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History, disrupted: The aesthetic gentrification of queer and trans cinema

Social Alternatives
Volume 35 Issue 3 (2016)

Abstract: This essay connects Sarah Schulman's discussion of aesthetic gentrification in 'The Gentrification of the Mind' with the concept of disruptive innovation to analyse patterns in recent mainstream film exploring LGBTQ histories. Since the Great Recession, LGBTQ cinema in the Global North has become structured by disruptive narrative strategies that reroute the transformative power of queer and transgender histories upward and away from the most at-risk LGBTQ populations. Films such as 'Dallas Buyers Club', 'Stonewall', and 'The Danish Girl' purport to represent 'actual' moments in LGBTQ history, but instead appropriate aesthetic space from communities with little to no cultural representation - HIV positive, working-class, and of colour, queer and trans populations - instead offering that space to symbolic gentrifiers. Cultural erasure of AIDS activism and of trans people's important roles in LGBTQ histories and politics are among the most deleterious shared outcomes of this new wave of cinema. This essay contends that historical disruption and resulting aesthetic gentrification of queer and trans cinema in the Global North has potentially global implications for the future of LGBTQ representation.

To cite this article: Keegan, Cael M. History, disrupted: The aesthetic gentrification of queer and trans cinema [online]. Social Alternatives, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2016: 50-56. Availability: <https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=618035467888833;res=IELLCC> ISSN: 0155-0306. [cited 17 Jan 19].

Personal Author: Keegan, Cael M; Source: Social Alternatives, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2016: 50-56 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 0155-0306 Subject: AIDS (Disease)--Social aspects; Sexual minorities; Transgenderism; Gays in motion pictures; Transgender people in motion pictures; Gay liberation movement; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Liberal Studies, Grand Valley State University

Database: Literature & Culture Collection