20 Titles of Gay Papers I Want to Write One Day

I am an Academic. I write it with a capital A because I want you to realize exactly how pretentious I am trying to be when I call myself an Academic. Especially because all this means for me right now is that I go to school and grade the extra credit assignments of undergraduates who simultaneously think I have a PhD already and also think I’m incredibly unqualified if I don’t give them an A. Oh, and I also write papers. So many papers. I’ve probably written 600 pages this year alone? It’s bananas. It’s okay though, because I love writing papers. My favorite part of writing papers is coming up with a title, obviously. One year, I only used Kanye West lyrics to title my papers. I titled all my papers alphabetically another year. Writing can be soul-draining, even when I enjoy it, so it’s little things like titles that make it all feel worth it. Even if no one reads my papers except for my professors, at least the title is banging.

In my notes app on my phone, I keep an ongoing list titled “Titles of Papers I Might Write” because I live a life where this is the kind of thing that excites me. Here are 20 of my best gay/gay-adjacent ones.

  1. “You Shoulda Never Called Me a Fatass Kelly Price”: Neoliberal Love on Catfish the TV Show
  2. Re-imagining the (Fe)Male Gaze: Drake as a Postmodern Video Vixen
  3. “God Isn’t A Man!”: Learning to Be Black and Queer from the Color Purple
  4. Culture in Your Body: Queer People of Color’s Role in Popular Culture
  5. Women Seeing Women: Why Moana is the Queer Feminist Film We Need
  6. It All Falls Down: Social Difficulties Facing LGBTQ Youth of Color
  7. Experiencing the Body’s Grace: The Importance of Gender Inclusive Wedding Liturgies
  8. Not For You: Queer Porn as Queer Liberation
  9. Today for You, Tomorrow for Me: Charitable Giving Patterns of Queer
  10. Bobby, Baby: A Lesbian Feminist Reading of Stephen Sondheim’s Company
  11. Queering Masculatinidad: Teatro Luna’s Machos
  12. What’s a Dental Dam??: Observations on Teaching Queer Positive Sex Ed to Middle Schoolers
  13. Bisexual Representation in Disney’s Mulan
  14. Homophobia at its Finest: Meme Culture and Queer Undergraduates’ Experiences with Mental Health
  15. Jean Jackets and Jorts: Community Building in Queer Normative Spaces
  16. Heaven is a Place on Earth: 1980s Pop Music and Queer Utopias
  17. “She, uh they”: Teaching as a Queer Non-Binary Person
  18. Three Kids, Two Femmes, a Butch and a Cat: Visions of Queer Domesticity
  19. Our Names Our Selves: the Importance of Chosen Names and Families in Queer Families
  20. Bois will be Bois: Exploring Toxic Masculinity in Queer Women’s Communities
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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


    • Would read that in a heartbeat. Several times. And then send it to everyone I know.

      Hey Editors, I think this would make an excellent submission to Autostraddle!

  1. YESSS! I teach a grad writing course and my favorite day is the one where we workshop titles in a big group, so much fun.

    I also have dreams of researching/publishing an article on titling trends in my discipline over time – like the rise and fall of pomo parentheses, forms of wordplay, how titles have shifted in the search engine era, etc!

    • 1. My inner English nerd really wants to read that article.
      2. ‘ProfessorQueermo’ is a fantastic username, and I think it would be the perfect title for a film about a deranged lesbian professor played by Uzo Aduba or Kate McKinnon; a film I’m sure we all want to see in our heart of hearts.

      • Well this is perfect because I always pick Kate McKinnon to play me in movies, in a nice reversal of the do I want to be her or make out with her thing. I want her to pretend to be me, then we make out!

  2. Pink Triangle: Exploring how toxic masculinity in 90s pop punk bands really limited my dating options in my early twenties.

  3. “… undergraduates who simultaneously think I have a PhD already and also think I’m incredibly unqualified if I don’t give them an A.” YUP. This is my life as a T.A. #accurate

  4. Fatass Kelly Price is my number one favourite catfish of all time, and I subscribed to the reality-tv-as-novocain-for-your-brain method of surviving law school, so I have watched a lot of catfish. If this paper ever exists, I would love to read it.

