LGBTQ+ lives in Spain have experienced drastic changes since the days of the Franco dictatorship. Then, laws were made to prosecute and incarcerate queers. Now, Spain enjoys one of the most comprehensive legal frameworks to protect LGBTQ+ rights. Spanish cinema, in part, reflects this evolution. Heavy censorship made representation of LGBTQ+ characters almost impossible during Franco, although in the early years crusade films created homosocial scenarios which could be read against the grain. In late Francoism and in the early years of the transition visibility was very rare and would typically involve damaging stereotypes of gay men in degrading comedies or oversexed lesbian vamps in exploitative horror films. After the abolition of censorship in 1978, filmmakers including Ventura Pons, Pedro Almodóvar or Eloy De la Iglesia made considerable headway in normalizing the presence of queer lives and stories on the Spanish screen. Growing (but vulnerable) levels of social acceptance and visibility in the last three decades or so have made LGBTQ+ characters and stories increasingly more visible. The 1990s saw the proliferation of films set in the then emerging “gay villages” in major urban centers, especially Madrid’s Chueca. In the 2000s, legal advances such as same-sex marriage or the right to adopt led to more romantic comedies and some melodramas dealing with these issues (weddings, families, and so on). More recently there is a greater diversification of spaces, characters, and stories, including immigration and trans issues. New generations of queer creators have found considerable domestic and international success in streaming services, with representation becoming much more explicit and noticeably more complex and diverse.
Santiago Fouz Hernández
Davi Johnson Thornton
Communication studies identifies bodies as both objects of communication and producers (or sites) of communication. Communication about bodies—for example, gendered bodies, disabled bodies, obese bodies, and surgically modified bodies—influences bodies at the physical, material level by determining how they are treated in social interactions, in medical settings, and in public institutions. Communication about bodies also forges cultural consensus about what types of bodies fit in particular roles and settings. In addition to analyzing the stakes of communication about bodies, communication studies identifies bodies as communicating forces that cannot be accounted for by standards of reason, meaning, and decorum. Bodies are physical, material, affective beings that communicate because of, not in spite of, their messy, ineffable status. Moreover, communication is an embodied process that involves a range of material supports, including human bodies, technological bodies, and other nonhuman physical and biological bodies. Investigating bodies as communicating forces compels an understanding of communication that is not exclusively rational, meaning-oriented, and nonviolent.
Isaac N. West
Queer studies in critical and cultural communication studies concerns itself with interrogating the symbolic and material manifestations of desires, sexualities, genders, and bodies in all manners of our lives, including public policy, everyday talk, protests and direct political actions, and media representations. Although the genealogy of this subfield often rehearses queer studies’ emergence as a point of radical rupture from previous theories and perspectives, another mapping of queer studies is possible if it is understood as an evolution of core questions at the heart of communication studies. Queer studies’ mode of inquiry generally involves a double gesture of identifying implicit and/or explicit biases of a communicative norm and promoting alternative ways of being in the world that do not comport with those norms. Indebted to and conversant with critical race, feminist, and lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender studies, queer studies in critical and cultural communication studies occupies and contests the terrain of its own possibility in its attention to the intended and unintended consequences of privileging one set of cultural arrangements over another. Without any pure vantage point from which one may start or end a cultural analysis, communication scholars have embraced the contingencies afforded by queer studies to imagine otherwise the cultural legitimacy afforded to some bodies and not others; the necessity of sanctioning some sexual desires and not others; the intersectional affordances of sexuality, race, gender, ability, and class; more and less effective modes of dissent from the various normativities governing our behaviors and beliefs; and the necessity of memory politics and their pedagogical implications.