Home Institution

Occidental College

Publication Date

Fall 2022

Program Name

South Africa: Social and Political Transformation


Media can be a powerful tool in examining the structures of power that both hinder and advance LGBTQIA+ representation and subsequently, lived experiences. Therefore, being able to understand the varying feelings that everyday South Africans feel towards queer people, will be measured through the media that people consume. For the vast majority of South Africans, this would look like movies, TV soap operas, and discussions that take place on the radio. Understanding the role media plays within the country is vital to understanding the overall progress that has been made.

The media’s ability to reflect lived experiences within gay and transgender identities serves to increase representation and subsequent acceptance into broader society. While it may challenge existing dominant cultural identities, gay and transgender representation humanizes their experiences and potentially mitigates violence. Through a multimedia approach, this project will interrogate the role of the media, representation in politics, and overall acceptance in the current day. Using a participatory media method called photo-voice, the researcher will engage with participants that will speak about their experiences as gay and/or transgender individuals in the Northeast province of South Africa, Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN). A successful approach will lead to multiple in-depth “profiles” that share their lived experiences, and critically interrogate the role media has played in representation.


African Languages and Societies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Photography | Visual Studies


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