The category is: streaming queer television

Zoë Shacklock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Streaming television is often seen as a progressive space for queer representation, due to the wealth of queer people and stories found across its programmes. Yet for queer people to be seen on streaming television, they must first be made visible at the level of the interface, which determines which programmes are presented to users and in what ways. Through the organisation of the interface, streaming television acts as a discursive formation that creates knowledge about what it means to be queer. Borrowing from both Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Lynne Joyrich, I argue that streaming television constructs an epistemology of the category, in which queerness is presented as categorisable and predictable. I explore how the two key features of streaming television’s interfaces – categories and algorithms – produce an understanding of queerness as normatively visible and inseparable from consumer choice. Yet while streaming giants generate a neoliberal conception of normatively visible and consumable queerness, queer-specific streaming services such as Revry offer a different, ‘messier’ understanding of queer lives, suggesting that streaming television holds the potential for a more radical interface with queerness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-337
Number of pages22
JournalNew Review of Film and Television Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2023


  • Streaming
  • Television
  • Queer theory
  • Netflix
  • Algorithms


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