Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

Faculty Sponsor

Chris Talbot


Building on scholarship about black masculinity and white gay men in film, my research explores the representation of black gay males and their masculinity in film. Too often these men and their identities are presented in one-dimensional ways on screen which can negatively narrow an audience’s view of real life black gay men. Scholars have looked at black masculinity and white gay men in film but few have looked at black gay men in film. This research fills that gap by opening up new avenues in which this topic can be discussed. The purpose of this research is not to present a correct representation of black gay men but to instead analyze these representations and give audiences a different angle through which to view these characters and the men they represent. Fourteen films made between 1976 and 2014 will be analyzed according to how gay black male characters are stereotypically represented, as will the tone of each film relating to its characters. The concept of intersectionality will be used to analyze these films. Intersectionality is the study of oppression through the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. I use this as a lens through which to analyze the intersecting identities present in the films. Three central themes were formed from the analyses of the films: masculinity wins, masculinity as an artifice, and more human portrayals of black gay men. Using the three themes as vantage points, I hope to challenge the ways film represents the identities of black gay men and ultimately open readers’ minds to a new way of thinking about these men and their masculinity, allowing these men to be seen in a more human light.

UNCO Undergraduate Verification