Macquarie University
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Re-writing the script: representations of LGB creativity in contemporary young adut fiction, film and television

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:56 authored by Katherine Macushla Norbury
Until the mid-1990s, there were few gay or lesbian-themed novels and films for young adults. The majority of those which did thematise teen gay or lesbian subjectivity continued to reproduce negative schemas and scripts about the gay or lesbian character. Since 1997, the schemas and scripts enacted by LGB characters have begun to change and many characters are no longer represented as victims of social prejudice and homophobic discrimination. Instead, they are able to be 'out and proud', to enjoy their sexuality, fall in love and find a place within society. There are variations to the revised script, but it now frequently asserts the LGB character's creative and positive sense of self. Within the last few years, the script has been further modified to include bisexual male and bisexual female teen protagonists. My analysis centres on an examination of the script in contemporary LGB-themed novels for young adults published in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. These novels offer lesbian writers and gay athletes who ultimately enact a positive and creative sense of self. I also include two chapters that analyse the new script in relation to lesbian dancers and gay singers in English-language film and in two popular television series. Two subsequent chapters consider the script in representations of creative teen lesbian and gay subjectivities in Asian films. I situate my analysis of these novels, films and television series within a framework that draws on recent developments in cognitive and affective theory, psychology and creativity. Throughout the thesis I consider how texts position adolescent readers and viewers to align themselves with the LGB character. First, audiences are encouraged to view creative, athletic or highly academic characters as positive and worthy of interest. Second, audiences are positioned to empathise with characters who may have experienced trauma as an integral part of the coming-of-age process but who always model recovery from that trauma. Third, humour is frequently used as a way of gaining reader and viewer approval and acceptance. My analysis of LGB-themed young adult fiction, film and television suggests that this new positive script is influencing attitudinal change amongst teen audiences and readers.


Table of Contents

Introduction. Revising the script : from Romeo and Juliet to As you like it -- Chapter One. Heterosexual schemas and the blended script in contemporary Hollywood teen film -- Chapter Two. Changing the story : lesbian creative writers in contemporary young adult fiction -- Chapter Three. Transformative lesbian cheerleaders and dancers in teen television and film -- Chapter Four. Lesbian performers in young adult Asian film -- Chapter Five. Changing the game : representing gay athletes in young adult fiction -- Chapter Six. Finding their voice : gay singers in teen television -- Chapter Seven. Athletic and creative transformations in contemporary teen Asian gay film -- Conclusion. Happy endings.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 311-329

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of English

Department, Centre or School

Department of English

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

John Stephens


Copyright Katherine Macushla Norbury 2014. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (329 pages) colour illustrations

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