Take the Last Bite

Snapbacks. Rings of keys. An inability to sit properly. We all know a queer trope when we see one but where do they come from? And what’s the line between a queer stereotype and a queer trope? We take a bite out of queer stereotypes with Justin Drwencke and Danielle Kropveld from the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity. 

Additional Resources & References  

For questions, comments or feedback about this episode: lastbite@sgdinstitute.org 

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Host: R.B. Brooks, they/them, director of programs for the Midwest Institute for Sexuality & Gender Diversity 

Cover art: Adrienne McCormick

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What is Take the Last Bite?

Take the Last Bite is a direct counter to the Midwest Nice mentality— highlighting advocacy & activism by queer/trans communities in the Midwest region. Each episode unearths the often disregarded and unacknowledged contributions of queer & trans folks to social change through interviews, casual conversations and reflections on Midwest queer time, space, and place.

For questions, comments and feedback: lastbite@sgdinstitute.org

To support this podcast and the Institute, please visit sgdinstitute.org/giving

Host: R.B. Brooks, they/them, director of programs for the Midwest Institute for Sexuality & Gender Diversity

Cover Art: Adrienne McCormick

Hey hi hello y’all, this is R.B., your Midwestie Bestie who is craving some foraged morel mushrooms and hoping to score some soon. Welcome to Take the Last Bite, a show where we take Midwest Nice, serve it a perfectly seared steak, then giggle as it watches in horror while we slice that steak to reveal it’s actually cake.

Today’s episode is an entertaining and thought provoking chat about queer stereotypes and how they’ve evolved over the last few decades. But first I want to talk about some tropes that aren’t very queer, but we’re trying our hardest to change that.

Comedian Sunny Laprade make a couple of TikToks in early April joking that Dylan Mulvaney was an interesting choice as the face of Bud Light because she’s more of a wine spritzer gal, and when Dylan commented swearing on Cher’s grave that she does in fact enjoy beer, Sunny fired back challenging Dylan to a warm beer shotgun duel and reminding Dylan that since Cher is not dead, she didn’t believe her.

I deeply wish this had been the only variety of pushback Dylan had received for her paid partnership with Bud Light. Unfortunately, anyone with a social media account of any kind knows she’s been the latest recipient of an anti-trans dogpile for her advertisements with the beer brand, as well as Kitchen-Maid and Nike.

What folks may be less familiar with is some of the steps Bud Light’s parent company Anheuser Busch InBev has taken since the initial wave of public commentary on the ad with Dylan. If you head on over to our Take the Last Bite TikTok I’ve already got a few posts up about InBev’s latest statements, changes, and responses (well, kinda).

So let’s talk about some key bullet points so far:

About two weeks after the video featuring Dylan came out, Anheuser Buschs’ CEO posted a statement that didn’t mention the actress at all, and didn’t address either of the quote unquote sides of the online outcry– leaving neither the seething transphobes or the Dylan Mulvaney fandom particularly clear on the company’s stance.

Shortly after this, there were some personnel and structural changes done to the entire marketing division at Anheuser Busch, a move that reportedly placed senior marketers closer to every aspect of the brands activities– aka made them more directly involved in division-wide decision-making.

Dylan went mostly MIA across social media until re-emerging recently to confirm she was doing alright, making the best of this situation and learning a lot.

On May 4 during some kind of corporate money-related meeting, the CEO said that it was too soon to tell what kind of financial impact the sponsored ad would have on the company’s overall earnings and made a point to emphasize that it was “misinformation” to call the video a campaign.

One key point I discuss in my series of posts on the Take the Last Bite TikTok is that right around the time this sponsored ad came out and people were all talking about this piddly little beer that tastes like stale water– the Missouri Attorney General put forward the emergency rule that largely would largely restrict trans adults’ access to gender affirming care.

What folks may also not know is that Anheuser Busch is headquartered in St. Louis Missouri. And I speculated – what would it look like if this highly profitable company– that makes its money from something frivolous and in excess of anything any human needs to survive– used its resources and fought for trans rights in the state it calls HQ?

But as more non-responses from the beer company’s figureheads roll out, more time goes by allowing folks to forget about the blue can with Dylan’s face on it or the aggressive displays of toxic masculinity over a fucking beverage. To quote Frederick Douglass “power concedes nothing without demand.”

