In his 1993 essay “There’s something queer here” Alexander Doty stated that queer erotics were “already part of culture’s erotic centre” (Hollows, Hutching & Jancovich, 2000, pg 339) when he discussed queer readings of films. More than twenty years on, and with gay rights movements slowly gaining ground around the world, to what extent does this statement still hold true?
I believe that these readings have become more mainstream. No longer merely the purview of cultural critics, they are readily embraced by an audience happy to celebrate diversity. In a previous column I discussed the role of fan fiction in creating LGBT writers and readers, and that certainly plays a part here. Many fans actively seek out the homoerotic in their favourite shows and films. Initial fan response to the Hannibal–Will dynamic (affectionately termed Hannigram) in NBC’s Hannibal saw showrunner Bryan Fuller playing to those moments in seasons two and three, and viewers (whether LGBT or straight) lapped it up.
Given examples such as this, is gender and sexual diversity now a mostly accepted norm in western culture and art, and to what extent has this occurred?
I, personally, do have a certain expectation that it will be there, and feel put out when it’s not. In watching Sense 8, I never thought to question the excellent array of characters, and when viewing other series and films a part of my mind is constantly seeking the queer, ready to spot any hint of homoerotic tension in the air.
What do other Queer Sci-Fiers think? Do you believe the queer is becoming mainstream? Is there still a way to go? What can those who produce cultural content, be they writers, filmmakers, or artists, do to further propagate diversity?
(Hollows, Hutching & Jancovich 2000, The Film Studies Reader, London: Arnold)