LGBTQ+ Representation in Fictional Podcast Series
KeywordsLGBTQ , representation, podcasts, new media, niche audience, patronage
The article offers an analysis of the frequency and quality of LGBTQ+ representation in fictional podcasts. I examine how frequently and with what intent LGBTQ+ characters are included in this medium. This research aims to fill the gap in academic work on LGBTQ+ representation in podcasts. Though scholars note an increase in representation in mainstream media, LGBTQ+ media consumers, especially young people, still look to other sources for validation of their identities. Many LGBTQ+ people look to fictional podcasts as a source of quality representation, especially because podcasts are small-scale and rely on the funding, and thus the opinion, of listeners (Bottomley, 2015). In this paper, I analyze four fictional podcast series for LGBTQ+ inclusivity. I note how many LGBTQ+ characters are included and in what proportion. I assess the quality of representation in four ways: diversity, depth, and the frequency and type of stereotypical LGBTQ+ tropes. My findings show a high frequency of LGBTQ+ characters and diversity of personalities and backgrounds, opportunities for these characters to express their sexual and/or gender identities as well as LGBTQ+ trope subversions. Thus, we see that fictional podcasts, as a medium that sustains itself by listeners’ patronage, present stories that their audience can relate to. As a result, fictional podcasts create more niche stories that make connections with smaller demographics of media consumers.
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