Many queer people have a story to tell about a cultural text (a novel, a film, a television show) that helped them come to terms with their queer identity. For example, a generation of gay men shaped their sense of self in relation to the rockumentary Truth or Dare. Simultaneously, we are often annoyed with such texts; we find them unrealistic, stereotypical, and queer-phobic. Do we fully know how we wish to be represented, and by whom? Often our demands seem contradictory: While we want to be portrayed as “regular” people, our differences from the norm must be acknowledged, too. Likewise, representation should be realistic and complex, yet one-dimensional stereotypes are sometimes part of our lived experiences. In addition, texts ought to give us hope, but not ignore oppression. Why are we so invested in our cultural representation? And why are our demands often paradoxical?
Oever, Roel van den. “What We Want from Representation (And Why We Can’t Have It).” VU Pride, 20 Sep. 2022.