Our conversation today delves into the ways we’ve been taught to understand how society views and treats queer and trans people– the roots of stereotypes and how they’ve morphed into and come out of political talking points of our opposers as well as the craft of queer and trans people to establish our own tropes as a way to recognize each other through clever cues that only we can interpret– our own secret languages and patterns.

Prepare for some cringey throwbacks to a show where high schoolers break out into song while Jane Lynch tries to destroy them…. On this episode of Take the Last Bite


Why can't we be in space with hundreds of other queer and trans folks and having these necessary conversations?

When it comes to dynamics around privilege and oppression, and around identity. Well intentioned isn’t actually good enough.

How far is too far to drive for a drag show? I don’t know, we’re in Duluth right now, I would straight up go to Nebraska, probably,

If you are not vibing, or something’s not right, or also like there’s an irreparable rupture, you have absolutely every right to walk away.

Definitely going to talk about Midwest Nice and if that's as real as it wants to think it is.

Midwest nice is white aggression. That's what it is.


All right, fam, let's go ahead and get started on this dreary Friday morning for me. I don't know what it looks like for y'all, but it's it's looking kind of doom and gloom, so we'll have a, you know, as cheery of a conversation as we can have, but maybe maybe the weather is a sign that this is this is just kind of like a very complicated conversation, but we'll make it. We'll make it light. Make it. So we're going to talk about stereotypes and tropes of queer folks today. So I felt like a really promising way to maybe start that conversation was just to go ahead and do some introductions and talk about maybe what is a queer trope that is actually on brand for you. So I can start just to model kind of. What I mean by? That so for me the first thing that comes to mind is kind of the like, snapbacks and tattoos queer trope. I own many snapbacks. I probably bought one in a while. I'm overdue. I don't wear them nearly as much because I I put a lot of investment. For my hair, but uh definitely need my snapbacks and then definitely covered in tattoos. So I feel like that's a pretty. Trope for me. What about y'all?

Hey there, I'm Justin. My pronouns. Are they them. I'm back, back, back again.

Oh my God.

There are two things that came to mind. One, all gays watched drag race and though I spent a long time not watching Drag race because it was largely inaccessible, I've definitely caught up on all of it. And now my partner and I religiously watch every iteration of Drag race, and partially because, you know, we've watched everything else that there is to watch on TV. It's like, OK, we've watched all of Netflix. Next, the other thing that comes to mind also is that gays can't sit. And I do not sit.


In a chair properly, that is true.

I definitely am there too. I had just definitely just had my leg draped over my chest as the weirdest way, and we'll adjust probably 16 times while we sit here.

That's fine. Like my chiropractor can fix it.

Hi, I'm Danielle. I'm back. My pronouns, are they them. And I'm also a gay who can't sit. I that that same that same energy also I have the the side shaved hair. I also used to have like really brightly dyed hair, so that that's also like part of the the thing I fit into. I just got a new office. There, so I do not have that problem right now with the sitting but.

I really want that chair that I've seen. Right online. It's the one where you can kind of like sit with your legs crossed while like at your desk, but I also. Feel like as. A big kid. I don't know how trustworthy I would find that. So the search continues for.

Yeah, I'm also not about to spend $400. On a chair.

OK, that too, that's that's super true. Yes, I'm definitely a free furniture acquisition advocate in always shapes and forms the.

Another truth.

Chair I'm currently. I'm currently sitting on iPhone wandering around my apartment building from someone who moved out and it has served. Me very, very well. Except for the fact that my cats are turning into a cat scratcher. Having cats, animals, though I'm still adamant I'm not a cat person, so I'm not claiming that one yet.

Not a cat person, but you have. Two cats.

I love them, OK? I mean, my cat person, not just like, a universal cat person. That's what I'll stand by anyway. Instead of coming for me.

Maybe we can have.

