What is it with Queer People and Cryptids?


What is it with queer culture and cryptids? In recent years there’s been a resurgence in the appreciation of cryptozoology, particularly in LGBTQ+ and online spaces. Cryptids, like Mothman, Bigfoot, and the Lochness monster, have long been symbols of fear and mystery in mainstream culture, but in the spaces where these creatures are accepted as real, queer people tend to find comfort and safety. There’s something to be said for the similarity of our experiences as queer people and the imagined experiences of cryptids, but what other complex connections exist between these two groups and how have they fueled this fascination? 

Representation of queer characters is obviously lacking, even in 2020, and there’s been a long history of portraying villains as queer or queer-coded. This lack of good representation and the desire to be seen often drives many queer people to create their own representation, and with the increased amount of online spaces, it’s not hard to create a large platform or presence online. This ability to be heard and share ideas with others helps facilitate the growth of new communities, such as cryptid spaces, and more and more often these spaces are being led by queer people. Now with all these new places to share and talk about queer people with other queer people, why the focus on cryptids? 

To start, cryptids are not believed to exist by most people in society, but for those who do believe in cryptids, it becomes harder to not believe in the existence and experiences of queer people. Another thing is that cryptids share a lot of similarities with queer people and our experiences. These creatures are often seen as dangerous and hidden, which is a feeling that so many queer people relate to because of how homophobia and transphobia push queer people to the outskirts and hidden corners of society. Mothman, for example, is often blamed for catastrophes that happen in the areas around him, even if he isn’t the actual cause of those disasters, and the feeling of being falsely framed as dangerous mirrors so many queer peoples’ experiences of being protrayed as dangerous when in truth they’re not. This may also be a reason why so many queer people see themselves or their identities reflected in cryptids. There’s also an aspect of taking these characters that were once big and scary and making them friendly and protective; there’s power in subverting the old narrative to make these “monsters” loveable. 

Presenter

Oliver Cope, Undergraduate Student
Department of Biology
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Presenter

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Attend this Presentation

Day One (Friday, October 9th, 2020) | Session One (6:00pm - 7:00pm)

Duration: 5 minutes

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