​​Only Love Matters: A Creative, Critical Exploration of Intersex Characters in English Language Films

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This is the first-ever doctoral study that combines theoretical readings of the representation of intersex characters with professional practice in film, TV, and media by making an interdisciplinary research film for educational and commercial sectors. By drawing on all the extant English language feature films from the US, the UK and Australia that have lead intersex characters, this study provides a historical overview of how filmmakers have represented people who are intersex and the issues they encounter. This thesis provides a close textual analysis of the selected films and argues that intersex has been underrepresented and misrepresented in feature films.

    Through an embodied experience of making a feature-length fiction film, it also explores the challenges of making a film with an intersex theme in the UK. I argue that a ‘freakish’ perception of intersex characters has survived in English language films. I contend that the lack of awareness of filmmakers and the blurring of intersex with LGBT has affected the acquiring of funding and has resulted in limiting these films to LGBT audiences only. I document and critically reflect on my fiction-based filmmaking practice, a feature film Only Love Matters, in the theoretical component. I demonstrate that intersex is still a taboo subject not only for society but also for the financiers and producers who are hesitant about investing in such subjects, consequently forcing the films that are made about them to be independent (indie) films. By doing so, I raise important questions about how filmmakers and researchers can assess these subjects without stereotyping intersex characters and can make the representation of intersex characters more visible, progressive and pragmatic in creative practice.
    Date of Award8 Apr 2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of East Anglia
    SponsorsKQ Movies Ltd
    SupervisorRichard J. Hand (Supervisor) & Eylem Atakav (Supervisor)

    Cite this