Uh, this conversation. So this has been on like the list of, like, running ideas. For a while and. Wasn't sure exactly how to dip into this, but I feel like something must have sparked just the idea of knowing Once Upon a time, like when I was a college student. For example, in undergrad like just there was a lot of resources and kind of language out there around different types of especially gay stereotypes. I'd say too, I should probably point that out, but just kind of maybe. Resource guides or in college I attended quite a few, like different types of workshops and trainings that talked about misconceptions of LGBTQ people generally, and I I think about what some of the talking points. Or then versus kind of what we see now and what we are experiencing as queer people and? Just kind of. Wanted to talk about. The shifts and changes in evolution, even just in the past, maybe end of 20 ish years like the late 90s to now frame of time of like what? What has been? Kind of common or discussed stereotypes. What we're seeing now, maybe some resurgence of talking points from the early 90s or the you know, 90s and before. So I guess the. Question there right is just like what are maybe some stereotypes about queer folks. That you became aware of maybe when you were younger or coming into your queerness that you think maybe don't hold as true or don't really have the same applicability in talking about queer stereotypes today?

I feel like this is still sort of relevant, but there's that really strong stereotype of, like, gay men are all really like effeminate and they're into fashion and they like, you know, to do their hair in a certain way, whatever to any of that shit, which is still applicable now because people definitely still do think that. But it was like. When I was in high school, I don't know if people still use this term, but there was the term metrosexual, the. People still say that.

I haven't heard in a long time. Yeah. So maybe.

Right. So maybe I don't know, but anyway, so that there was that that sort of coincided with that sort of stereotype. So that's something that I remember hearing a lot about, but I'm not. Again, I'm not sure if that's still like. A thing that people say.

I definitely think that that's true. I I mean, I think I hear a lot about that, right that, like all gays or effeminate or everybody cares about fashion and also just like now everybody's unique in that way. So definitely plus one on that. The what I'm thinking about right now is like the like stereotypical gay characters in media like will and Grace, just Jack, right? For like unable to keep a job completely dysfunctional, social lives, just like everything's a mess and they only exist to like, serve as comedic relief, right? Like and I think that stereotype definitely like carried forward where, you know, queer people were just seen as like of Comic Relief.

Yeah, I think like I was starting to say kind of in framing the. Question that I think what I. And to understand this long into my own queerness is that a lot of the stereotypes I think that I was aware of when we were kind of taught about in college, for me anyway. Like I said, we're really predicated like gay men and sometimes lesbian culture. Someone that definitely comes to mind. It's just kind of like gay folks being hyper sexual and just very promiscuous. And then also how that would translate into a lot of misconceptions about bisexual folks and pansexual folks. But we weren't really using that pansexual language. In the like early 2. Thousand, 10s quite yet. Just kind of the hyper sexualization of queer folks, but then Fast forward to kind of right now we have a lot of data even from the conference that we host, right, like a lion share of folks coming to our spaces, our asexual or demisexual or a romantic. You know, under the ACE umbrella in some way shape or form and how just like. Even with a larger prominence of Ace folks, there's still this assumption that we are just hyper, you know, clear folks generally are hypersexual and just that's what we're kind of oversimplified to.

And and I think you can even take that a step further, right and and talk about you know, with that idea of queer folks being hyper sexual also comes to the narrative that queer people are groomers and pedophiles and how you can't have a queer person as a teacher because they're going to convert your children. You know, as as if every fair trial read, isn't it? A story about promoting heterosexuality, right?

Like, yeah.

Just existing in space as a queer person does not make it so you catch the queer like that's not we know that's not how it works. Come on. Get over yourselves.

And you know, I think that's one of the one that's one of the talking points that unfortunately is kind of making a certain type of resurgence because I I personally think it kind of died out a little bit. You didn't see nearly as much kind of like head hunting style trying to oust teachers for being some shade of gay and kind of, you know. Lie down in a way, where certainly I would say probably in the what 90s, maybe even. Earlier than that. Lots of you know, gay and lesbian teachers, especially in K through 12 schools getting ousted from their jobs or, you know, choosing to leave because the environments were so hostile. And I'm certainly sure that, you know, since then, there's been plenty of instances of that that maybe on a, you know less. Lesser scale and now those talking points as we're seeing you know, this barrage of anti trans legislation like those have come back into. I don't even want to say vogue because I don't want to give them our language in that regard either, but definitely like that is definitely. A a a. Hot button attempt that I think our oppressors are trying to take to just really demonize us to the worst possible way, as you can by trying to paint us as child abusers and, you know, sexual predators in a way that just is obviously inherently. I'm true.

