Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section

 

Cinema and Media Studies Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Cinema
by
Niall Richardson, Jackson Nash
  • LAST REVIEWED: 16 May 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0033

Introduction

Mainstream cinema’s dominant subject has always been heterosexuality. Whether explicit, as in the romance genre, or simply implied, as in other genres, heterosexuality has been the foundation of mainstream cinematic representations. Queer characters, however, have been represented since cinema began, although only recently could they be labeled as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Until the 1970s, queer characters in cinema were coded through a conflation of gender transitivity with sexuality. For example, gay men were coded as effeminate—the stereotype of the sissy—while lesbians were represented as butch. Arguably, the spectator did not always read the character as queer and simply responded to the violation of gender propriety. No matter how spectators read specific characters, people identified as queer have always appeared in cinema and television. Often sources of humor or horror, queer characters have appealed to audiences for generations. One of the main concerns for queer activism has been how representations have colored public perception of queer minorities. Given that, until fairly recently, many spectators may not have known someone who was identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ), the cinematic representations could fuel further homophobia or prejudice. And many young people growing up in relative isolation with questioning their gender have first identified with a queer character on screen. Arguably, negative stereotypes promote self-loathing in the queer spectator. It is for this reason that the study of LGBTQ issues in film and media has been a politically important area of scholarship— interrogating representations and readings and also considering films made by LGBTQ-identified directors. This scholarship grew from the earliest writings that attempted to theorize camp as well as from an underground concern with rewriting the history of film with a place for gay people. More recently, academic scholarship has debated how LGBTQ characters were represented in films (lesbian and gay criticism); how queer-identified spectators reread or negotiated the meaning of mainstream cinema (queer readings); or how LGBTQ people have represented themselves (queer cinema).

Anthologies and Edited Collections

Some recent anthologies have collected the most significant writings on LGBTQ debates in relation to film and media. Juett and Jones 2010 offers an interesting collection of academic writing and journalism on contemporary queer cinema and is useful introductory reading. Benshoff and Griffin 2004 offers good introductions to many of the key debates in this area while Stacey and Street 2007 has assembled the previously published queer film scholarship from the academic journal Screen. Alderson and Anderson 2000 addresses questions of queer desire in a variety of films.

  • Alderson, David, and Linda Anderson, eds. Territories of Desire in Queer Culture: Refiguring Contemporary Boundaries. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This edited collection foregrounds queer desire in representation and addresses a range of film and literary texts, including films by Derek Jarman, Pedro Almodóvar, and Todd Haynes and Cyril Collard’s Les nuits fauves.

    Find this resource:

    • Benshoff, Harry M., and Sean Griffin, eds. Queer Cinema: The Film Reader. In Focus. New York: Routledge, 2004.

      Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

      This collection contains essays that examine representations of sexuality in relation to historical and cultural debates. The anthology is very usefully divided into four sections. The first section considers queer directors, the second considers the importance of genre, the third thinks about camp, and the fourth section considers gay reception of representations.

      Find this resource:

      • Juett, Joanna C., and David Jones, eds. Coming Out to the Mainstream: New Queer Cinema in the 21st Century. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2010.

        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

        This very eclectic collection brings together scholarly writing, journalism, and entries from established film producers that contextualize and reconsider queer cinema in current culture. Decades after Stonewall, and with the availability of gay civil partnerships and marriages, what does queer actually mean to contemporary cinema?

        Find this resource:

        • Stacey, Jackie, and Sarah Street, eds. Queer Screen: A Screen Reader. Street Readers. New York: Routledge, 2007.

          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

          The editors have brought together all the previously published writing on queer issues and cinema from the past twenty years of the journal Screen. Films addressed include Rope, Bound, Alien Resurrection, and Boys Don’t Cry.

          Find this resource:

          Textbooks

          The following textbooks offer the student succinct introductions to the study of sexuality and the media with some attention to cinema. Richardson, et al. 2010 is important for the ways in which it addresses theoretical issues in the first section before guiding the student in the application of these critical paradigms to film and television representation. Gauntlett 2008 is useful for introducing the key theorists who underpin much of queer theory.

          • Gauntlett, David. Media, Gender and Identity: An Introduction. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2008.

            DOI: 10.4324/9780203930014Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

            This introductory textbook is useful for the way in which it introduces students to many key theoretical writings in relation to gender and sexuality—notably Michel Foucault and Judith Butler.

