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This essay examines the rise in cryptids – animals whose existence is disputed or unsubstantiated, or creatures who exist on the margins of biological understanding to the point of being mythical – being claimed by younger queer people as symbols of their outsider status and transgression. Beginning with an analysis of the political resistance that the reclamation of monstrosity makes possible for queer subjects, I argue that “cryptid culture” is a refusal of a politics of assimilation that has lately characterized LGBTQ+ communities. I then argue that this attachment to “cryptid culture” is also indicative of shifts in personal queer identity, reinforcing the centrality of individual transgression, post-structural ambiguity, and playful use of symbolism prompted by digital interaction. Ultimately, the adoption of cryptids as the mascots of young queer communities gestures towards an optimistic commitment to political critique, and provides new directions in which for queer theory to proceed.

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