Film vs TV: Intersex representation in Australian media

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


Intersex has been neglected in Australian television and especially in films. This research study produces a historical account that explores the narratives in Australian films and television and visual representation of intersex variations as a reflection of Australian society. It conducts a comparative and individual study of both film and television to examine the roles these mediums have played in educating, while entertaining, viewers. It also interrogates how health and human rights of intersex people, non-consensual surgical interventions, including the use of authority in infant surgeries either as parents or medical professionals, social and psychological problems, have been highlighted in Australian film and television. The selection criteria are fiction feature films and television drama series only. Factual programs like documentaries, news reports, interviews, and talk shows are excluded from this study.

The study offers a critical analysis of all extant Australian films and television dramas, having intersex characters, produced during the last 25 years. The author uses textual analysis as the research method to closely examine Australian fictional screen through the combination of an academic and the filmmaker’s lens and gather new knowledge on the less visible issue of people with innate variations of sex characteristics in Australian society. In conclusion, this paper asserts that Australian television until recently has conceived intersex as freaks, villainous and supernatural and has not been conceived in other genres except crime and medical dramas. While the Australian films completely abandoned intersex subject and failed to present realistic intersex characters.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDublin City University
PublisherIntersex 2021 - A Vision For The Future
VolumeThe Intersex Mapping Study
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021


  • intersex people
  • human rights
  • Australian films
  • television drama
  • social and psychological problems

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