film festivals, they’re on the radio, they’re on Netflix—and there’s even more on the way. These days, it feels like queer cowboys (cow-folks?) are everywhere.Now, you may ask, “What in tarnation is going on here?” What’s in the water that, suddenly, it feels like the zeitgeist is chock-full of gay Westerns?Well, the thing is, the genre has pretty much always been gay.
Traditionally, the Western is thought of as the realm of male bravado—hyper-masculine, tough-talkin’, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps type of guys—but all that “yeehaw’ posturing is exactly why so many cowboys, gunslingers, and outlaws in films lend themselves to queer readings.
It’s all such a put-on that it’s easy to sense something gay just beneath the surface.Yes, the frontier has long felt like a conduit for repressed homosexuality.
Every quiet night around a campfire on the open plain, every tense stare-down between stand-off rivals can feel charged with unspoken sexual tension.Over the decades, many filmmakers have leaned into the Western’s latent queer appeal—whether intentionally or not—dating all the way back to the genre’s first golden era in Hollywood.With that in mind.