“Not Racist Just Picky”: The Language of Exclusion and the Construction of Digital Queer Spaces
UW-Madison QGrads Symposium (September, 2016)
This presentation asked how queer bodies are made welcome or unwelcome in digital spaces, and how researchers can best utilize digital apps for outreach. Popular queer apps are riddled with discriminatory statements that discourage their usage by those outside of a narrow set of acceptable body standards. Yet these same apps have been the focus of a significant amount of research, functioning as an easy proxy for the queer community as a whole. Presenting both samples of these statements and statistics on their commonality, this talk raised questions about the use of Grindr and similar queer apps in research and community building efforts.
From Glee to Grindr: Media Representations & the Sexual Inequality Gap Among Queer Men
This project looks at the representation of queer men across queer culture – from Glee to Grindr. It asks who is being made visible or invisible, and how these representations (or lack thereof) impact the ability of diverse groups to feel connected to or see themselves reflected in the queer community. A key aspect of this project is the perceived ability to access sexual encounters, as measured through inclusive and exclusive language used in Grindr profiles. The inequality in perceived sexual opportunities is consistent with the representation of queer men in media; those groups most represented have the greatest ‘sexual capital.’
The Color of Invisibility: Sexual Racism and Online Sexual Ideals
Popular Culture Association/American Association 2013 National Conference (March, 2013)
This presentation is part of a project that looks at the ways in which ethnicity, gender representation, sexual orientation, age, size, HIV status and other descriptors converge to create sexual ideals and promote certain types of gay men as ‘sexable’, or as sexual beings, while excluding others This portion deals specifically with the representation of gay men in the San Francisco bay area, looking at the ways in which they are described by others and how they describe themselves in online personal ads. I demonstrate the ways in which popular representations of gay men take hold within the gay community, becoming molds that certain sectors of the community are forced to adopt in order to be perceived as ‘sexable.’
Given the ever increasing number of gay men represented in popular media it is imperative to look at who is being represented and how these representations are driving the development of gay culture and impacting the ways in which gay men understand themselves and others. Instead of broadening the spectrum of social, sexual, economic and other areas that are accessible to gay men, increasing visibility may actually be condemning some men to exist only as stereotypes and familiar tropes, especially queer men of color. The ultimate goal of this project is not only to expose these issues but to think about ways of overcoming them through more diverse representations and public education.
An Updated Look at the Escraches
North Central Council of Latin Americanists (September, 2010)
Presented on the “escrache” protests performed by the group H.I.J.O.S.. Presentation argued that particular political protests were not primarily reactionary or vindictive but are best seen as a method of prevention against future abuses.