Quite a few of us are familiar with the sensation. We watch our favourite TV shows and as we become further entwined with our favourite characters and their various misadventures, we can't help but hope. We hope they will defeat evil. We hope they will not die. And most of all, we hope they'll find love. This, inevitably, leads to what's known as shipping: when the sexual tension between two characters becomes so apparent, and so palpable, we spend every episode hoping they'll finally surrender to their love. It's all natural, and it's usually all fun . . . until the showrunners start to take note and use the information to their advantage.
At this point, the writers might begin deliberately inserting moments that are meant to drive fans crazy. This can become especially problematic in one scenario: when a ship occurs between two characters of the same sex. When the writers or showrunners insert these small moments, especially to tease the potential inclusion of the LGBTQ community, that's where we hit a problem. This is what's known as queerbaiting: giving hope for the inclusion of an LGBTQ character without ever following through.
Perhaps one of the most incendiary examples of the phenomenon is Supernatural, which you might even argue was pivotal in establishing "queerbaiting" as a growing problem. For seasons and seasons, the show implied that romantic feelings had grown between Castiel and Dean Winchester, thus earning the ship name "Destiel." What started as harmless nods turned to all-out jokes, winks to camera, and more. In 2014, fans directly called out the show for its problematic way of handling the situation, especially after Misha Collins directly hinted at a payoff in an interview with the Huffington Post.