In this proposal (which I wrote before carrying out the research evidenced on this blog) my objectives in this research project appear to have evolved quite a bit. Whereas before I seemed to be focusing on the homophobia gay people received for their portrayal in popular culture, I have instead gone on to look at how these representations improved and challenged perceptions of gay men. This idea of researching into the representations of gay men has remained throughout my research, but its the effect these representations have produced, which have changed the direction of the project.
“Does Today’s Perception of Gay People Insight Homophobia?
This research project will be looking at what is assumed of a gay person once their sexual orientation is known. There are certain stereotypes of this minority but do these expectations lead people to think ‘they know’ a gay person just from finding out their sexual preference. The issues arising from this are how it impacts the gay community, in terms of segregation in society and homophobia. To begin with the research will focus on what expectations there are of gay people before going on to look at its implications.
Homophobia is still prevalent today, amongst the celebrations of gaining equal rights, such as the legalization of gay marriage, there are still attacks against the lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) community. “Gaze” magazine writer (Teeman: 2013) addresses this issue by stating
Marriage equality may be the hot gay political issue but, for me, homophobia and all that belies it, embellished in these attacks, is the more urgent, less easily resolved phenomenon. (Teeman: 2013)
Teeman’s experiences have formed this belief and in his article gives an example of a man being shot dead near Stonewall Inn, a landmark birthplace of modern US gay rights movements. Other forms of discrimination exist; according to the ‘Stonewall Education Guides’ teachers in both primary and secondary education struggle with addressing homophobic language and 9 out of 10 admit to not having had training in tackling this bullying. The problems with not challenging this are that when phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ and ‘gay boy’ are used they liken the term to something inferior and negative, which creates a culture of homophobia that “can impact on young peoples sense of belonging, self-esteem and attainment at school.” (Stonewall: Unknown)
Over the decades there have been a whole range of gay emblems that haven’t changed much to this day. According to ‘The Guardian’ writer (Burston: 2013) comedians have been similar over the years, with different names but the same ‘camp’ mannerisms. The same characters are being repeated in today’s popular culture, ITV’s new sitcom ‘Vicious’, which features two flamboyant gay characters has been likened to the duo from the 1969 comedy film ‘Staircase’. Surely the repetition and consistent portrayal of gay people in this way will impact the perception people have on the gay community as a whole?
The key ideas that will form the structure of this research are mentioned in the previous section. To summaries they will be:
The supporting material for this project will be sourced from both primary and secondary research. First hand observations, interviews, government statistics and archived records will be used to create the foundation for the primary research, supported by resources from popular outlets such as TV, film and music.
To acquire these sources of information, the project will use online, statistical information from websites such as www.statistics.gov.uk and recorded interviews. Secondary sources can be collected from archived magazines that are specifically from the genre ‘gay lifestyle’.
Watching and recording social media trends from sites such as facebook and twitter can also provide invaluable insight.
Specific and unbiased interview methods will have to be created to enhance the success and quality of the project.
Aside from the statistical information I will gather to give my argument some integrity, the findings will be opinions taken from people within an informed position. People talking from personal experiences or who have previously researched into the topic themselves.
Method of Interpretation
In preparation I will form well-structured interviews that ask quality questions, relevant to the area of research. Source appropriate statistics and once all the information is gathered identify recurring themes.
- Preparatory work reading/library research already carried out and still ongoing.
- Establishing contacts with interviewees and authors to start immediately. This information to be gathered by mid-January.
- Analysis of data (to happen continuously whilst gathering research)
- Full completion of analysis to be done by end of January
- Structure findings (beginning February)
- Write up (to be completed by mid February)
Burston, P. 2013. Gay culture doesn’t begin and end with Grindr and the scene. The Guardian [online] Available: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/20/gay-culture-grindr-scene [Accessed 7th Nov 2013]
Stonewall Education Guides, Unknown. Challenging Homophobic Language. [PDF] Available at: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/homophobic_language_total.pdf [Accessed 8th November 2013]
Sullivan, A. 2005. The End of Gay Culture Assimilation and its Meaning. New Republic. [online] Available at: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/politics/the-end-gay-culture [Accessed 19th November 2013]
Teeman, T. 2013. An Englishman in New York. Gaze: a modern review, 1 June. P.8.
Ward, V. 2012. BBC Told to put More Gay People on Children’s TV. The Telegraph. [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/9744094/BBC-told-to-put-more-gay-people-on-childrens-TV.html [Accessed 9th November 2013]