On Jan. 1, Hayley Kiyoko declared 2018 #20GAYTEEN. While initially a promotional tool for her then-upcoming debut album Expectations and accompanying tour, the hashtag has since been used to describe everything gay and notable that occurred in the past year. From beloved TV characters coming out, to critically acclaimed queer cinema, to explicitly queer music releases, here are the 18 gayest moments of #20GAYTEEN.
18. The Hollywood Reporter announced that Clea DuVall will direct a queer holiday rom-com starring Kristen Stewart, to be released in 2019.
In the words of Carol of “Carol,” “Merry Christmas.”
17. Emerging pop artist Rina Sawayama released “Cherry,” an anthem celebrating queer desire and girl gazes everywhere.
At a San Francisco concert in September, Sawayama asked the crowd to cheer if they were queer, before pointing to herself as a member of the LGBTQ+ community — cementing Sawayama as a queer artist to watch.
16. Kehlani announced her pregnancy…
And used her good news as a chance to school people on how queer women can still… get… pregnant, which isn’t what we expected to have to educate people on in 2018, but here we are. TL;DR — queer couples and queer people can engage in reproductive intercourse! Mind-blowing. We wish the Oakland sweetheart all the best.
15. Queer characters came out, entered queer on-screen relationships and continued to break ground on “Runaways,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Jane the Virgin,” “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Black Lightning,” “The Good Place,” “Killing Eve,” the “Charmed” reboot, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and “Harlots.”
Is listing all of these TV shows as one bullet item a cop-out? Probably. But from Rosa Diaz’s fantastic coming-out arc on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” to Petra Solano’s charmingly awkward love story on “Jane the Virgin” to the four regular queer characters on “Legends of Tomorrow,” 2018 saw drastic improvement in depictions of queer folk on TV.
14. “Hearts Beat Loud”
This charming queer rom-com topped Autostraddle’s list of “The 15 Best Lesbian and Bisexual Movies of 2018.” Starring two queer, Black women as queer characters, the film is quirky, sweet and remains positive throughout, providing desperately needed representation.
13. “Boy Erased”
Was it as good as “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”? Probably not, but the similarly conversion-therapy-focused film, featuring the talents of Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, garnered leading man Lucas Hedges a Golden Globes nomination for best leading actor.
The period piece about the famed French author only gets good when it gets gay, but it gets really, really gay.
11. “The Bisexual”
Desiree Akhavan’s limited series is truthful, honest, deliberately messy and an example of what queer stories told by queer artists, especially queer artists of color, can creatively achieve.
10. “Love, Simon”
While the narrative it centered was undeniably white and privileged, “Love, Simon” provided a thoughtful, funny and charming queer rom-com for young adult audiences, one released by a major motion picture distributor — a notable feat for a queer film.
9. Lena Waithe wore a rainbow flag cape to the Met Gala.
God is gay and Lena Waithe will not elaborate on that.
lena waithe: actually god is gay
met gala: elaborate on that
lena waithe: no pic.twitter.com/5LWCbOpsvG
— kermit gulag (@byekenobi) May 7, 2018
8. “The Prom” opened on Broadway.
Beyond achieving widespread attention for broadcasting a same-gender kiss during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the charming musical about a high-school-age lesbian who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom helps provide some much-needed representation of queer women in professional theater.
7. King Princess released “Pussy Is God.”
King Princess’ delightful single about the divine power of vaginas is wonderfully queer and an all-around bop.
6. Troye Sivan’s “Bloom,” a song more about bottoming than it is about flowers, topped charts — achieving No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
Just listen to the lyrics.
5. Hannah Gadsby released her comedy special “Nanette” on Netflix.
Tear-jerking and hilarious in equal measure, “Nanette” might be one of the most impactful pieces of media released in 2018. Gadsby vulnerably reveals her experiences with #MeToo, coming out, homophobia and isolation from the queer community.
4. Rachel Weisz starred in not one, but two gay movies.
Thank you, Ms. Weisz, for your roles in both “Disobedience” and “The Favourite” — the latter of which we promise is at least 20 percent gayer than you think it will be — two of the year’s stand-out queer films.
3. “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
With a creative team and cast consisting of multiple people of color and queer actors, the film, which follows a young lesbian sent to a conversion therapy camp, provides an intimate and sensitive portrayal of the titular Cameron Post and the queer youths of a gay conversion camp called God’s Promise, achieving the title of the year’s best queer film.
2. Janelle Monáe came out as queer and released the year’s best album.
But at the end of the day, it’s just the way she makes us feel.
1. Hayley Kiyoko released her debut album.
From ranking No. 4 on NPR’s list of the most influential women musicians of the 21st century, to performing at Coachella, to releasing the cinematic and instantly iconic “What I Need” music video with Kehlani, #20GAYTEEN wouldn’t have happened without Hayley Kiyoko, and we love her for leading the way.