Yeah, I definitely think that the narrative has kind of researched with that right, like especially in in, in some of the stories we're seeing, particularly in Florida, right where it's it's all over the news with with teachers being. Being ousted because you can't talk about gender identity, right? And you know the reality is these laws are so reactionary and being written so hastily that like you technically can't talk about any interpersonal relationship. Right. There was a clip that circulated on TikTok a while back, where there was a a legislature. Questioning somebody who wrote a bill and asked you. Know who was. The 1st President of the United States, right? George Washington. Well, who's Martha Washington? His wife. Well, how under this bill, are you able to? Talk about Martha Washington. If you can't talk about sexuality and and. And sexual orientation and the person was like, floundering to come up with an answer. And the reality is they didn't perceive straightness as gender identity. Right. It's the same thing as people saying like, oh, I don't have pronouns.

The fuck you do?

Yeah, that's English English grammar.

Lessons 101. But I ain't got the time. I I think, yeah.

Well, you know, if we put money in education, people might actually know that.

I think that's an important. Distinction too to make is that like it, the talking points are being repurposed towards trans folks. I think more extensively now than perhaps they were, so it's come just borrowing from what I think was more readily weaponized against, like gay and lesbian folks. Because of that level of visibility and the level. Of movement work that gay lesbian folks were doing that, you know, unfortunately didn't didn't center or pedestaled trans folks in the way that it could have and should have in those in those times that now we're seeing just kind of again a repurposing of some of those talking points and language to talk about trans people. Which to like the average SIS hat? Who hates? All forms of. That distinction probably doesn't matter, but it does. It does seem to have taken on a slightly different edge to it now, just because we are the. You know, we're an easy target, I guess. But I guess like thinking about. You know, that's one arena, right, like the legislative arena, and that's really easy to talk about because it's just so constant, so constant and especially on like a state by state level of just kind of how. These bills that we're seeing and attempts at like restricting, you know, the lives of trans people, especially, but queer. Looks more broadly. You know that is one way in which, like stereotypes are born and also utilized. And like, given kind of a a shelf life to keep, to keep going, even though we consistently are able to step up and say that's. Not true about queer. Folks or that's? Not the whole story, or that's an oversimplification. That's just outright gross. Why? Are you saying those things? I'm of other end right? Like thinking about internally and thinking about like that intro question, right? Like there's also sometimes a utility to what we might more readily call queer tropes to purpose, like coding and queuing to other queer people and so. I guess I'm curious. Like what? What distinctions do you see your differences? Do you see between, like, not succumbing to the ideas of stereotypes as they are prescribed to us by, you know, ********* versus kind of queer tropes that are maybe rooted in culture or tradition or just like? Coming into queerness in the different ways that we are, what does that?

Look like for you something that immediately comes to mind is key. Things like fun home, bring up keys, right and and like using like signals to find other people who are in Group. Right. And so I definitely think that, you know, one of the ways we could approach this question right is talking about whether or not it's in Group or. Right. So to me like a trope is is something that serves as kind of like an in Group symbol. To say like hey we. Have this in common. Let's chat right versus the stereotype being applied externally as kind of a generalization of the community.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

I think that's a good way to think about it. I guess I didn't like. That's a a good way to frame it. In my mind I guess cause I was having an issue like what is a trope? What is a stereotype? What is something that we ascribe to ourselves versus other people prescribing to us that sort of thing? But yeah, that's I hadn't thought of that actually. Thanks Justin.

Well, but it yeah, I mean it does get a little bit muddy when you think about media though, right, because there's all of this conversation about tropes and media that are really stereotypes being applied to.


Different content, right? You know, back to the will and grace example. You know, there's one could say that. Yeah, it's a a A trope to present. You know Jack in that way but really it's applying stereotypes to that character.

Right. But which is which? Does feel tricky, like even if it's even if. It's like queer. You know. Queer media creators right? Like how do you kind of tow? That line I guess of really wanting to like encapsulate A queer narrative for a character and figure out how to do it, you know, gracefully and in a way that like. There's just so much weight in, I think even trying to create queer characters for things like TV shows or other content creation. Right, I think about. Pose, for example, how I think that was a more like enriching and very expansive version of just like there was many different types of queer narratives in that story, obviously versus, you know, other maybe more mainstream, like primetime TV shows that have, like, the one off, maybe that person, you know, maybe that character. Is recurring for four or five episodes, and then gracefully dips out, and it's just they're just kind of like. Throwing everything at the at the wall and seeing what sticks as far as a variety of what. Yes, theoretically could be queer tropes, but the way it's being packaged just makes it very stereotypical and perhaps a bit unrealistic. It's just. How much can you really like? Put into one character. Before it just becomes unreasonable and maybe a bit.