            Find this resource:

            • Richardson, Niall, Clarissa Smith, and Angela Werndly. Studying Sexualities: Theories, Representations, Practices. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

              A basic textbook introducing theoretical issues in the first section and then applying these to readings of popular films/media texts and cultural practices.

              Find this resource:

              Reference Works

              These books merely seek to guide the reader through a great deal of material using an encyclopedia format. They present some basic details of LGBTQ cinema. Jackson and Daniel 2003 lists the available LGBTQ films. Murray 1996 and Olson 1996 offer similar guides but also supply more detail on queer film, even if there is more fan writing rather than academic criticism. Porter and Prince 2010 and Summer 2005 offer some useful background and anecdotal insights into queer cinema.

              • Jackson, Claire, and Lisa Daniel, eds. The Bent Lens: A World Guide to Gay and Lesbian Film. New York: Alyson, 2003.

                Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                Basically a guide to LGBTQ films that are available internationally. The book lists about 1,700 film titles.

                Find this resource:

                • Murray, Raymond. Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video. New York: Plume, 1996.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                  Again, a text that is more interesting for the fan than for the scholar. However, this book does offer some interesting insights into mainstream Hollywood and the gay influence, which can be traced in film production.

                  Find this resource:

                  • Olson, Jenni, ed. The Ultimate Guide to Lesbian & Gay Film and Video. New York: Serpent’s Tail, 1996.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                    This collection consists mostly of short pieces ranging from catalogue entries to short essays.

                    Find this resource:

                    • Porter, Darwin, and Danforth Prince. Fifty Years of Queer Cinema: 500 of the Best Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer Questioning Films Ever Made. New York: Blood Moon, 2010.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                      A book designed for fans that nevertheless provides some interesting anecdotes and insights into the history of LGBTQ cinema in Hollywood.

                      Find this resource:

                      • Queer Film Classics Series. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                        This new series consists of short books analyzing classic GLBT films such as Fire, Farewell My Concubine, Gods and Monsters, and Trash.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Summer, Claude J., ed. The Queer Encyclopedia of Film & Television. San Francisco: Cleis, 2005.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                          This book is designed more for the fan than for the scholar, but it offers some useful, basic details about LGBTQ cinema. Topics range from bodybuilding to Dorothy Arzner.

                          Find this resource:

                          Journals

                          Numerous journals, including many that are not identified as film or media studies journals, publish articles related to sexualities, gender, and LGBTQ issues in film. Camera Obscura is one of the first film journals devoted to gender and sexuality issues in the cinema. Jump Cut actively encourages queer submissions. Screen, one of the first film studies journals, contains many very influential queer-themed articles. Wide Angle is now defunct, but contained many interesting articles on queer films and directors. Sexualities is a cultural studies journal devoted to the study of sexuality, but it does contain useful articles on film and television. Feminist Media Studies and Genders are feminist-oriented journals but regularly feature queer-slanted articles that address film and television.

                          • Camera Obscura. 1974–.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                            The first film journal to engage with feminist discourses as they emerged in the mid- to late 1970s. However, it is also regularly publishes queer-themed articles or debates about sexuality and cinema. Notably it devoted an entire issue to cinematic divas and their gay male appreciation. Available online to subscribers.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Feminist Media Studies. 2001–.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                              As its name implies, this journal is primarily concerned with feminist debates in relation to film, television, and other media. However, it also publishes queer-themed work and debates about sexuality. Available online to subscribers.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Genders. 1988–.

                                Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                This journal addresses a range of topics and texts but is very responsive to queer-themed articles on film and television. The journal has been online since 1998. Accessible online for free for issues published 1998 and later.

                                Find this resource:

                                • Jump Cut. 1974–.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                  Regularly publishes essays that apply film theory to current cinema, but seems keen on promoting discussion of queer subject matter. All issues available online for free.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Screen. 1969–.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                    One of the first of the film studies journals and still regarded by many scholars as the main journal for film and television scholarship. It publishes a range of articles that are often theoretically dense, but it has published some very influential queer-themed discussions. Notably, it ran a series of shorter articles on the film Boys Don’t Cry as part of its debates section. Available online to subscribers.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • Sexualities. 1998–.

                                      Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                      One of the few journals to address sexuality from the perspective of cultural studies. The journal publishes on a range of topics but includes articles on film and television. Available online to subscribers.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • Wide Angle. 1976–1999.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                        Now defunct, this journal published interviews with filmmakers and many important essays on gay cinema, including Warhol and Anger. Issues from 1996 onward are available online to subscribers.

