The 13 Best Queer Moments in Pop Culture of 2017

by Ian Carlos Crawford

Immersing oneself in pop culture was one of the few ways we escaped the never-ending nightmare news cycle of 2017. This year was bad for many many reasons — but to try and end on a high(ish) note, let’s focus on the good 2017 brought us.

From Atomic Blonde to Tegan and Sara, let’s recap all the best queer pop culture moments of 2017.

13. Marvel giving Iceman and America their own solo titles: A long-time X-Men member who recently came out getting his own titles was a big deal — but the even bigger deal was giving a queer Latinx hero her own title. Both comics had a queer team behind them and gave us the representation we’d been wanting from Marvel. Unfortunately, it looks like both titles have been cancelled in 2018.

12. Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s 20th anniversary reunion: Buffy had a gay following long before Willow Rosenberg started dating Tara Maclay. But then there was Willow and Tara. From their first scene in ‘Hush’ to their first kiss in ‘The Body’ to their final scene in ‘Seeing Red’, they’ve always been one of TV’s best couple. So, to see them together again, posed together with the rest of the Scoobies, was nothing short of iconic.

11. Twin Peaks: The Return giving Denise a promotion: “When you became Denise, I told all of your colleagues, those clown comics, to fix their hearts or die,” is what FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole, played by David Lynch himself, says to Denise Bryson (played by David Duchovny) about her promotion to head of the FBI and being an out trans woman. While Denise should be played by an actual trans woman, it was nice to see Lynch go out of his way to give a vaguely problematic 90s character a very happy ending and to see him utter such an oddly tender line — especially considering how dark the rest of Twin Peaks: The Return was.

10. Matthew from Big Mouth: For a cartoon all about the perils of puberty, it’s oddly inclusive. The show gave us an entire episode where one of the main boys thinks he might be gay, that could’ve been one big offensive Family Guy episode but it was both realistic and funny in its portrayal of sexuality. But the best thing to come out of the show (aside from the Hormone Monsters) is the one gay classmate, Matthew. He’s confident and kind of mean — a nice diversion from the usual stereotype of shy, depressed young gay boy. He most definitely would roll his eyes watching Call Me By Your Name, but in the best way. And bonus: he’s voiced by openly gay actor Andrew Rannells.

9. Moonlight winning the Oscar: Everyone thought La La Land was going to win and was ready to roll their eyes about. The Academy even handed Warren Beatty the wrong envelope — prompting Faye Dunaway to read that La La Land had won. But then the correction was made as was history. A critical darling movie from 2016, about a queer black man had won the Oscar for best picture. Cue the tears.

8. Kim Petras releases bops: An openly trans recording artists breaking through as an international pop star? Sign us up. Her music is Carly Rae Jepsen levels of pop perfection. It’s self-aware, fun, and catchy as hell.

7. Laverne Cox for Ivy Park: Laverne Cox and Beyoncé working together seems like a fever dream made in heaven. Beyoncé continues to be one of the most progressive artists out there and having Laverne Cox model for her clothing line, Ivy Park, is just another perfect example of that.

6. Tegan and Sara’s The Con X: Covers: The fact that “The Con” came out ten years is ago is insane enough — but to think this wonderful queer album didn’t get the popularity it truly deserved is almost a crime. Tegan and Sara have always blended pop-punk with a folk-rock (and more recently they’ve incorporated 80s synth pop) perfectly. The fact that 10 years later, these queer artists are doing things like songs for the Lego movie is enough to make you want to cry tears of happiness — until you listen to Shura’s cover of “The Con” and cry because you’re feeling too many feelings.

5. Star Trek: Discovery’s gay couple: This series featured RENT alumni Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz as a married couple — becoming the first openly gay couple ever featured in the Star Trek TV-verse. It’s about time we got some queers in space.

4. Atomic Blonde: Charlize Theron is the kickass queer secret agent we deserve. The fight scenes in this movie are bananas crazy and insanely well-choreographed. The sexy neon lights, the 80s soundtrack — this movie is sexy and a total blast to watch. Charlize’s Lorraine Broughton needs to be the new character who gets their own 89789 part action movie series.

3. The Will & Grace revival: First we got the tease of a revival in a stellar Hillary Clinton ad — then we got an announcement the show as coming back and we were excited. Then the show pulled it off; it still feels like as much of a fresh voice on TV as it did nearly 12 years ago. Having Karen Walker, a true gay icon, back on our small screens is exactly the kind of relief we needed in this nightmare year.

2. Call Me By Your Name: A gay love story that broke nearly the entire internet’s heart. It’s an honest, realistic portrayal of first love. You know where the story is going from the moment it begins but you’ll still cry along with Timothée Chalamet as he stares into that god damned fireplace. It also gave us one of the most iconic, oddly emotional scenes of 2017, Armie Hammer dancing to “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs.

  1. One Day At A Time’s coming out story: Elena (played by Isabella Gomez) has one of the more realistic coming-outs on TV show in a very long time. Elena’s coming-out feels natural and real — and it’s mostly told from her mother’s perspective. It also leads to the absolutely heartbreaking, yet most beautiful moment of the series. Elena is rejected by her homophobic father, who stands her up for the final dance at her quinceañera, and the rest of her family and friends join her on the dance floor in his place.

About the author:

Ian Carlos Crawford grew up in southern New Jersey and, like most people from NJ, he graduated from Rutgers University. He then graduated from New School with an MFA in nonfiction writing. His writing has appeared on sites like Geeks Out, BuzzFeed, NewNowNext, and other random corners of the internet. He currently co-hosts a podcast about his favorite thing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, called Slayerfest 98 and is shopping around his fiction manuscript (you can view the book trailer here). Follow him on Twitter @ianxcarlos