Sometimes written as “queercoding” or “queer coding”, queer-coding is when content creators (e.g. tv, movies, podcasts, etc.) include characters that pass as queer or gender-non-conforming, often without specifically calling them such, but only as villains, victims, or punchlines in order to signify that queer people are evil, degenerate, etc. and only worthy of misery if they’re tolerated at all. This is often seen in crime media where queer people are introduced and then murdered within minutes.
Sometimes this is a consciously intentional move and sometimes it’s a casual reflection of the culture within which the media was made. While this may also refer to characters that pass as queer that were intentionally minimized in early media to seek publication (like Marcos in Animorphs), the more common usage of this term is to describe specifically negative representations of queer existence.
e.g. Avery’s favorite show as a child featured a queer-coded villain.
Further reading to gain expanded context:
THE STRANGE, DIFFICULT HISTORY OF QUEER CODING | SyFy Wire
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