                                        Find this resource:

                                        LGBTQ, Politics

                                        Lesbian and gay criticism was primarily interested in the issue of representation. How were LGBTQ characters represented in mainstream cinema? What particular codes were employed? How were queer characters stereotyped? One of the leading writers in lesbian and gay criticism, Richard Dyer (see Dyer 2002a, Dyer 2002b) explores the politics of representation and media stereotypes. Weiss 1992 and White 1999 analyze the representation of lesbians on the screen. Watney 1982 considers the politics of some of the earliest Hollywood representations to address homosexuality explicitly, while Dreisinger 2000 considers the mainstreaming of the gay man as the fashionable “gay best friend” in contemporary romantic comedies. Coon 2018 analyzes how queer films by nonprofits differ from Hollywood movies.

                                        • Coon, David R. Turning the Page: Storytelling as Activism in Queer Film and Media. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2018.

                                          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                          Turning the Page explores three nonprofit organizations, Life Media, POWER UP, and Three Dollar Bill Cinema, which distribute LGBTQ films by and for queer people. Includes interviews with industry professionals as well as close readings of individual films and analysis of how Hollywood represents queer stories in comparison to nonprofits.

                                          Find this resource:

                                          • Dreisinger, Baz. “The Queen in Shining Armor: Safe Eroticism and the Gay Friend.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 28.1 (2000): 3–11.

                                            DOI: 10.1080/01956050009602816Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                            Dreisinger considers how the gay best friend can function as “safe eroticism” for the female lead in various Hollywood romantic comedies such as My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Object of My Affection, and As Good As It Gets.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            • Dyer, Richard. The Matter of Images: Essays on Representation. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2002a.

                                              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                              One of the most important books in representation studies, The Matter of Images contains some important chapters on the representation of homosexuality in cinema, including important writing on stereotypes and camp.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              • Dyer, Richard. The Culture of Queers. New York: Routledge, 2002b.

                                                Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                The Culture of Queers assembles many of Dyer’s previously published articles and chapters (some journalism as well), which consider debates about representation, stereotyping, and lesbian and gay culture.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                • Tinkcom, Matthew. Working Like a Homosexual: Camp, Capital, and Cinema. Series Q. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002.

                                                  DOI: 10.1215/9780822383772Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                  This book explores not only how gay men have consumed popular culture but the role they have played in the creation of it. From Vincente Minnelli’s musicals to John Waters’s trash aesthetics, this book explores not only how gay men have read these films but also how camp allowed its producers to create such images and evade censure.

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  • Watney, Simon. “Hollywood’s Homosexual World.” Screen 23.3–4 (1982): 107–121.

                                                    DOI: 10.1093/screen/23.3-4.107Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                    An important essay in which Watney considers how Hollywood “contains” its gay characters within safe domesticity. The piece analyzes important films in the history of lesbian and gay representation, such as Making Love.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    • Waugh, Thomas. The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writing on Queer Cinema. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

                                                      DOI: 10.1215/9780822380948Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                      One of the grandfathers of lesbian and gay film criticism, Thomas Waugh is distinguished by his wealth of writing on lesbian and gay cinema, representation and culture. The Fruit Machine assembles many of his previously published journal articles, film reviews, and book chapters. Also available as an e-book.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      • Weiss, Andrea. Vampires and Violets: Lesbians in the Cinema. London: Jonathan Cape, 1992.

                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                        An overview of the history of one of the most popular of Sapphic stereotypes in Hollywood: the lesbian vampire.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        • White, Patricia. Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.

                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                          Still one of the most important texts in the consideration of lesbian (in)visibility in classical Hollywood. Although lesbians could not be represented explicitly on the screen, White argues that the spectator was invited to infer a character’s lesbian identification from a specific set of codes and conventions.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          LGBTQ Criticism, Camp

                                                          Although not outside of political considerations, many critics have been sensitive to the performative, “camp” elements of cinema. Typically, Dyer 1977 stands as a founding text in this vein of inquiry. Cohan 2005 concentrates on the Hollywood musical, while Farmer 2000 takes a wider view of camp aspects in Hollywood in general.

                                                          • Cohan, Steven. Incongruous Entertainment: Camp, Cultural Value, and the MGM Musical. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.

