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Queerbaiting is a term given by media fans to describe the phenomenon where there is a suggestion of a homoerotic relationship without the relationship materializing. This fictional relationship is often used to create viewer interest, particularly viewers that identify with the LGBT community. 
Queerbaiting has been seen by queer fans as an approach by creators to both appeal to the queer market and to "avoid the backlash that comes with writing queer characters."
Queerbaiting often leads queer fans to believe that queer characters are added as plot devices rather than as characters in their own right. Hinting at queerness can be used as a tactic to avoid alienation of the main audience of a show who prefer to see heterosexual relationships. 
Emmet Scout claims that "queerbaiting works on its audience because it offers the suggestion that queer people do have a vital place in these stories, that they might even be the defining figures, the heroes. The suggestion—but not the reality." Rose Bridges summarized the practice's effect on queer fans as receiving "just enough [representation] to keep us interested, but not enough to satisfy us and make us truly represented."
Queerbaiting in the Music Industry
This occurrence is not only in film and TV, but also recently in music. Many musical artists are creating music and music videos that suggest the possibility of queerness. Often, these musical artists choose not to discuss their sexuality, instead leaving the opportunity open to attract both male and female fans. An example of an artist who employs this tactic is Ariana Grande, who famously sings about liking “women and men” in her single “Monopoly”. Also, in a music video for “Break Up With Your Girlfriend,” she alludes to her sexuality not being explicitly heterosexual.
The following relationships between characters of the same sex have been interpreted as queerbaiting:
- Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray in the TV series Glee.
- Arthur Pendragon and Merlin in the TV series Merlin.
- Regina Mills and Emma Swan in the TV series Once Upon a Time.
- Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge, and Archie Andrews and Joaquin DeSantos in the TV series Riverdale.
- Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles in the TV series Rizzoli & Isles.
- Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in the TV series Sherlock. Cast and crew of Sherlock have consistently denied that the relationship is intended to be seen as romantic, to the dismay of many fans.
- Castiel and Dean Winchester in the TV series Supernatural.
- Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor in the TV series Supergirl.
- Shiro and Adam in the TV series Voltron: Legendary Defender.
- Brennan, Joseph. “Queerbaiting: The ‘playful’ possibilities of homoeroticism.” University of Sydney, Australia.10 Feb 2016
- Scout, Emmett. "Please Do Not Bait the Queers". The Next. University of Washington. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Ritschel, Chelsea. “What Is Queer-Baiting and Why Do Celebrities Do It?” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 9 Apr. 2019, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/queerbaiting-lgbtq-ariana-grande-celebrities-james-franco-jk-rowling-a8862351.html.
- Bridges, Rose. "How Do We Solve A Problem Like 'Queerbaiting'?". AutoStraddle. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Biele, Natalie (20 February 2017). "Queerbaiting: The Misrepresentation of the Queer Community". Odyssey. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- Scout, Emmett (19 June 2013). "Please Do Not Bait the Queers". The Next. University of Washington. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Shakeri, Sima (30 June 2017). "Television Has A 'Bury Your Gays,' Queerbaiting, And LGBTQ Representation Problem". Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
- McGrath, Mary Kate. "'Riverdale', Queer-Baiting, & How One Tweet Exposed The Fan Conversation We Need To Pay Attention To". Bustle. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
- Reilly, Kaitlin. "Riverdale Accused Of Queerbaiting Over That Joaquin/Archie Kiss". Refinery29. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
- "Rizzoli & Isles". 1 February 2016.
- Romano, Aja (26 April 2013). ""Sherlock" fans lash out over sunken JohnLock ship". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
- "Steven Moffat talk about JohnLock and Season 3 & 4". YouTube. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
- Bridges, Rose (26 June 2013). "How Do We Solve A Problem Like "Queerbaiting"?: On TV's Not-So-Subtle Gay Subtext". Autostraddle. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Cruz, Eliel (17 July 2014). "Fans Take Supernatural to Task for 'Queer Baiting'". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Haasch, Palmer (16 August 2018). "Voltron creator addresses fans over season 7's queerbaiting controversy". Polygon. Retrieved 26 December 2018.