Queer in the Choir Room

Essays on Gender and Sexuality in Glee


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About the Book

These new essays examine the many ways that issues of gender and sexuality intersect with other identities and practices—including race, religion, disability, music and education—on the Fox hit program Glee. With gender and sexuality concerns at the crux, the authors tackle such specific aspects of the show as the coming out narrative, Glee fandom and fan fiction, representation of sex education, and the intersection of Broadway music and queerness. The aim of these essays is to open up a dialogue about Glee—which is often dismissed by critics and fans alike—and to reveal how scholars are critically engaging with the show around issues of gender and sexuality.

About the Author(s)

Michelle Parke is an assistant professor in English at Carroll Community College, near Baltimore, Maryland. She has published in Studies in Popular Culture and The Pedagogy of Pop, a collection of essays centered on teaching popular culture.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Michelle Parke
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 296
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9593-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1695-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction: Why Glee? 1

I. The Narratives of Coming Out: “I have to just be me”

Coming Out: Challenging Portrayals of Diverse Sexualities (Tracy L. Hawkins) 11

Forced Out of the “flannel closet”: The ­Coming-Out-Gay Imperative (Taylor Cole Miller) 24

II. The Intersectionality of Queerness and Other Identities: “I’m not interested in any labels, unless it’s on something I shoplift”

Race and Ethnicity

“The only straight I am is ­straight-up bitch”: Santana, Kurt, and Discursive Constructions of “Post”-Identity Ideology (Benjamin Phelps) 39

Defying Blackness: The E(race)ure of Mercedes Jones (Anita M. DeRouen) 54

“We’re all freaks together”: White Privilege and Mitigation of Queer Community (M. Shane Grant) 69


The Princess and Her Queen: A Queer Duet (Rachel E. Silverman) 84

Going Beyond Grilled Cheesus: Glee and Queer Theology (Erin Kathleen Marshall) 97


“I still have use of my penis”: Disability and Queer Sexuality (Meredith Wiggins) 107


“So, is this the part where you judge me?” Adolescent Sexuality (Niall ­Nance-Carroll) 125

Let Me Get This Straight: Attraction and Actions (Christine L. Ferguson) 137

No Substitute for Comprehensive Sex Ed: Analyzing Sexual Ethics (Jane B. Meek) 150

The Musical Theatre Performer

Glee and the “Ghosting” of the Musical Theatre Canon (Barrie Gelles) 167

III. The Complexities of Gender—Overachievers, Good Girls, Bad Girls, and Tough Guys: “That attitude starts in high school”

Gold Stars and Slushies: The High Cost for Overachieving Girls (Kasey Butcher) 187

“I’m a Slave 4 U” but Only When I Want to Be: Female Sexual Agency

 (Melissa Esh) 200

“The Power of Madonna”: Unleashed?  (Rebekah Lobosco) 215

Doppelgängers in Lima: Gendered Identities and Divided Selves (Sheryl Lyn Bundy) 229

IV. “I know what Glee is. I’m a total Gleek”: The Cultural Reach of Glee and the Many Roles of Its Fandom

Glee Literally Means Glee: The Queer Art of Community’s Parody (Nicholas Alexander Hayes) 243

“Everything is Klaine and nothing hurts”: Klaine Fandom and Explorations of Teen Sexuality by Female Fanfiction Writers (Emily ­Hamilton-Honey and Amy Patrick) 255

About the Contributors 269

Index 273