Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


In this thesis, I study representations of LGBT characters in Vietnamese contemporary movies and series. I examine the evolution of LGBT representations under various impacts of globalisation in the negotiation of identities. The aim is to understand the dynamics of change in Vietnamese queer imaginaries as they are shaped by cultural constraints. This will give insight into the disjunctions between legal, societal and cultural discourses that form tensions around LGBT issues in Vietnam, the concerns of society, and how the people involved are dealing with these issues within the boundaries of the nation-state. Another key goal is to understand the role that LGBT media plays in the development of more visible LGBT politics in Vietnam.

I employ mainly textual analysis and discourse analysis to read Vietnamese movies, television and web series. The corpus of media texts includes 37 mainstream and alternative Vietnamese queer movies, television shows and web series that were shown over 15 years from 2004 to 2019 and which attracted the attention of the media in the country. LGBT characters in these films are either main or supporting roles. Specifically, I read LGBT characters’ appearance, behaviour, language, problems in their personal, family and social life, and how the public has received these representations, as evidenced by online discussions. Through the textual analysis of these films and series, I aspire to make sense of the dynamics of recent changes in Vietnamese LGBT representations and the mediascape we inhabit today.

The significance of the study is to fill gaps in the knowledge of LGBT issues related to media coverage in Vietnam. Research findings indicate that LGBT media representations in Vietnam were framed within dominant heteronormative norms. In addition, media representations of LGBT people in Vietnam are strongly influenced by the global LGBT movements and the circulation and adaptation of notions of gender and sexuality from Anglophone cultures.

FoR codes (2008)

190299 Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified, 200202 Asian Cultural Studies, 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.