Cautious About 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Straight-Washing Freddie Mercury? Fret Not: It's Undeniably Queer

Queer erasure! Straight-washing! Homophobia! When the first trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody was released in May, it was met with serious backlash as it appeared that Freddie Mercury’s queerness had been wiped from the highly-anticipated biopic.

Critics and fans were outraged -- and rightfully so; since his untimely passing in 1991, Mercury has been regarded as queer hero. Though he never confirmed his bisexuality publicly, he regularly attended gay bars and those close to him have revealed that he was open about his identity among friends.

Unfortunately for Bohemian Rhapsody, the accusations of straight-washing became a focal point in the media leading up to today’s (Nov. 2) release. But fans will be delighted to know that Mercury’s sexual orientation is on prominent display throughout the film.

The film opens with Mercury, played by Mr. Robot dreamboat Rami Malik, prancing through a corridor in his mansion past a enormous portrait of his muse, gay icon Marlene Dietrich. But Mercury’s queerness isn’t reduced to winks and nods -- it’s built into the fabric of the film.

Take for instance a scene at a truckstop: Mercury calls his then-fiancée, Mary Austin (played by Lucy Boynton) from a payphone for a check-in. While Mercury clearly loves Austin, the call is quick, as a suitor is waiting to rendezvous in the a public restroom. Another scene sees Mercury slink through a red-lit, leather bar, looking to get off. These moments, where Mercury flirts with men and women alike -- are scattered throughout the whole of Bohemian Rhapsody.

These random encounters aren’t the only nods to the rock god’s bisexaulity though; he also has a flirty tête-à-tête with Jim Hutton (played by Aaron McCusker) before maintaining a relationship with him throughout a majority of the second half of the film. It should be noted that several details of Mercury and Hutton’s real-live relationship were glossed over -- this is Hollywood after all! -- but the two had a committed romance, something Bohemian Rhapsody does not shy away from.

Upon reviewing the film, it’s actually shocking that the studio was able to create a teaser that omitted any references to Mercury’s sexuality. To put it bluntly: the film is queer AF. While it’s understandable to remain cautious given the amount of outrage the trailer created, Bohemian Rhapsody is a win for bisexual visibility on the big screen.