As much I adore my Queer Eyes and my Queer as Folks, OFMD has (re)awakened in me the hunger for explicit gay media that isn’t about being explicitly gay.
Like, Stede and Blackbeard’s story (while obviously a love story) is first and foremost a story about identity and embracing your true self in a society that devalues that self, and in doing so finding friends and a community who support the true you no matter what. That’s the modern queer experience to a tee, but it’s also the experience of POC, first and second generation immigrants, neurodivergent people, disabled people, masc presenting straight women, fem presenting straight men, and the list goes on—basically anyone who isn’t a straight white cis male bent on preserving the fiction that ‘straight white cis male’ is a homogenous experience with a singular, rigid mould. ￼
Blackbeard and Stede could never have kissed, could never have had any romantic/sexual chemistry whatsoever and I still would have adored this narrative for giving compassionate, empathetic awkward duck Stede a crew to imprint on, and making Blackbeard his feral cat companion who slowly realises that actually he likes wearing pretty collars, getting his coat brushed and getting petted thank you very much. But it didn’t do that. It is a queer love story. It didn’t need to be but it is and that’s why I love it.