                                                            DOI: 10.1215/9780822387077Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                            This book focuses on the relationship of camp to the spectacle of the Hollywood musical. It also examines the camp appreciation of musical stars among gay men.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            • Dyer, Richard. Gays and Film. London: British Film Institution (BFI), 1977.

                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                              One of the godfathers of British film studies, Dyer has made an enormous contribution to the development of the discipline. Dyer is particularly respected for his influential work on how queers are represented in cinema and popular culture. One of the first texts within academic lesbian and gay criticism, Gays and Film offers essays on key topics such as stereotyping, camp, and lesbian representation.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              • Farmer, Brett. Spectacular Passions: Cinema, Fantasy, Gay Male Spectatorship. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

                                                                DOI: 10.1215/9780822380252Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                This text explores how the gay male spectator is positioned in relation to mainstream Hollywood texts. This book is important for addressing the concept of camp and camp appreciation of film and its stars. E-book.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                History

                                                                How have LGBTQ people made films about themselves and how have their representations evolved in the history of mainstream representation? Russo 1981 offers the most famous overview of the history of representation of homosexuality on the cinema screen. Tyler 1993 offers a similar agenda but tends to favor avant-garde over mainstream cinema. Dyer and Pidduck 2003 offers theoretically sophisticated analyses of queer representation but, for the most part, does not focus on mainstream cinema, while Benshoff and Griffin 2005 offers a useful overview of the history of representation during the past thirty years, a period that Russo 1981 was unable to address.

                                                                • Benshoff, Harry M., and Sean Griffin. Queer Images: A History of Lesbian and Gay Film in America. Genre and Beyond. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                  Arguably the successor to Russo 1981, Queer Images chronicles almost 100 years of cinematic representation of LGBTQ characters. Written by two highly respected scholars in lesbian and gay studies, Queer Images explores the ever-changing images of queer characters in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  • Dyer, Richard, and Julianne Pidduck. Now You See It: Studies in Lesbian and Gay Film. New York: Routledge, 2003.

                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                    First published in 1990, the book analyzes a variety of films with lesbian and gay characters. Dyer carefully connects the films with cultural and historical conditions, ultimately developing a theory of queer representation. Most of the film texts, however, are not mainstream Hollywood. There are particularly interesting readings of Querelle, Orphée, and Un chant d’amour.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Hadleigh, Boze. The Lavender Screen: The Gay and Lesbian Films, Their Stars, Makers, Characters, and Critics. Rev. ed. New York: Citadel, 2001.

                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                      This study is directed more toward the film buff than toward the scholar. Nevertheless, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of queer-themed films, ranging from Mädchen in Uniform to contemporary representations.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies. New York: Harper & Row, 1981.

                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                        One of the most influential histories of LGBTQ representation and stereotyping in mainstream Hollywood cinema, The Celluloid Closet was also made into a documentary of the same name in 1995. Although its focus is representation, it establishes a clear history of how these stereotypes and representations evolved and developed throughout the history of Hollywood.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        • Tyler, Parker. Screening the Sexes. Rev. ed. New York: Da Capo, 1993.

                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                          Arguably a camp classic in its own right, Screening the Sexes was one of the first attempts to consider the history of LGBTQ representation in cinema. However, unlike The Celluloid Closet, it tends to favor avant-garde or art cinema at the expense of Hollywood. The book has also been criticized for, as some critics see it, a streak of misogyny and over-the-top writing.

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          National Cinema and LGBTQ Issues

                                                                          Because queer cinema is generally considered to be anglophone, such as those films addressed in Griffiths 2008, the following texts are important for analyzing queer representations within a variety of national cinemas. Foster 2004 introduces the scholar to queer issues in the context of Latin American cinema, while Grossman 2000 explores similar debates in relation to Asian cinema. Kuzniar 2000 addresses queerness in German national cinema, while Rees-Roberts 2008 thinks about queer representation in French cinema, although focusing mainly on experimental and auteur film. Yosef 2004 considers how queerness, although often elided in Israeli representation, can be found in Israeli cinema. Schoonover and Galt 2016 explores how international distribution affects queer cinema. Smith 2017 takes an in-depth look at queer Mexican cinema. Finally, Macleod 2018 examines films portraying queer life in Ireland.

                                                                          • Foster, David William. Queer Issues in Contemporary Latin American Cinema. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004.