That's the problem. That's why we need more queer characters.

Thank you.

Because then you can have that variety.

Right. Yes, in multiple people, not just one person.


Right. And it's also about like, you know, who's doing the storytelling?

Yes, yes.

Right. And and whether or not that's being presented? Or just to make a quick buck, you know, churning out a show for ABC or whatever, right, you know? And it's interesting that you mentioned pose right, because you know, one of the creators of that being Ryan Murphy has also had some really fucked up characters a la Glee, right?

Thinking about Glee, I can't stop thinking about. Like you know, Kurt, as gay best friend. And like, the lesbians who want kids and the the closeted jock. And like it's all there. It's all just like stuck in there and it's like, how how much more trophy can you get?

OK, that's definitely one of my tropes, though.

Yeah, and also.

I was definitely a Glee gay so.

I was just gonna. Say that like I was a gleek. And also I went I like rewatched it. Like a year and a. Half ago cause.

It's messy.

Cause we watched all of Netflix and there was nothing. Else to do.

I've done a rewatch as well, yes.

And it was. Just so interesting, watching it again with, you know, the context. That I have in my life now compared to when it was airing, what, 10 years ago? I don't know how old. Glee is, yeah.

And it's old. There's a shower. Regularly watch called Good Trouble and it's a spin off from a show called the Fosters that. The premise of the Fosters was that these lesbian parents had several foster kids, and so it just follows kind of all the in the hand that the foster kids get into. And so now the spin-off is 2 of. The children, kind of as adults, kind of off doing their own thing. And there's several queer characters, and like, it's been a little tricky. Because like it's. Not the worst representation, right? And like that, that's the bar is so low for me to have to be able to say that. Right. But there's one character specifically, and his name is Gayle, and he is. I don't know. I can't recall now because there's been many seasons. I can't recall if if they've used an exact like language identifier, but. These for the purpose of this conversation will say bisexual, perhaps pansexual? I don't know, but what I found frustrating is that they are so reluctant to just, like, put him in like a like a more serious relationship with another guy. All of the instances in which he's interacted in some kind of, like, romantic. Or sexual way with another guy have been like very short lived or, you know, hookups and then he's had these, like, long standing, more meaningful, in-depth relationships with women. And it's it's kind of frustrating because they kind of have always just cast him as. Like you kind of sometimes forget until until there's these one off moments, maybe 132nd instance in an entire season where that's, you know, there and it's like, you know. That that's fine. And like, that's a narrative that, like, is legitimate, because I'm sure that's how a lot of folks exist in the world and. I shouldn't forget. The character is clear until it comes back up again in a very brief moment. I don't like that. I don't like it.

He's bi, but he's not too bi.


Like he's now had a like kid with a woman, and now he's like, Co parenting this child with his trans sister and her husband, which, like, that storyline is very dope. Like I think like breaking down the concept of a nuclear family and Co parenting. With this like bisexual man and this trans woman and her husband. Like, that's cool. So but like. His queerness doesn't seem to be held as like a a key piece of that, and it's not a requirement, I guess. But there's something about it and I just kind of I shouldn't, like I said, I shouldn't forget that that is like a piece of who he is in the storyline.

I mean, that's just sloppy writing, right? And but it is like it's it's difficult to to thread that needle between you know. Hiding a character's queerness versus like making it over in stereotypical right and it's it's. How do you continue to be authentic to that, that identity of that character, you know, without going overboard? For sure it's it's it's a challenge and also. It's made even more challenging by media censorship. You know. I think about like. Kind of the. Evolution of the understanding of what like? Queer coding. Is right and queer baiting right?

If you.

