The Internet has revolutionized how young people watch movies: half of Canadian teens say that they download movies without paying for them at least once a week. 
How things have changed in thirty years: more than ever before, queer people have a media presence. No longer relegated to the realms of innuendo and secrecy, we now see lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people represented on television and in mainstream film. Queer people see their reflections on screen in a largely positive light: stable, employed, charming, attractive, well-liked, and successful. And yet, there remain many challenges. The following sections will examine how media produces and legitimizes or delegitimizes queer sexualities, as well as how queer media differs from its heterosexual counterpart. To begin, though, it is worthwhile to examine the trajectory of queer media criticism over the past thirty years.
Intellectual property - Anything that comes into being through invention or artistic creation. When an intellectual property is also real property, it is possible to own one but not the other – so that owning a painting (real property right) does not automatically give you the right to make copies of it (intellectual property right).
What is intellectual property?: A novel? A film script? A joke? A cook book? A character in a TV show? A painting? The lyrics to a song? All of these are intellectual property.
In Canada, consumers have certain rights to use copyrighted material without permission or license from the owner of the copyright. These rights are defined in the Copyright Act as Fair Dealing exemptions and were redefined in the 2012 changes to the Act. A good knowledge of Fair Dealing can be extremely helpful in understanding what you and your students can do with media in class. It’s important to note that the Copyright Act provides very little definition for many of these terms; instead, most of the specifics of Fair Dealing have come from court rulings, and the new exemptions and other changes done in 2012 will likely also be further defined in the same way.
As in other media, queer people have gained a greater and more widely visible presence within the advertising world, with ad agencies courting the “Pink Dollar”. This is not surprising, considering that the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community is a multi-billion dollar target audience, estimated to be worth around $835 billion.
Queer people have been involved in producing their own media for as long as alternative media has existed. This landscape has traditionally been dominated by print media such as zines (small-circulation, generally low-cost, publications) and pamphlets or queer film, but with the advent of the electronic age and cheaper and more accessible electronic devices for production, there’s been an explosion of queer-produced media of all kinds. The following section explores the ways that queer people have sought to claim space for themselves within media and culture.
As previous sections have shown, queer characters, situations, and themes are becoming increasingly prevalent in the media. It is sometimes difficult, though, to determine whether or not certain representations are balanced.
When discussing media representation of various groups, especially those we consider marginalized, stereotypes are often a primary concern. But sometimes, breaking a stereotype doesn’t go quite far enough, and the issue can be a little more complicated than merely determining whether or not a character is represented in a positive or negative way. The section that follows explores different approaches to queer content by analyzing various ways that popular media have used characterized LGBTQ people.
Framed around key concepts of media literacy, the That’s Not Me tutorial examines how entertainment and news media represent diversity and the impact these media portrayals can have on the value we place on individuals and groups in society. The tutorial explores how the media industry is changing to better reflect Canadian society and provides strategies for challenging negative representations and engaging young people in advocating for more realistic and positive media portrayals.