The Norm Can Conform

The opinions you never asked for on the subjects you’re not bothered about.

Unexpected Icon in the Gagging Area: 2023

This year did some damage on my own purse, I’m not saying it’s the best but it ain’t the worst. Yes, 2023 is almost over. The sausage factory of wank Tory Prime Ministers continues, we’re waiting over an entire year for The Traitors series 2 to come out, and we still don’t have a dedicated All-Stars season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Overall, it was alright, we survived, didn’t we?

But as 2023 comes to an end, it’s important to move forward while also having a cheeky gander back at some of the moments that tickled our tuppence this year. More specifically, the cuntification of queer joy that we saw throughout 2023!

Unexpected Icons in the Gagging Area!

In no particular order, I want to share with you some of the moments from 2023 that gave me pure joy – whether they be meme-worthy, pop-culture moments, or things that just give me a titter on Twitter – sorry… “X”

“Angela Bassett did the thing”

Following on from Ariana DeBose’s hugely successful opening medley at the Tony Awards back in 2022, the BAFTAs thought they’d get in on the act and have her perform a medley for them too.

If you’ve seen this performance, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The whole number was a Vogue-inspired rap to highlight the women nominated at this year BAFTAs. Camp, that’s all that needs to be said. It became so meme-worthy that Ariana deleted Twitter. But fear not, time is a healer and she’s in on the joke with us now.

Danny Beard vs Lorraine ‘Summer Holidays’ Kelly

Gay Twitter really can latch on to anything and roll with it. This year has been no exception with people talking about how Lorraine Kelly always has the summer holidays off from her own talk show despite the fact her kids are now adults. This got jokingly called out on air this year when RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 4 winner, Danny Beard, was interviewed on the show by Christine Lampard on Lorraine.

Danny finally asked the question we all wanted answers to; “Where is she?!”

Let Loose

The absolute earworm of RPDR Season 15! Loosey LaDuca’s ever-so-ironically named song ‘Let Loose’ for the talent show challenge burned its way into people’s minds. We couldn’t shake it off, nor did we really want to. I think what made this song more powerful was seeing all the shit she had to endure during her season. Loosen up Loosey, we got you girl!

Padam Padam

Kylie Minogue is back in the charts and the gays went wild. A song you’ve definitely heard in every gay bar you visited this year. Speaking of Aussie queens;

That twink’s song about poppers

High-queer clubbing energy by everybody’s favourite Aussie twink. Rush went viral for its unapologetically gay music video with people around the globe recreating the dance on TikTok.

The Six

We’re one of a kind, no category, two many years lost in history… and so on and so forth. EastEnders went big this year with their Christmas Day special hyped all the way back with a flash-forward to Xmas Day in February. Six strong women all with a man-shaped burden dominating their lives. But who will be killed on Christmas?!

And in true EastEnders style, there was a twist, Nish may have taken a bottle to the back of the head but it was Linda who quite literally put the knife in the back of Keanu to protect Sharon. 2024 will see these women face their actions and see how they come out at the end of their murderous spree. When gays put strong women at the forefront of their storylines, good things happen!


Due to the war in Ukraine, as runners-up of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest (massive shoutout to Sam Ryder), the United Kingdom was asked to host on Ukraine’s behalf. We saw a previous winner, Loreen, come back to sing once more for Sweden and she stands victorious… just in time for the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision win… plot twist. As always, there were plenty of campy moments, so let me break it down briefly;

Käärijä – Cha Cha Cha

In my eyes, the true winner of this year’s song contest with a huge number of votes from the public. Who would have thought a Finnish techno punk with backing dancers sporting bright white Turkey teeth gumshields and showcasing one of the most simplistic yet memorable dance moves in Eurovision history would steal the hearts of the world?! You don’t need to know why it works, just trust the process and embrace that it is iconic.

Let 3 – Mama ŠČ!

Ranking towards the very bottom of the leaderboard from the judge’s scores, Let 3 was another bizarre yet memorable act that amassed a staggering amount of points from the general public. This campy military anthem felt powerful, uplifting, and silly – even if we didn’t understand a single word. And then there was the reveal of their white Y-fronts – this is what Eurovision is all about.

An Ode to Liverpool

With Liverpool hosting this year, the halftime show decided to do an ode to Liverpool with some of Eurovision’s most iconic acts coming back to sing a selection of songs from Liverpudlian artists. And no, it wasn’t the obvious Cilla Black and Beatles songs, these were other pop-culture classics from the likes of; Atomic Kitten, Pete Burns, Melanie C, and of course, a live rendition from Sonia – back in the flesh!

Hannah ‘The Wadds’ Waddingham

The shiniest star of Eurovision and the absolute Pride of Britain of the whole event had to be Hannah Waddingham as one of the hosts. The Ted Lasso star has been gaining more and more momentum throughout the year but nobody can tell me otherwise that you didn’t get a twinge when she started speaking French and belting out her high notes.

Big Brother

After a very long hiatus, Big Brother returned to our screens thanks to ITV’s takeover. There was a lot of worry that ITV would cast a lot of ‘Love Island’ types but in fairness, I think they did a great job at the first season and we’re very excited to see what comes next.

The Love Triangle

A queer love story that could rival the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. Socially awkward Jordan latched onto his tory bae Henry as they had a connection of judging the common man. But the heart wants what the heart wants and Jordan was finding himself more and more smitten with Matty. I think the deciding factor for Jordan to push Matty aside was his disdain at Matty’s open relationship and previous sexual freedoms. Still, Jordan and Henry seem to be going strong and Jordan was the eventual winner of the first season of Big Brother’s revival.

Bald Kerry

One of the best things to come out of this season was the ‘Bald Kerry’ memes on Twitter. They compared Kerry to Paddy from Emmerdale and once seen it can’t be unseen. Why did it start? I’ll never know but my god it was spectacular. And don’t worry too much, Kerry had a laugh reacting to the memes too!

I Am Kenough

Barbie was one of the most highly anticipated movies to be released in 2023. Not only that but it broke box office records with its campy aesthetic and important message of feminisim and toxic masculinity. Which actually makes it even funnier that Ken (played by Ryan Gosling) was an absolute standout in the film. ‘Kenergy’ swept the world and we haven’t quite felt the same since. ‘I’m Just Ken‘ was undoubtly one of the highlights of the film.

Finger on the pulse

Maryam Moshiri went viral recently as she was caught sticking up her middle finger at the beginning of her news broadcast. Hilariously, it was just before a segment about Boris Johnson.

Maryam profusely apologised via her social media platforms with an extended video showing what we didn’t see off-camera – the full 10-second countdown. Don’t apologise hun, you’ve officially become my countdown to the New Year!

And that will do me for now. 2023, you’ve had some gorgeous moments, as usual, there have been some naff moments too. Let’s see what 2024 throws our way.

Harry J Bartlett

Harry J Bartlett is a UK based journalist, blogger and photographer. During his time at university, Harry started exploring the concepts of ‘The Youth of Today’, capturing subculture trends and narratives. From here, Harry continued to focus on the ideologies of ‘Urban Youth’.

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