Document Type

Journal Article


Across the Anglophonic west there is growing mainstream interest in gay men’s domestic sensibilities. This is apparent in the increasing presence of gay men as designers and participants on lifestyle television, especially those programmes concerned with homemaking. In this article, I examine ‘gay domesticity’ through the lens of lifestyle television and related media commentaries, focusing on two Australian shows that included gay male couples as participants: The Block (2003) and The HotHouse (2004). Through comparing the shows, I explore the diverse ways gay men design and create domestic spaces, and how these constructions articulate with or challenge the dominant understanding of home as a heterosexualized family space. I consider the intertwining of the material and the discursive in perceptions of home, and how this emerges through the presence and practices of the gay couples. I find that the attitude to home, interior design and homemaking practices of each couple reflects a different reaction to the dominant image of the nuclear family home, exemplifying a paradox of gay domesticity. While the couple in The Block challenged the hetero-normalization of home through their ideas of home and their renovation efforts, the domestic ideology and design rationale of the couple featured in The HotHouse reinforced this dominant image. I conclude by considering how this paradox might be partially resolved through contemplating the notion of ‘queer’.