                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                            This study is largely structured around queer readings of contemporary Latin American films. Important book for scholars of Latin American cinema and queer theory.

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            • Griffiths, Robin, ed. Queer Cinema in Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                              This book collects debates about sexuality within the context of contemporary European cinema. In a range of essays considering filmmakers from Fassbinder to Almodóvar, the collection considers how ideas of national identity and queerness relate to each other within a European context.

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              • Grossman, Andrew P. Queer Asian Cinema: Shadows in the Shade. New York: Harrington Park, 2000.

                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                This book explores queer themes in a range of films from Hong Kong gangster movies to Bollywood melodramas.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Kuzniar, Alice A. The Queer German Cinema. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.

                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                  One of the most important books to address queerness within German national cinema, considering everything from the cross-dressing comedies of the 1920s to the queer work of the 1990s. The book also recognizes the importance of queer directors such as Ulrike Ottinger and Monika Treut.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  • Macleod, Allison. Irish Queer Cinema. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018.

                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                    This text focuses on Irish queer masculinities and the increasing visibility of Irish queer identity in cinema. Through the identification and analysis of twenty-three films depicting queer Irish life the links between on-screen queer identity and political change are explored with relation to Irish national culture. The author proposes new spatial models for analyzing Irish film.

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Rees-Roberts, Nick. French Queer Cinema. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634187.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                      Unlike other books in queer cinema studies, this monograph is concerned with queer self-representation in the context of auteur film and experimental art film and video. The text is particularly useful for introducing the scholar to the work of lesser-known directors.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      • Schoonover, Karl, and Rosalind Galt. Queer Cinema in the World. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1215/9780822373674Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                        This book covers a broad range of world cinema, including lesbian drama and genderqueer documentary. The authors show how international distribution and film festivals create a queer belonging that spans the globe. Chapters include themes of genre, narrative, and queer cinematic time.

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        • Smith, Paul Julian. Queer Mexico: Cinema and Television since 2000. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2017.

                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                          Treats queerness and its relationship to culture in Mexican film and television since 2000. Topics include pornography, LGBT youth-drama online, the rise of transgender documentaries, and LGBT mainstream cinema. This is a thorough and thoughtful text that highlights issues of queer representation in Mexico, especially the ideas of visibility and acknowledgment of the queer community.

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • Yosef, Raz. Beyond Flesh: Queer Masculinities and Nationalism in Israeli Cinema. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004.

                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                            This book explores Israeli cinema’s role in the formation of a national identity but focuses on how the elision of queerness was necessary for Israeli goals.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            Bisexuality

                                                                                            Although many of the previous texts cited will contain sections addressing bisexuality and cinema, the following texts make it their primary subject matter. Bryant 1997 is important as the first scholarly text to address the representation of bisexuality on the screen. Most recently, Vicari 2011 develops Bryant’s debates but maintains a focus on male bisexuality.

                                                                                            • Bryant, Wayne M. Bisexual Characters in Film: From Anaïs to Zee. Haworth Gay & Lesbian Studies. New York: Harrington Park, 1997.

                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                              This book not only considers the representation of bisexual characters on the cinema screen; it also details the contribution made by bisexual people to the creation of films as directors, actors, and producers.

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              • Vicari, Justin. Male Bisexuality in Current Cinema: Images of Growth, Rebellion and Survival. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland, 2011.

                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                Vicari explores bisexuality in contemporary popular cinema, concentrating on how these representations question hegemonic male roles and the limitations of traditional monogamy.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                New Queer Cinema

                                                                                                The term New Queer Cinema was coined by film journalist Ruby Rich, who applied the label to a small number of independent films and videos in the early 1990s. Rich 1993 represents the author’s more recent meditations on this tradition. Inspired by the politics of queer, New Queer Cinema was politically incorrect, flaunted “negative” stereotypes, and often questioned the idea of a fixed sexual identity. Gever, et al. 1993 and Bad Object-Choices 1991 are the earliest collections of criticism on New Queer Cinema. Bristow and Wilson 1993 contains many influential chapters on bisexuality but also some writing on New Queer Cinema. Aaron 2004 is important for assembling scholarly essays on New Queer Cinema, while Richardson 2009, although concerned with the cinema of Derek Jarman, does devote the early chapters of the book to an examination of Queer and New Queer Cinema. Holmlund and Fuchs 1997 considers gay, lesbian, and queer documentary, arguing for the political importance of this genre of film-making. Cohan and Hark 1997 considers the road movie, a key genre within Queer Cinema, while Savage and Julien 1994 speculates on the politics and aesthetics of Queer Cinema from the director’s perspective.

