9 Queer Pop Culture Moments That Got Us Through 2020

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There’s no denying 2020 was a crummy year. There were some bright spots, but the term “dumpster fire” is being thrown around a lot for a reason. Even through lockdowns, entertainment carried on when we needed it most. We had movies and shows to watch while stuck at home and celebrity gossip to text our friends about. Here are nine pop culture moments from 2020 that gave us some welcome distractions.

 

1. The L Word: Generation Q brought us a blast from the past

The L Word Generation Q

(Photo courtesy of Showtime)

The long-awaited reboot of The L Word aired from December 2019 through January 2020, with only eight episodes to give us a taste of where Bette, Alice, and Shane ended up after the 2009 end of the original The L Word. The veterans were joined by a new cast portraying Finley, Dani, Sophie, and others who stole our hearts or made us yell at the screen (or both). Working to do better with trans representation and racial diversity, Ilene Chaiken gave us some queer women’s content we don’t get to see enough.

 

2. Niecy Nash got married

Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts

(via Niecy Nash Instagram)

Surprise! The actress known as Niecy Nash announced her wedding to singer Jessica Betts on social media on August 31 this year, and came out in that moment. Many other actresses also came out in 2020, including Rosario Dawson, Chyler Leigh, Pearl Mackie, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, and Taylor Schilling.

 

3. Elliot Page came out

 

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A post shared by @elliotpage

Women who love women weren’t the only ones in show biz who came out in 2020. Actor Elliot Page came out as trans on December 1. On December 20, Page posted his first update since the coming out thanking everyone for the support and asking them to support Trans Santa and Trans Lifeline, too. In addition, comedian Eddie Izzard said she’ll be using she/her pronouns from here on out.

 

4. Happiest Season polarized viewers

Finally a cute Christmas rom com with the love story of two women! Or…a tired trope with an infuriating message? Some queer women couldn’t get enough of the Kristen Stewart/Mackenzie Davis film that premiered on Hulu on November 25, but many couldn’t stand the Harper character who manipulated her girlfriend. Others were disappointed it had to be a coming out story instead of a different plot that just happened to be about two women.

 

5. Miss Major announced her partner’s pregnancy

 

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A post shared by Miss Major (@missmajor1)

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, 80, is a Stonewall veteran who continues to be a fierce trans activist. She’s also a mom, and about to become one again. On September 10, she posted on Instagram that her partner Beck was six months pregnant, meaning the baby would be due right around now. No further announcements have been made since the September post.

 

6. Pride went virtual

Woman holding pride flag

(Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels)

Pride is traditionally not canceled, but this year was full of “unprecedented” (are we done with that word yet?) moments and saw a worldwide cancellation of in-person Pride events. Pride 2020 was to be the 50th anniversary celebration of the first marches in 1970 that commemorated the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots. In the resilient nature of the LGBTQ community, Pride instead adapted to either become masked in-person ad hoc marches for Black lives or moved to online programming. Global Pride 2020 was a 27-hour live-streamed event put on by InterPride and hosted by Todrick Hall. The event welcomed over 57 million viewers from almost every country in the world.

 

7. Everyone thought Taylor Swift’s two new albums were totally queer

With two surprise albums dropping in 2020一folklore in July and evermore in December一Taylor Swift had everyone talking this year. Both albums had sapphic vibes according to many listeners who read between the lines on many lyrics. There have been celesbian rumors (and wishes) surrounding the staunch ally for years, but this year’s music fueled the theory further. Swift clarified in August that the song “betty” is from the perspective of a boy, not her, but theorists are undeterred. The Advocate published a list of “lesbian Easter eggs” in folklore in July and Autostraddle ranked the evermore songs “by gay subtext” earlier this month.

 

8. Disclosure documentary opened doors and eyes

Disclosure Promo Image, on Netflix

Disclosure premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and then hit Netflix in June. Featuring trans creators like Jamie Clayton, Laverne Cox, Mj Rodriguez, Brian Michael Smith, and Lilly Wachowski, the documentary shows 100 years of trans representation in media with dozens of telling clips. The film asks trans people in media what the effect of that representation一positive and negative一has had on their lives and on the world’s perception of trans people.

 

9. Javicia Leslie was cast as the new Batwoman

Javicia Leslie will replace Ruby Rose as the lead heroine in The CW’s Batwoman. Rose left after playing Kate Kane on season one. On season two, Leslie will play a new character named Ryan Wilder, and the show will premiere on January 18. Leslie’s character will also be an out lesbian like Rose’s character. The casting announcement was made in July, and Leslie said “I am extremely proud to be the first Black actress to play the iconic role of Batwoman on television, and as a bisexual woman, I am honored to join this groundbreaking show, which has been such a trailblazer for the LGBTQ+ community.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Sarah Prager
Sarah Prager
Sarah Prager is a writer living in Massachusetts with her wife and their two children. She is the author of the award-winning Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World and Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, HuffPost, Bustle, JSTOR Daily, and GO Magazine, among others. www.sarahprager.com.