Stranger, Less Heterosexual Things: Barb, We Hope

It may feel like we’re reliving the ’90s — Beauty and the Beast, Pennywise, Republicans tearing each other out of the frame about gay marriage — but it is actually two entire decades later and a person no longer has to come out on the cover of Time magazine talking about I’M GAY if they’re not straight. Perhaps you’re, say, a beloved young actress and are thinking that you’re maybe one of the 20 percent of Millennials who identify as LGBTQ. If you find yourself in that situation, you might approach the subject of queerness by nudging up against it on social media. No labels. No declarations. Leaning gently. Just enough.

It looks like that’s what Stranger Things‘ Shannon Purser did yesterday.

She’s not saying she’s queer, but she’s saying her sexuality doesn’t exactly fit in with the teachings of her faith, which seems queer, and is something so many of us (myself included!) have spent a long time working through in our gay ol’ lives. I wrote about 650,000 words of fan fiction where I made every character into a Christian with very religious parents when I was coming out, for example. Shannon Purser seems to be just going about her cool chill life hanging out in the original TV Batmobile (!!!) and occasionally thinking it through out loud on Twitter.

It looks like she’s doing the same thing we all did when we were figuring out what the heck with our own queerness: she’s studying the classics. Earlier this year she watched “San Junipero” and had a feeling about Yorkie, the shy burgeoning queer gal with a pal whose hyper-religious parents ruled her thought processes about life and love, and that feeling was: I feel ya, Yorkie.

Also, obviously: Rent.

Also also, obviously: Female Villains.

Also also also, obviously: Shipping Harry and Draco.

Every mainstream magazine and entertainment website and gossip blog ran with this story today, but if we’re being very honest with ourselves we know it’s Autostraddle where Shannon Purser is probably going to end up. (Hi, Mara Wilson!) So, Shannon, listen: Are you queer? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s not the ’90s, like I said. Take your time figuring it out. We’ll be here when you do.

P.S. Watch Carol.

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1156 articles for us.


    • It wasn’t just you! She was SUPER queer and there were people talking about it online somewhere, might even have been here.

    • a/s

      she was! i was like, why are all the gay children being targeted by this demogorgon? is the demogorgon mike pence?

      • “Needs More Gay” on YouTube did a video about queerness in Stranger Things which I strongly recommend! I really like his reading of The Upsidedown as a metaphor for the closet.

  1. … I read these and originally thought she was coming out as HAVING a sexuality, as in “I expereince sexual desire”. Especially since she wrote “Especially trying to come to terms with it and my faith”, since IMHO that’s code for coming from a deeply conservative background.

    But maybe her being gay/bi makes more sense?

  2. The Gardner

    ‘P.S. Watch Carol.’

    So you want to bore her to death and make her think all lesbians wear stupid hats, great advice Heather.

      • The Gardner

        Yes! How could I forget the clandestine glove lunches?

    • We might be of wildly different opinion regarding that movie, but I just wanted to mention that lesbians do, actually, have an uncanny tendency for weird hats.

      • Em

        When I finally figured out I was gay, one of my first thoughts was “Well, I guess that explains all the hats.”

      • Ten

        That’s how you can tell immediately I’m bi rather than a lesbian. I’ve never figured out the hats.

        • That must be my giveaway. Thanks for shedding light on that for me, Ten. :D


    Even tho Heather is my idol forever and ever always, maybe don’t watch Carol. If you’re like me, the fact that her daughter Rindy basically gets taken from her will make you sadder than any happy ending love story ever could.

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