Gay Teen Identity and Factual Media: Public Service and New Media Performance

Authors: Pullen, C.

Conference: Centre for Research in Sex Gender and Sexuality

Dates: 12 March 2008


This paper focuses on the issue of gay teen identity and factual media, examining educational documentary and new media content. Finding a partner, and taking part in the ritual of dating and romance is often distanced from gay and lesbian youth. The internet and diverse forms of new media (such as internet social networking, has recently offered new life chances for gay and lesbian youth. This has not only enabled new connectivities, but also it has stimulated new performative possibilities. Gay and lesbian youth have constructed new social worlds (in sites such as The Gay Youth Corner) disentangled from repressive heteronormative constraints, where romance, desire, and the ability to naturally engage take centre stage. I would argue that this is not only stimulated by new technologies offering new social worlds, but also it extends from humanist educational ideals within public service documentary and television. To this end the progressive agency of Debra Chasnoff and the Respect for All Project (in the US) and Channel Four’s ‘4 Learning’ educational series (in the UK), has reconstructed identification possibilities for emerging young learners at school. I argue that these progressive educational strands are enabling new confidences to emerge, producing enhanced life chances for gay and lesbian youth.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Christopher Pullen