                                                                                                • Aaron, Michele, ed. New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004.

                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                  A collection of scholarly essays analyzing films usually associated with the movement New Queer Cinema. The collection includes Ruby Rich’s article from Sight & Sound (2:5, September) that christened the movement “Queer Cinema.”

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  • Bad Object-Choices, ed. How Do I Look? Queer Film and Video. Seattle: Bay, 1991.

                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                    This anthology contains an eclectic mix of essays (some academic, some journalistic) considering a range of film, video, and documentary texts. One of the first publications to be devoted to the analysis of LGBTQ cinema.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    • Bristow, Joseph, and Angelia R. Wilson. Activating Theory: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Politics. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1993.

                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                      Although the chapters are largely concerned with politics, José Arroyo’s chapter on New Queer Cinema offers detailed textual analysis of Edward II and My Own Private Idaho.

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • Cohan, Steven, and Ina Rae Hark, eds. The Road Movie Book. New York: Routledge, 1997.

                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                        This collection of essays contains entries that analyze the queer road movie—in particular The Living End; My Own Private Idaho; and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • Gever, Martha, John Greyson, and Pritibha Parma, eds. Queer Looks: Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Film and Video. New York: Routledge, 1993.

                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                          A collection of writings by academic critics, artists, and filmmakers that analyze a range of LGBTQ film texts.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          • Holmlund, Chris, and Cynthia Fuchs. Between the Sheets, in the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary. Visible Evidence 1. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.

                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                            This collection of essays considers queer, lesbian, and gay documentary, maintaining a focus on the social and political importance of this genre of filmmaking. The directors addressed include Cheryl Dunne, Derek Jarman, and Sadie Bennings; and the film texts considered include Paris Is Burning, Juggling Gender, and Strangers in Good Company.

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            • Rich, Ruby. “Reflections on a Queer Screen.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1 (1993): 83–91.

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1215/10642684-1-1-83Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                              This article is more of an academic version of the famous journalistic piece published in Sight & Sound (2:5, September), “Queer Cinema.” Here, Rich considers the importance of New Queer Cinema and poses a number of questions about the genre and areas deserving of further research. Available online to subscribers.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              • Richardson, Niall. The Queer Cinema of Derek Jarman: Critical and Cultural Readings. International Library of Cultural Studies 1. London: I. B. Tauris, 2009.

                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                Although primarily concerned with analyzing the queerness of Jarman’s cinema, this book also contains a chapter on New Queer Cinema and another summarizing the key debates within queer theory.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                • Savage, Jon, and Isaac Julien. “Queering the Pitch: A Conversation; The Film Art of Isaac Julien.” Critical Quarterly 36.1 (Spring 1994): 1–12.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8705.1994.tb01005.xSave Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                  An in-depth interview with Isaac Julien (director of Looking for Langston), in which he speculates on the politics and aesthetics of queer cinema. Available online to subscribers.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  Queer Readings and Queer Spectatorship

                                                                                                                  Is there one preferred reading of a film text or are reading and interpretation open to debate and dependent on the spectator? Against-the-grain readings of film texts—or queering film texts—became very popular in academic discourses in the late 1990s–early 2000s. Several edited collections are devoted to alternative, queer readings of films and media texts. Doty 1993, Doty and Creekmur 1995, and Doty 2000 offer students the best introduction to queer readings on mainstream film and media texts. Burston and Richardson 1995 treats queer popular culture; Hanson 1999 offers a collection of queer readings of classical and contemporary Hollywood; while Straayer 1996 considers the alternative pleasures that spectators can claim from film and video. Fuss 1991 contains two important queer-reading chapters, while Gutiérrez-Albilla 2008, although focusing on Buñuel, offers guidance on the dynamics of queer readings. Elliot-Smith 2016 addresses gay shame in the horror genre.

                                                                                                                  • Burston, Paul, and Colin Richardson, eds. A Queer Romance: Lesbians, Gay Men, and Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 1995.

                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                    This edited collection offers some gleefully queer readings of a range of popular cultural texts and practices. Films discussed include Top Gun and Black Widow.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Doty, Alexander. Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                      After identifying strategies of queer spectatorship, Doty shows how characters like Jack Benny, Laverne and Shirley, and the Golden Girls are allowed to stray into queer territory only to snap back into conventional heterosexuality, thus reassuring the dominant (heterosexual) audience.

