Growing up Gay in Vietnam: Seeing and Experiencing the World through Multimodal Visual Autoethnography
AuthorLE, GIANG NGUYEN
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AbstractIn this multimodal visual autoethnography, I examine my experiences as a gay child and student, and later on as a scholar in Vietnam, a heteronormative society. Framed by visual identity constructs, I focus on landscapes of being, belonging, and becoming in my family life and at high school. Visual identity constructs refer to how I constructed and performed my non-conforming identity visually as a gay boy in Vietnam through a clothed and accessorized body. My dissertation work contributes to a growing body of scholarly literature on the experiences of Vietnamese gay people, including young men’s visual identities and gender performances in social, cultural, and educational contexts, such as schools and in the popular media. I draw on identity construction theory, gender hegemony theory, queer theory, and intersectionality to build the theoretical framework. Data was collected from my memories via multiple methods: art-journaling and writing-stories. I viewed writing as a method of inquiry and analysis together with thematic analysis to unpack my memory data. The findings are narrative worlding vignettes arranged into key themes, which indicate the framing and reforming of my visual identity constructs. The theme-based vignettes show the vulnerability and danger of contested conventions I encountered and the influence of social; familial; and cultural factors, including my parents, especially my father and grandfather, my gay friends, and Asian male pop stars on my performativity. My study serves as a call for young gay people to be represented in education settings, especially in Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam. Schools should become more accepting and inclusive for this community.
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