Burning Desires: An Analysis of Gay Youth Coming Out Stories, Masculinity, and Violence in Film

Paris Cameron-Gardos | University of Amsterdam | Burning Desires: An Analysis of Gay Youth Coming Out Stories, Masculinity, and Violence in Film | Supervisor: Mireille Rosello | 2014-2018

My thesis will explore the ways in which different types of masculinities are constructed by different kinds of coming out stories in film. In particular, I wish to examine the links between violence, in all its forms and masculinities in these stories of sexual self-recognition. It is my intention to focus on the intersection between very specific constructions of masculinity and very specific types of coming out stories in the films Beautiful Thing (1996), Summer Storm (2004), North Sea Texas (2011), and Brotherhood (2009). I will study the elements of the coming stories that I contend both construct different masculinities and the different responses to those masculinities from the audience. I will direct my attention to films that have accompanied my own experiences, both when I came out and as I have grown up as a gay man. As such they are of particular interest to me. However, I do not intend to write an autobiographical thesis. I do not choose these films because they played a remarkable role during my formative years, but because they will help me question the idea of “the” coming out narrative in connection with the construction of certain kinds of masculinities and violence. Furthermore, it is my wish to demonstrate to those reading this dissertation that these stories of sexual self-identification and violence can be read by all.