Exploring Queer Joy

The Importance of Positive LGBTQ+ Narratives

  • Janine Heber MacEwan University

Abstract

Media is a powerful tool for socializing society about norms. Media portrayals of LGBTQ+ narratives often reinforce heteronormative ideals in society. Lack of representation or narratives that exploit the trauma of LGBTQ+ characters can lead to associations of queerness with negative outcomes and unhappiness. However, LGBTQ+ narratives that focus on the joy and happiness between characters can serve as a catalyst for acceptance. As such, it is important to celebrate and highlight series like Schitt’s Creek which intentionally show the tenderness, happiness, acceptance, and love of LGBTQ+ characters. The centre of the hoop is the hand embroidered image from the show's billboard. In an interview, Daniel Levy, the co-creator of Schitt’s Creek, shared that he wanted to do something bold for the final season and that his younger self would never have dreamed of seeing a billboard with two men kissing. Many fans have taken photos in front of the billboard to share their acceptance and celebration of queer love. When young sunflowers grow, they turn towards the direction of the sunlight during the day and reverse course at dawn so they are ready for morning. A study by Harmer in 2016 found that restricted sunflowers that were unable to turn were smaller in size and had fewer petals. In the same way, lack of positive LGBTQ+ narratives negatively impact the lives of LGBTQ+ people. Here, the border of sunflowers represents a collective turning towards LGBTQ+ joy, health, and happiness. When we celebrate and support positive and healthy LGBTQ+ media representations, like the sunflowers in sunlight, we can all flourish and grow.


Presented in absentia on April 27, 2020 at "Student Research Day" at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. (Conference cancelled)


Faculty Mentor: Katie Biittner


Department: Gender Studies

Published
2020-04-27