Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Media Studies

Anita Chi-Kwan Lee

University of Hong Kong

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) media studies investigate the ideological functions of GLBT and queer media representations by employing critical and theoretical methods from gender, psychoanalytic, semiotic, and →  film theories to interpret meaning in these representations. GLBT media studies examine how the sexual identity categories of ‘gay,’ ‘lesbian,’ ‘bisexual,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘queer,’ and ‘straight’ are constructed in the media; how minority sexualities are represented; and why they are so represented. ‘Queer media,’ ‘queer representation,’ ‘queer media representation,’ and ‘queer cultural production’ are terms frequently used in the field.

It is argued that the use of GLBT and its variants (e.g., ‘LGB’ and ‘LGBT’) serves to reinforce a common concept based on the binary opposition of ‘straight’ as the norm against the rest as ‘the other,’ ignoring their innate differences and the different issues faced by each group. Meanwhile, the term ‘queer’ has been reappropriated since the late 1980s as an umbrella term for the marginalized sexual minorities, from an expression of homophobic abuse in the past. Teresa de Lauretis was the first theorist to use the phrase ‘queer theory’ in print in her 1991 essay of that title.

Both controversial terms, ‘GLBT’ and ‘queer’ underline different concerns. GLBT studies are occupied with whether nature or nurture is the cause ...

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