Where if you think about like early media, right, like you had to really censor. Anything that wasn't a dominant identity and there were all of these little clues to say like, oh, you know, this character is actually gay, right? And people looked for that, you know, to be able to see themselves. In those media. But if we were to look at that in today's context, you would be like, well, they're just hiding it. They're burying the gaze, right? But obviously the the context in which those media are being produced has has shifted, right. So now you look at somebody just hiding that part of a character and you're like, well, why are you doing that? Right? Like you, you should be able to be open and authentic and also. In the capitalist hellscape in which we currently exist, like they have to be able to market that media, you know, to networks and whatever, and you know, especially when you look at trying to. You know, share that show or movie. The in markets outside of the US, even right like that makes it even more complicated where you know that that needle that you have to thread gets even smaller.

What to what? Extent does discussing stereotypes and discussing like misrepresentation of like representation in media potentially inadvertently? Sustain those stereotypes and those like LAX, like lack of representation, right? Like at what point does does even having a conversation like this or a version of a conversation like this? You know whether it's in media or whether it's just kind of generally speaking like how does talking about stereotypes potentially self prophesize and keep? A life.

I think that's true. For for anything, the more you speak about it, the more like it exists in the world. But also like there is a certain. Like nuance to these sorts of conversations that need to happen, you know. That that, we. That we are differentiating between tropes, stereotypes, things we impose on ourselves, things that others prescribe to us, but a lot of conversations that happen like this. Don't do that. And I think there's a very fine line you need to walk between. Like giving people those characteristics in media especially, but also just like generally in life and then also taking what other people give you as like authenticity, even if it is like in a stereotype or trope, I mean, you know, they say stereotypes come from places they come from. The life right? So. Theoretically, I mean, so there there's got to be some place it comes from.

The other challenge is that you can't control your consumer, right? So you could. Have the best of intentions as a person producing media right to try to interrogate these tropes and stereotypes, but how the viewer interprets that. You can't necessarily control right and so. You know, to me, it feels like a pretty common narrative where. If a show has a queer character all of a sudden there's this manufactured outrage about like, oh, there's no straight characters in media anymore and the gays are taking over, which like, yes, the gays should take over. You've had how many years of dominating the media landscape?

It's time.

It is time, right? But like the reality is the the portion of characters and media that are still that are. Some shade of queer is still minuscule, right? But you know, by presenting. Any of these tropes or stereotypes, or, you know, queerness in general in media, right it it gives more examples for people to point to, to say like ohh well, you know this one character on this one TV show did this. And so all queer people must do that, right? So yeah, it is. It is reinforcing. A little bit. But I don't think that means you should stop. Having queer characters in media.

Well, and I. Think beyond like media. You know, I'm thinking about like the social implications. I think about like conversations with, you know, college students for examples based on my my day job, where like, this feeling of not being queer enough is maybe sometimes upheld by the ways that folks think either think that they're supposed to show up or they're kind of using other queer. Folks as a benchmark without kind of acknowledging maybe where that person has come from or what access they potentially have had, or how long they've been part. You know it embarking on that journey and how sometimes I definitely kind of see. The tropes that we recognize internally. Low key, maybe weaponized in a like horizontal hostility. Way to kind of police, or manage expectations about each others. Clearness right. I can remember being, you know, at the 2014 Rumble talk and being misperceived as like a fifth straight person because I was very high. At the time and I just, it was, it was truly unfathomable that that was a conception that someone had. And I was like, where does that come from? And it's ohh because. If I dress. This way or my hair is 15. Inches long or. I'm wearing makeup like it could not possibly mean that I'm some shade of queer and I don't understand that because femmes are like the, you know, bonding agent of the queer. Community in so many. Ways like what the hell? So I've seen it. You know, kind of utilized in that way. Who of just like how we manage each others, queerness and it's not cute?

No, it's really gatekeeping and it's disgusting.

Yeah, it's definitely that punching sideways sort of thing punching down, which is gross and icky, yeah.

Thank you.

Because on one hand you know it's unfortunate because I feel like, you know, we've we've maybe not talked exclusively, but we've referenced plenty of times that there's there's ways in which we try to queue to each other especially. And predominantly subset spaces to kind of indicate like, oh, I see you right. You can't see someone unless there's some kind of cute. Oh, I see the button on your backpack or oh, I see the, you know, color of your hair. And like, sometimes you miss, right? Sometimes, like there's. There's some misconception there, but just ultimately, queer coding doesn't mean that you are a queer person per say, but that maybe you are a safer. Person that you are someone who acknowledges queer existence and you may have like a. A queer coded. You know, piece of clothing or a button on your, you know backpack. Like I said, that's going to at least indicate that you're a safer person than perhaps other folks in a predominantly set space. And then on the flip side, how those then become kind of criteria for queerness when? There is not a one-size-fits-all checklist. Those cues can look very different, and those cues change. Every week, quite frankly.

