LGBTQ ?selves? in films from the Reel-Lives project as signifiers of political and social change, and of personal value

28 Aug 2018

To accurately reflect the complexities of unusual sexual or gender identifications in non-stereotypical ways, film documentarians are challenged to represent people as both sexual/gender identities and as subjectivities engaged in personal experiences. This imperative is explored through a semiotic lens focused on films produced through the Reel Lives youth media training project, which aims to give voice to marginalised youth, and which presents their stories on the Reel Lives website through two consequent layers of signification that successfully represents LGBTQ people in complex ways. On the one hand, the search function reflects a typology of shared characteristics associated with identity categories that speaks to political change. On the other, the film grammar showcases shared circumstances within communities in ways that redirect focus from political change to a more durable and transformative socio-cultural change. The films in turn serve a third function: to reflect gender and sexual identification as a personal resource on which participants might subjectively call for the positive recognition and re-presentation of their value as individuals.