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Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Media Studies

Anita Chi-Kwan Lee


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The subject of this entry is the field of study that examines the representation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people in the media. GLBT media studies employ theories and methods from the relatively new field of GLBT and queer studies that started to appear in academia at the beginning of the 1990s. It is concerned with 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. The use of the initialism GLBT is still under much debate. One critical point of contention is that promoting the use of this term and its variants serves to reinforce a prevalent concept based on the binary opposition of “straight” as the norm against the rest as “the other,” ignoring their inherent differences and the different issues faced by each group. There are variations of the term, which is an adaptation of the abbreviation LGB (or “lesbigay”). While it is used more in the United States and Australia, LGBT is more widely accepted and adopted by cultural and social service units catering to the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender groups in most English-speaking countries. In existence ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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