Yes, if you don't have a. Ring of keys. You're not a lesbian.

OK, no.

And I do think it's really complicated, you know, to navigate that right as it especially, you know, as somebody like if you're somebody who's kind of newly discovering your own queerness, right? It feels like an insurmountable task to figure out all of the. Signals that you might encounter, right, and sometimes the signals can be useful, but also not having access to those doesn't mean that you're not queer, right? There's there's no one way right to. Express your own identity. And yet there there is definitely still some of that. Like reinforcing of these old tropes in order to, you know, police who can and cannot be identified as a part of the community. But then you also see those same tropes being used by others to say, well, you're setting us back, right? Like, I think about the happen to be gays, right? And they're like, well. We don't want to include you as a part of the Community because you make us look bad and we're never going to get marriage equality if you're trans and you're part of the community too, right? Like that's a whole. That's that's a lot of another conversation. Several conversations, probably. Right. But like, you know, some of the same signals that people use to identify one another are also use. In Group you know by people who maybe have, you know, internalized shame or whatever other feelings to say, well. You perpetuating this, you know, because it makes you feel good. It's harmful to me, and therefore you need to stop it because I'm more important than you.

Is it that? Like six thoughts going to come out it all up at the same time. And I this is it's its own whole separate conversation too. So like you're getting you to do it, but like it reminds me of kind of the the annual conversations about what is and is not appropriate to pride like events, right, like how sex. Yeah. Like is, you know, **** and kink, you know, quote UN quote appropriate to be represented as leather.

Let's see.

Appropriate to be represented. You know, even our trans people appropriate to be represented at this point in pride spaces. And just again have some of those internalized tropes, if not wanting to give off a certain cue to our SIS observers, if you will, sis. Straight observers is part of the kind of internalized policing of how we plan our own. Spaces. That's frustrating.

Yeah, like we shouldn't.

You're making the rest of us look bad, so you shouldn't. You don't. Don't show up as your authentic self because you make. The rest of. Us look bad, but also why?

Right. We turned homophobia 101.

Right, right.

And also like, why are we designing our spaces based on assists gaze?

Because that's where that's coming from.


Sometimes most of the time.

The capitalization of pride.

About in the parking lot for Pride Month.

Changes coming in season 5.

You know, it's it's there's a lot of inputs. I think that kind of inform what kinds of choices we want to make. Do we want to give? Signals and queues. When we go into certain spaces and we try to hide some of those queues when we're going into certain spaces. I remember being in mumble talk at Mumble talk 2017 with you, Justin, and we were walking through Navy Pier in Chicago, and it wasn't. You know, it didn't dawn on me till we were halfway through walking through this giant, you know, public tourist attraction that I was wearing my protect trans youth sweatshirt. And like that was fine when we were in the actual conference space with everyone else and I started to second guess, feeling comfortable wearing it when we had headed into the more very, very public. Space and for no other reason than just like. Not that I suddenly. Felt unsafe per. Say, but just like I was very aware of what I was signaling out in that space, just even transitioning from being in our exact conference room versus out in the world. So it's really just. I think a perpetual thing to think about, well, like we want to, you know, combat stereotypes and push back against them and be very mindful about how tropes that can be lighthearted and fun and comedic. You know, we can talk about them internally just how how to be very, very mindful. About who, who were? Coordinating ourselves around and four which should you know the priority should be for ourselves, but also if there's value or you know, some kind of intentionality behind trying to signal in queue to other queer folks in certain spaces. You know, now that I'm in my early 30s, that feels different, right? What am I signaling and queuing to? Maybe younger folks in? Very rural spaces that maybe they have not found the footing to be able to do right there is certain. Initiative that I think can be taken from that and also being mindful that we're not doing in a way that sets folks up to think that there is one way or that you have to signal and cue to others in this way and that this is the only way and I you. Know I'm curious. In 10 years from now and maybe this is how we kind of wrap. Up and think about. Think about that. The charity of this version of this conversation in like 1020 years from now, right? Like what are folks in our types of positions going to be talking about is like, wow, people thought these really ridiculous things and or joking about things that queer folks, you know, have historically done like, what do we think are going to be some of the examples? That folks are bringing up 10 to 20 years from now.