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Doty, Alexander. Flaming Classics: Queering the Film Canon. New York: Routledge, 2000.

                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                        Doty again queers some important films, ranging from Citizen Kane to The Wizard of Oz.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        • Doty, Alexander, and Corey K. Creekmur, eds. Out in Culture: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Essays on Popular Culture. Series Q. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995.

                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                          Essential essays by several of the most important scholars who have theorized cinema from gay, lesbian, and queer perspectives. An entire section is devoted to queer readings of films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          • Elliot-Smith, Darren. Queer Horror Film and Television. London: I. B Taurus, 2016.

                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                            Moving away from the common analysis of the monster as heterosexual anxiety, this book looks at gay shame and anxieties of acceptance within gay male subcultures and horror film and television. Horror films by gay, bi and trans identified male directors and producers that feature “out” characters are categorized as queer horror and a variety of forms within the subgenre are explored, such as satirical horror and low-budget slasher movies.

                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                            • Fuss, Diana, ed. Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories. New York: Routledge, 1991.

                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                              This very influential collection contains essays on (queering) film, including Dyer’s chapter on homosexuality and authorship and Miller’s reading of Rope.

                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                              • Gutiérrez-Albilla, Julián. Queering Buñuel: Sexual Dissidence and Psychoanalysis in His Mexican and Spanish Cinema. London: I. B. Tauris, 2008.

                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                Although Buñuel is widely regarded as the father of cinematic surrealism, little attention has been given to the possibility of reading his fantastic images through a queer lens. Queering Buñuel argues that multiple sexual identities are represented in Buñuel’s cinema that cannot be classified within the heterosexual/homosexual binary.

                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                • Hanson, Ellis, ed. Out Takes: Essays on Queer Theory and Film. Series Q. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Diverse writers from cinema studies and queer theory look at Hollywood stars such as Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor and directors from the art and avant-garde cinemas such as Derek Jarman and Kenneth Anger.

                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                  • Straayer, Chris. Deviant Eyes, Deviant Bodies: Sexual Re-orientations in Film and Video. Film and Culture; Between Men–Between Women. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Relying on gender theorists such as Judith Butler, Straayer asks that audiences give up their reliance on dichotomies of gender and sexuality.

                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                    Queering Individual Films and Directors

                                                                                                                                    Each of these texts concentrates on one film or one director to produce queer readings. A highly influential article, Medhurst 1991 considers the importance of queer authorship for film scholarship. In a similar vein, Richardson 2006 examines how Todd Haynes’s homage to the Sirkian melodramas can also be read as queer, while Samuels 1998 offers a full monograph debating the sexual identification of Hitchcock’s characters. Tinkcom 2017 considers Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.

                                                                                                                                    • Medhurst, Andy. “That Special Thrill: Brief Encounter, Homosexuality and Authorship.” Screen 32.2 (Summer 1991): 197–208.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1093/screen/32.2.197Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                      One of the first articles to consider the importance of the “author’s” sexuality in relation to how the text is read. Emphasizing how the story is adapted from Noel Coward’s play, Medhurst considers the importance of Brief Encounter for gay spectators. Available online to subscribers.

                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                      • Richardson, Niall. “‘Poison’ in the Sirkian System: The Political Agenda of Todd Haynes’s ‘Far from Heaven.’” Scope: International Journal of Film Studies 6 (October 2006).

                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                        This article considers how Haynes “queers” the Sirkian system in his homage to the 1950s domestic melodrama Far from Heaven.

                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                        • Samuels, Robert. Hitchcock’s Bi-textuality: Lacan, Feminisms and Queer Theory. SUNY Series in Psychoanalysis and Culture. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Although Hitchcock’s cinema presents multiple forms of sexuality and sexual identification, most academic criticism of the films has focused on the heterosexual, male perspective. Samuels, however, employs psychoanalysis to consider queer desires and identifications in Hitchcock’s cinema, with a specific focus on bisexuality.

                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                          • Tinkcom, Matthew. Queer Theory and Brokeback Mountain. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.5040/9781501318856Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Gives an overview of the work of key queer theorists such as Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and uses these queer frameworks to examine in-depth Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.

