Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 11-30-2022

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Ian Barnard


The heteronormative and cisnormative nature of society has required queer individuals to undergo the phenomenon of “coming out” as their queer identity. This phenomenon has the potential to take great tolls on queer individuals especially when it comes to parents. Queer individuals with unaccepting parents are eight times more likely to attempt suicide, six times more likely to experience clinical depression, and three times more likely to suffer under substance abuse (Ryan et al., 2009; Ryan et al., 2010). However despite such concerning statistics, there is still a significant gap in scientific research on creating supportive environments within families for queer children (Caroline et al., 2018). The current study aims to investigate films that depict queer children’s relationships with their parents using in-text, semiotic, and iconic analyses. Specifically, I aim to understand what existing explanations in film can serve as predictors for homophobic behavior among parents. Current research finds that ethnic minorities were more likely to exhibit signs of rejection of LGBT children and that “parental reactions to their child's sexual identity occurs within a sociocultural context” (Richter et al., 2017). Unfortunately, such findings are broad and uninvestigated, leaving the complex stories within queer films at an international scope as the next best option. Through the analyses of various queer films (The Wound, XXY, José, Pariah, and Moonlight), I hypothesize that heightened sociocultural pressures may accelerate homophobia because of a western presence rooted in colonialism and oppression. This could be because the existence of racism and oppression towards these ethnic and cultural minorities heightens the need for these individuals to uphold traditions and identities consistently. Conversely, this could also be because historic western intrusion into these cultural spheres injected less sympathetic perspectives of LGBTQ identities than what was previously present.


Presented at the Fall 2022 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.