Well, maybe gays will finally learn how to. Sit in a. Chair properly.

Evolution of furniture design is going to transcend we are going to fix this. Everyone's gonna have a love sack because they won't be astronomically expensive.

I don't know what that means.

It's a giant giant bean bag.

Big old bean bag. Yeah, OK.

Yeah, if you don't really love sack, is that? Probably sounded really unfortunate. I think that folks are going to be really confused about our infatuation with oat milk, non dairy, milk specific like in general, but oat milk. I I don't understand how that became a trope because it's not my. Non Dairy Milk replacement but.

OK, but I love oat. Milk. That's fine. I just.

Don't know how that became like the pinnacle when there's cashew. Milk out there like.

Because oats are.

I don't know. I learned recently that oat milk has been around since. The 1400s. And was actually preferred over cow milk before pasteurization because, you know, milk was actually really unsafe before it was pasteurized.

And also just like I have questions for the first person who like, tugged on an utter and was like I. Will drink this. Hopefully they were not. Sam, because I don't want to claim that.

I don't know I.

What do you think we're going to talk about in 10 to 20 years, Danielle?

I'm not sure. I think probably like gosh, I can't even think like 10 to 20 I'm thinking like. Tomorrow, you know.

OK, fine. Yeah, that's.

I can't think 10 to 20 years.

I think that we're all going to look back at pictures of ourselves and judge us for the haircuts that we. Had that's always a thing, right? Like, you know, hairstyles change or whatever. You know, you look back and be like, well, that was that was a choice, right? It was. It was cool and hip when we did it, but. Who knows what we'll think about that in 20 years?

Cool and hip basis.

You've got the.

Soul of like an 80 year old person, so I can't even imagine. What? What? Your energy. Is going to be like in 20 years.

Maybe I'll Benjamin button and be like a. 20 year old and.

Well, fortunately, we'll have this. Recording archived somewhere that will probably be in some weird format that has not yet been designed or conceived for how we capture audio recordings and information. 20 years from now to attest to at least this current snapshot of some considerations around tropes and stereotypes. Is there anything else folks wanna name or add before we closeout this morning, musing around queer tropes and stereotypes?

I have an anecdote. The first time I ever heard the word bisexual. It was from my health teacher and she told me that being bisexual meant that you date men and women at the same time, and that was. The stereotype I held for. A long time. Before I realized I was like hey, actually that's incorrect. And that actually. Also might be me so. Like that for way too long.

At the same time, all right.

Yeah, I was like, I don't know what that mean. I don't know. Is that accurate? No, it can't.

I mean, maybe if you're also polyamorous, right?

Be right if.

You're also Poly, right? Sure, but that's like a separate thing.

In a specific context, it can be through.

Sure. Yes, yes.

As a default, not quite true, right?

Yeah, I guess I just want to reiterate too that you know there's no one way to be queer. There's no one way to be trans. There's no one way to exist in this world, right? And while some of these tropes can be useful to. You like identify similar people. That does not mean that you have to buy into them. It doesn't mean that you have to wear the ring of keys on your hip. It doesn't mean that you've got to do whatever, you know, whatever the new version is, right, it doesn't mean you have to have 800 enamel pins on your backpack. That's another one we forgot to mention earlier. And be you find what works for you and and. And that is enough.

OK, friends. Well, this is fun and informative. And we've got several conversations, I think in the parking lot just based on having this one. So we'll have to, we'll have to bring it back. Together, sometime this season to talk about capitalist pride events and who they're for, that feels like it's on the horizon. So like that so. Good friends. Well, thank you.

Alright, thanks.

Thank you.


Our inbox is open for all of your insight, feedback, questions, boycotts, memes and other forms of written correspondence. You can contact us at lastbite@sgdinstitute.org. This podcast is made possible by the labor and commitment of the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity staff. Particular shout out to Justin, Andy and Nick for all of your support with editing, promotion and production. Our amazing and queer as fuck cover art was designed by Adrienne McCormick.