*This essay is a part of my 'Tolkien and Gender' series. You must read my Intro before reading this essay.*
Queer Coding. For those who don't know, queer coding is giving a character traits commonly associated with queer people, without explicitly stating that they are queer. Now, are any traits inherently queer? No. Our end goal is getting rid of labeling and classifying personality traits. However, we are no where near that point yet. Not only do we still code specific traits and behaviors as queer, most of the time they are talked about negatively – there is a long history of queer coding villains. Positive examples are usually (but not always) lumped in with and called 'queer subtext'. However, my issue with that is the fact that queer subtext goes far beyond a character's characterization (rightly so; and a queer coded character can certainly be part of a larger queer subtext). For this essay, I'm going to be using the term queer coding.
I came across a post recently that went along the usual lines of 'Thranduil is queer coded, Thranduil is a villain, this is bad'.
Thranduil is definitely queer coded; but he is not a villain, and this is not bad. That post also ignored the fact that Legolas is also queer coded.