This article offers a joint reading of two cultural texts that reflect the contest over victim-oriented characterizations of queer youth in contemporary culture. The first text is a representation of queer youth taken from the popular UK television series Shameless (2004). The second text is an online discussion about representations of gay and lesbian characters on television that was recently posted on the Queer Youth Network website. Through my reading of these two texts, I explore the rise of explicit mainstream representations of gay and lesbian characters and the emergence of an identifiable queer youth audience as key characteristics of the contemporary 'after-queer' moment. Through a reflection on the queer youth analytical techniques observable on the Queer Youth Network site, I conclude by outlining some key implications for future educational research in the field of youth, sexuality and popular culture.