Visual Identity and the Queer Aesthetics of Passing
Gay Teen Body Politics in Sebastian, Beautiful Thing, and Get Real
The theatricality of passing as heterosexual in the face of legislative, medicalized, and stigmatized homophobia serves as the primary lens through which I analyse three European, gay coming-out films from the 1990s. In all three films – the Swedish-Norwegian film Sebastian (När alla vet, 1995), and two British films Beautiful Thing (1996) and Get Real (1998) – the physical bodies of the white protagonists complicate normative binaries and stereotypical queer aesthetics ascribed to homosexuals in the late 20th century. Specifically, these three films serve as cultural artifacts about the time period, lending insight into how late 20th-century governments
from the two regions treated the homosexual experience through the implementation of legislative, medicalized measures, specifically regarding HIV/AIDS.
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