“Straight” Acting: Changing Image of Queer-Masculinity in Media Representation


  • Zheng Zhu New York City College of Technology





In this essay, I critically examine media representation of Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas, with a specific focus on the construction of his masculinity as an outing gay celebrity. The existing critical scholarship has studied various forms of media representation of queer images. But they did not examine how unconventional queer representation interacts with the normative gender performance. This paper investigates mainstream media’s discursive construction of masculine gay male. The findings call our attention to the emergence of macho gay characterization, which supports the hegemonic domination of heterosexual normativity. The stigmatization of gay-ness as the deviated other is rationalized through illegitimating its positions in the public spheres, marginalizing non-masculine gay characters, and erasing the larger socio-political condition that oppresses closeted gay athletes.


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Appendix: Media data

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