This viral Twitter thread is celebrating queer villains: ‘They raised a generation of mean gays’

Francis Lee Messy Queer Characters

Twitter has been sent into meltdown by queer director Francis Lee, after prompting users to share their best “problematic” queer characters.

Francis Lee, who directed 2017’s critically acclaimed queer romance God’s Own Country, has prompted hundreds of replies after telling creatives to make their queer characters “evil” and “manipulative”.

Replying to an original tweet that prompted the author to share his “most controversial take on LGBTQI films“, Lee didn’t hold back: “Make your gay characters complex. Problematic. Nasty f**kers who do bad things.

“Unapologetic. Evil. Manipulative. Unlikeable. Three dimensional. Villainous. Not just the ‘cute’ teens holding hands.”

Twitter users took Lee’s tweet as a springboard to share their favourite queer characters who match the above criteria.

The two characters of Mickey Milkovich and Ian Gallagher – played by Noel Fisher and Cameron Monaghan respectively – and their couple name of ‘Gallavich’ from US comedy-drama Shameless crop up repeatedly in the thread.

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The pair are hardly angels, committing various felonies including arson and assault. They even end up in the same jail cell during Gallagher’s final episode in season nine, and Twitter loves them for it.

Anne Lister from Gentleman Jack is mentioned frequently on the thread. Described as “flawed and disliked by some”, the lead character of BBC One’s historical drama is based on a real person.

Twitter users have described Lister, who engages in a dangerous romance with wealthy heiress Ann Walker, as “brilliant” and “sexy” but “manipulative and unapologetic”.

Lestat de Lioncourt from the 1994 classic Interview With the Vampire and Félix Khoury from Brazilian telenova Amor à Vida also cropped up.

One fan praised Mateus Solano, who plays Félix, for delivering “the first televised gay kiss on a primetime soap opera” in Brazil.

Other queer characters to receive a shoutout include Murray Bartlett’s deviant hotel manager from The White Lotus, Jodie Comer’s homicidal homosexual Villanelle from Killing Eve, Stephanie Hsu‘s multiversal murderer Joy from Everything Everywhere All At Once, and Mads Mikkelsen’s smooth cannibal, Hannibal.

Of Villanelle, one fan even wrote: “Most of you don’t stan the show, you stan Villanelle. There’s a difference and it shows.”

Twitter users have also nominated Thomas Barrow from Downton Abbey and Oscar Van Rijn from The Gilded Age – and Santana from Glee who “literally raised a whole generation of mean gays”.

Among the nearly 10,000-strong quote tweets to Francis Lee’s prompt, X-Men villain Mystique, Cate Blanchett’s musician from Tár, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Phil Burbank from The Power of The Dog and Jack Falahee’s Connor Walsh from How to Get Away With Murder are other queer characters to receive a mention.

A large portion of the replies are focused on characters that aren’t explicitly queer, but rather queer-coded. And while this goes against Lee’s plea to make explicitly gay characters explicitly messy, some of the suggestions are plausible enough to make the list.

For example, Ewan McGregor’s Roman Sionis and Chriss Messina’s Victor Zsasz from the 2020 film Birds of Prey were never explicitly queer – but many fans thought that the murderous pair would have made a gorgeous couple.

Of course, Billy Loomis and Stu Macher from the original Scream were not only undoubtedly evil, but also undoubtedly queer, and (hilariously) Glen Powell’s character from Top Gun: Maverick also made the list. Not sure we see that one, but fair.

If there’s two things Twitter loves, it’s a prompt and some messy queer characters.

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