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FILM 371: History of LGBT Representation in Film - Rea: Online Resources

Material on this page has been copied from Simmons College Library's "Queer cinema" LibGuide

Queerbaiting : history and definitions

In this video essay, queer advocate and speaker Rowan Ellis gives an overview of the history of queer representation on film, discussing the origins of queer film tropes, symbolism, and imagery and how cinematic representation has evolved over the past century. Ellis provides a comprehensive examination of why negative representation is so damaging using specific examples from a broad chronological span of films.


A Code to Govern the Making of Motion and Talking Pictures
A 1944 reprint of the original Motion Picture Production Code, or "Hays Code," digitized by the Margaret Herrick Library. This set of moral guidelines was upheld in Hollywood from 1930-1968 and prohibited the depiction of homosexuality.

Queering the (New) Deal: Lesbian and Gay Representation and the Depression-Era Cultural Politics of Hollywood's Production Code
Lugowski's paper examines queerness onscreen in the context of the Great Depression. This article is a great resource for those wondering about the state of queer representation in the years immediately preceding the publication of the Hays Code and how contemporary audiences reacted to queer characters.

Why So Many Disney Villains Sound 'Gay'
This article from culture and news magazine Vice, written in response to and citing the 2015 documentary film "Do I Sound Gay?", examines the use of queercoding with Disney villains both historically and in modern films. They place animated queercoding in its context with the history of Hollywood villains as well as within linguistic theory.

Queering Michael Bay | The Whole Plate Episode 8
Every one of film scholar Lindsay Ellis' video essays is thoroughly researched and authoritative. This video, from her series using the Michael Bay Transformers films to explain aspects of film theory, is an excellent introduction to queer reading of film texts with some solid background on queercoding.

Hollywood's Cringey Transgender Evolution
This article from politics and pop-culture site The Daily Beast discusses the history of transgender representation on film, focusing on the portrayal of trans characters as villains in films like Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Dressed to Kill (1980). This is a particularly useful overview for its comprehensiveness and focus.

Popular Cinema and Lesbian Interpretive Strategies
This study investigates lesbian viewing practices of the late 1990s and methods of cultural reception. Dobinson and Young discuss audience engagement and the drives behind resistant viewing and subversive readings of popular films. This scholarly resource will be very useful for those examining how queer communities react to and utilize mainstream film. YOU WILL NEED TO GET THIS THROUGH INTERLIBRARY LOAN. DO NOT PAY FOR THIS ARTICLE.