                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                            Transgender

                                                                                                                                            Transgender is a term used to identify a body that does not conform to hegemonic ideas of gender. Most commonly, transgender can refer to people who identify as trans, transsexual, non-binary, gender nonconforming or drag artists but covers a vast array of self-identifying terms. Cultural studies approaches to transgender are still in their infancy in the academy and, not surprisingly, the work on cinema is prenatal. Phillips 2006 is still the most important introduction to these debates for the new student. Richardson 2010, although devoting only one section of the book to transgender, does offer a useful summary of the issues in the section’s introduction. Halberstam 1998 is particularly useful for the consideration of trans male identity, while Bruzzi 1997 is still one of the most important texts in the consideration of cinematic cross-dressing and drag performances. Shingler 1995 provides one of the most influential considerations of the politics of drag in cinema in this famous article in which the author argues that Bette Davis can be read as a female drag queen. As part of the Queer Film Classics series, Holmlund 2017 examines John Waters’s Female Trouble and Hilberbrand 2013 considers Paris Is Burning and the history of the New York drag ball scene.

                                                                                                                                            • Bruzzi, Stella. Undressing Cinema: Clothing and Identity in the Movies. New York: Routledge, 1997.

                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                              This book contains several interesting chapters on cross-dressing narratives in Hollywood cinema (Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire) and the spectacle of drag (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).

                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                              • Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.

                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                One of the most internationally respected queer theorists, Halberstam addresses the issue of female masculinity in contemporary culture. Although not a film studies text, Female Masculinity does offer some important criticism of the film Boys Don’t Cry.

                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                • Hilberbrand, Lucas. Paris Is Burning: A Queer Film Classic. Arsenal Pulp Press series Queer Film Classics. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Paris Is Burning portrays the lives of African American and Latino drag artists, dancers, queer men, and transgender women in the New York drag ball scene of the 1980s. Hilberbrand considers the history of the drag ball scene while exploring issues of gender, sexuality, class, and race portrayed in the documentary.

                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                  • Holmlund, Chris. Female Trouble: A Queer Film Classic. Arsenal Pulp Press series Queer Film Classics. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017.

                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Holmlund provides an in-depth exploration of camp aesthetics in Female Trouble and places John Water’s classic film within the historical contexts of independent filmmaking.

                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                    • Phillips, John. Transgender on Screen. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1057/9780230596337Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      This book draws on psychoanalysis in its analysis of the representation of transgender on screen. The texts discussed range from mainstream cinema (The Crying Game) to online She-Male pornography.

                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                      • Richardson, Niall. Transgressive Bodies: Representations in Film and Popular Culture. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010.

                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        This book contains two chapters on transgender bodies that analyze mainstream film texts such as TransAmerica and Trantasia: Tears, Tiaras and Transsexuals and also Internet She-Male pornography and the FTM pornography star Buck Angel.

                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                        • Shingler, Martin. “Masquerade or Drag? Bette Davis and the Ambiguities of Gender.” Screen 36.3 (Autumn 1995): 179–192.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1093/screen/36.3.179Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          A very influential essay in which Shingler offers a queer reading of Hollywood icon Bette Davis, arguing that she is doing female drag in a number of her roles. The article offers an extremely useful summary of Judith Butler’s theories of gender performativity.

                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                          Pornography

                                                                                                                                                          Although crucial attention is now being paid to porn studies in film studies, gay porn has always been regarded as an important and influential cultural text within lesbian and gay studies. Porn has not only been influential in shaping gay men’s ideas of body image and masculinity but, for many gay men, their very first representations of gay intimacy could be found only in pornographic representation. Escoffier 2009 importantly documents the history of the gay porn industry. Morrison 2004 offers useful analyses of how gay porn has influenced gay male culture.

                                                                                                                                                          • Escoffier, Jeffrey. Bigger than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            After the Stonewall riots, a number of studios began to make gay pornographic films. This history documents the rise of gay pornography and its influence on how gay men perceived their own masculinity and sexuality.

                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                            • Morrison, Todd, ed. Special Issue: Eclectic Views on Gay Male Pornography: Pornucopia. Journal of Homosexuality 47.3–4 (2004).

                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              This edited collection draws together scholars from a range of disciplines (from law to media studies) to consider the complex world of gay male pornography and the way it has permeated and affected gay male culture from the 1970s to the present day.

                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                              back to top

                                                                                                                                                              Article

                                                                                                                                                              Up

                                                                                                                                                              Down