself. Robin then integrates into the Earp crew, situating himself firmly in the hearts of Earpers everywhere. There’s a lot of mystery still around Jeremy and Robin, and here’s hoping Season 4 will go deeper into the characters’ backstories. (And superpowers?!)
Steven Universe's Ruby and Sapphire get hitched
When they find out that the friend who encouraged them to get together lied to them for millennia, things get tense between Ruby and Sapphire. Together, Ruby and Sapphire fuse into Garnet, one of the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe. With Ruby and Sapphire at odds, it seems like Garnet might be gone for the time being. After the two Gems take some time apart, they realize that all they really want is to be together but to be together by choice, for them, not for anyone else. Their adorable wedding is a real tearjerker, made all the more emotional by Steven’s choice to give his frenemy Bismuth another chance at freedom. The cherry on top is the fact that a children’s animated show portrayed a gender-bending queer wedding, one that ends with Garnet refusing, wearing a wedding outfit that’s a real showstopper.
Constantine saves the world by kissing his boyfriend on Legends of Tomorrow
John Constantine has really come to life since his show was canceled. He’s joined the crew of the Waverider on Legends of Tomorrow and, more importantly, he’s no longer forced into the closet. Even on his guest appearance during Season 3, Constantine’s swagger and gender-inclusive flirting had been restored. Season 4, however, takes Constantine’s queerness to new onscreen heights. Constantine gets his own storyline during which he tries to rectify a past mistake which resulted in his boyfriend, Desmond, being dragged into hell. Fixing that mistake makes the world much, much worse and Constantine has no choice but to reinstate the timeline. How can he do that? With a perfectly timed kiss, of course.