In this essay, Harsha Singh talks about the representational value of queer experiences in popular culture, specifically popular literature as well as their adaptations using the example of Call me by Your Name and Boy Erased.
Representation has been a quite complicated area to explore when it comes to queer identity due to the subjectivity of individual identity. The traditional form of media reaching out to the queer community showcases its ‘Queers’ as violently stereotypical, violently sexualized, or violently traumatized. The space for ambiguity in emotional states is yet to be explored. Another issue that comes forth while discussing adequate representation is authentic and real representation. With the Stonewall Uprising, the queer liberation movement was set into motion but the issue of intersectional representation of violence in terms of class, race, gender, and sexuality still remains when it comes to Hollywood. This paper will particularly focus on comparing the representational value of the queer community in the novels Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman and Boy Erased by Garrard Conley (an autobiography). The paper will also touch upon the critique of conversion therapy institutions as well as the understanding of queer literature as Popular Literature.
Queer representation in the Hollywood mainstream media is a subject of debate for years now and rightly so because it tends to become problematic with its halfhearted tokenistic representation. If not tokenistic then heterosexist representation. In order to talk about queer history and queer culture, one has to talk about the kind of subjugation that the queer community faces from the media and how inclusive is in its innate nature encompassing class, gender, race, nationality, etc.