Denotatively and connotatively.
In studying queerness on television, Diane Raymond argues that there are two ways to read queer images: denotatively and connotatively. In the article assigned for this Unit Raymond focuses on a denotative read of queerness on television. She does so because with the increase of gay and lesbian characters on primetime the meaning created by the viewing audience is no longer implicit but rather explicitly created. She states that before there was an increase of lesbian and gay representation on television, the viewing audience needed to “queer” the text because it was hidden behind a culture of homophobia and heterosexism.
Her study of queerness on television revealed three tropes or patterns of queerness:
Increased appearance of lesbian and gay major and supporting characters
Straight-mistaken for gay
These tropes offer potential for subverting heterosexist norms and assumptions but she cautions all too often this potential is policed, contained and heterosexism is reinscribed.
Why and How is gay and lesbian sexuality “contained” and “reinscribed” within heterosexual norms?