Beyond The Straight And Narrow

“The previous Straight and Narrow films established a gold standard for educational docs, and true to its title, Beyond the Straight and Narrow is even better. A wonderful addition to your classroom.”
— Jonathan Gray | Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Our new film Beyond the Straight and Narrow: Queer and Trans Television in the Age of Streaming is now available digitally and on the Kanopy streaming platform! The film is the third installment in filmmaker and media scholar Katherine Sender’s groundbreaking series exploring LGBTQ representations on American television. Picking up where her acclaimed film Further Off the Straight and Narrow left off in 2006, Sender examines the cultural, economic, and technological forces that have paved the way for an increasingly complex range of contemporary queer and transgender representations on American television.

The film also considers the emergence of these more nuanced representations of LGBTQ characters and plotlines within the context of an accelerating backlash against LGBTQ visibility in our politics, schools, athletics, and public spaces.

Beyond the Straight and Narrow stands to empower a new generation of young people with the tools needed to critically examine the relationship between media representations, corporate power, and long-fought social and political struggles over who gets to exist in our national imagination. Featuring interviews with leading media scholars, journalists, actors, and activists, Beyond the Straight and Narrow is ideal for courses in media studies, television history, queer studies, sociology, media and culture, gender studies, and media production.

The film is now available in all streaming and digital formats, and will be released on DVD soon. Click here for more information about how to get the film.


“The previous Straight and Narrow films established a gold standard for educational docs, and true to its title, Beyond the Straight and Narrow is even better. A wonderful addition to your classroom and/or viewing queue, it ranges across a huge number of LGBTQ+ representations with commanding brilliance, incisive commentary, and a refreshingly welcome focus on intersectional depictions.”
— Jonathan Gray | Hamel Family Distinguished Chair in Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Beyond the Straight and Narrow does an excellent job of exploring how LGBTQ representation in [a] complex and ever-changing world has often shifted for the better, and how it is at once empowering and yet still so fragile across multiple media domains.”
— Yasmin Nair | Writer, Activist, Academic, and co-founder of the radical queer editorial collective Against Equality


“Beautifully explains how mainstream media functions, and for whom. If you want to genuinely, accurately understand queer images today watch [this film].”
— Michael Bronski | Professor of the Practice in Activism and Media Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Harvard University and author of A Queer History of the United States


“Richly entertaining as well as informative, Beyond the Straight and Narrow weaves together a complicated account of progress and remaining limitations.”
— Amanda Lotz | Professor at Queensland University and author of The Television Will Be Revolutionized


“Nuanced … Makes clear that we cannot assume that mainstream representation of LGBTQ people simply improves over time or that we can take any gains seen for granted.”
— Adrienne Shaw | Associate Professor of Media Studies and Production at Temple University


“Offers an outstanding compendium of television and streaming shows featuring queer, bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans and nonbinary characters and content, accessibly framed by experts in queer media studies….Will be of great use to secondary school educators as well as those in media studies and LGBTQ+ studies at more advanced levels.”
— Finn Enke | Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, History, LGBTQ+ Studies at University of Wisconsin, Madison


Taking us on a journey through fictional dramas, reality shows, children’s cartoons, web series, and telenovelas, Beyond the Straight and Narrow proceeds with hope and caution to offer an absorbing take on the complex historical development.”
— Lukas Szulc |  Senior Lecturer in Digital Media and Culture at the University of Manchester


“Television, historically so suppressive of and hostile towards LGBTQ representations, is now swimming with them. Compelling and entertaining, Beyond the Straight and Narrow offers a clear-eyed, smart, and nuanced account of how we got here and why it matters.”
— Joshua Gamson | Professor of Sociology at University of San Francisco and author of Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity