Nora Fernandez Fernandez
The Audiovisual Council of Catalonia (CAC) has awarded the first prize of the XXXIV CAC Awards to the research of Juan José Sánchez Soriano, focused on the representations of LGTBI+ characters in Spanish fiction.
The young researcher (Murcia, 1990) completed a doctoral thesis at the University of Murcia, co-directed with the Pompeu Fabra University, which has been awarded €5.000. Currently, Sánchez is a doctoral assistant professor at the Rey Juan Carlos University and his next objective is to obtain the degree of contracted doctor in the Department of Journalism and Corporate Communication.
The award-winning work, entitled 'Analysis of Serial Fiction with an LGTBI+ Component: Study of the Representations and Interpretations of Spanish and American Cases during the 2011-2020 decade', examines 14 series broadcast on television and on audiovisual platforms.
Specifically, the sample analyzes 7 North American fictions (Euphoria, Looking, Orange is the New Black, Pose, Sense8, Shameless and Transparent) and 7 Spanish (El Ministerio del tiempo, Élite, Malaka, Merlí: Sapere Aude, Veneno, Vis a vis and live without permission).
According to the author of the research, Juan José Sánchez Soriano, tells us, “this work comes from my TFG, later from the TFM and, finally, from my doctoral thesis. When I began to investigate LGTBI characters and see the jobs that were there, I realized that there was nothing current. In a chat with one of his thesis directors, "we specified that the research would cover from 2011 to 2021, that is, that it was very recent, taking into account that platforms such as Netflix or HBO began to be used in 2015," says Sánchez.
The research has followed a triple methodology that has made it worthy of the CAC award; firstly, a content analysis was carried out, then a discourse analysis from a critical perspective and, finally, some discussion groups.
“This was one of the most important points and one that the jury stressed the most at the awards ceremony,” says the young researcher. “We did four focus groups, two with cisheterosexual people (persons who conform to their gender identity and heterosexual) and two with people from the LGTBI+ collective and it was very interesting to see how society reads the collective and how LGTBI+ people themselves see themselves represented in the fiction".
The final conclusion of the investigation is that, in the last decade, the characters of the group have increased a lot and, in fact, "the projection is that they continue to increase," says Sánchez. However, "this does not mean that the representation is better." In general, there is a double pattern of representation; "On the one hand, there are the normative LGTBI+ characters, well regarded, and on the other hand, there are those that are built around marginality, such as continuing to associate gays with HIV," the researcher specifies.
As for the focus groups, the result has been a significant diversity of opinions between them; “Cisheterosexual groups believe that the collective is very well represented and that they are increasingly integrated. However, the collective believes that many stereotypes continue to be represented and that much remains to be done to truly make LGTBI+ people visible”.