  5. I actually wrote this paper at the super conservative Brigham Young University back when I thought I was straight:

    “And They Decided That Men In Drag Wasn’t ‘Rock’ Enough”:
    Homophobia and the implications and assumptions of gender parody through the reception of Queen’s music video: I want to Break Free

  6. I’d like Bobby Baby to be a thing I can read… like… yesterday. Please and thank you. Also the Moana one. Also the last one. Just really all of them sound amazing.

  7. Alaina I am literally writing an article right now that’s about #3 and I’m gonna submit it to autostraddle as soon as I’m done.

    • sweet!! i’ve been writing it for literally two years now and it’s never good enough, excited for the possibility to read yours!!!

  8. Not only would I read #16 but I’d also get it printed in tiny text on a t shirt and frame it on my wall

  9. I was so here for all of this, up until-

    ‘Bois will be Bois: Exploring Toxic Masculinity in Queer Women’s Communities’

    Sure, can we also get one about how non-masculine-presenting queer women keep simultaneously shitting on + fetishising butches/GNC women? (Sorry, after the whole Dyke March fiasco, I’m feeling kind of sore.)

      • Essentially they posted a thing on Twitter saying that butches were really sexy, but it was self-destructive for femmes to want to have sex with them because they were too masculine and ‘abrasive’ (while at the same time posting stuff to their Instagram account like ‘when he comes inside :D’ and ‘when he says he’s gonna fuck the attitude out of you :D’ and refusing to take them down or even trigger warn for them when various wlw asked them to because ‘not all dykes are women’).

        Then when people, including butch trans women, asked them to stop saying that butch women were basically just men, they responded with ‘we’re sorry you’re so offended!’ and doubled down on their rhetoric.

        (And then came the blatant, horrendous antisemitism of kicking Jewish women out at the march for carrying Jewish pride flags, but that’s a whole other can of awful.)

    • i mean…masculine of center folks often do perpetuate toxic masculinity. to pretend that it doesn’t happen in our community is harmful. this does not mean that i’m shitting on them.

      also, i’ve never actually written this paper slash titles are catchy slash it’s a play on “boys will be boys” which allows cis men to be really gross and harmful.

      also, my master’s thesis is all about butches and how we can support them and make emotional room for them in queer women’s communities so that they don’t feel pressured to perform toxic versions of masculinity. i love butches/masc of center folks (especially as i find myself feeling more comfortable with applying that language to myself) and want them to be their full selves and not feel like they have to be a specific way to be seen as valid in their masculinity so, you know. just some thoughts.

      also here ya go, a title for that paper you wanna see: “You Don’t Own Me: Femme Fetishization of Queer Masculinity”

      • Thank you for your response, and that paper title! I’m sorry my original comment was so snappy, I’d just seen a bunch of other things that day that were trash-talking masculine women/NB people under the guise of being progressive, but that doesn’t mean I should have lashed out at yours. I would totally, genuinely pay for access to every single one of the article titles on this page, they’re all fantastic.

  10. This reminds me of Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s brilliant lecture on the aggressive influence of German philosophy on rock ‘n’ roll entitled ‘You, Kant, Always Get What You Want.’

  11. I definitely want to read “Heaven is a Place on Earth: 1980s Pop Music and Queer Utopias”

  12. I love this so much. Paper titling was one if my favourite things about uni. My absolute best was a paper about chosen families and film myth/folklore as religion in the Firefly/Whedonverse fandom. Every section was a quote that fit so perfectly. I miss writing.

  13. Would totally bump every single one of these articles to the top of my reading list at the expense of those more directly related to current projects because can you even be an Academic if you’re not procrastinate-reading one thing in favor of the other thing you’re actually supposed to be reading?

  14. I love this so much. My favorite history title is “The Unbearable Whiteness of Skiing.” My favorite from my own work is “Twenty-four Hour Party People: A Gendered Social History of Californian Communism.” My advisors didn’t get the cultural reference, but I didn’t care.

    • My fave undergrad paper title was probably “Drama Queens: Representations and Subversions of Female Power in Agamemnon and Lysistrata” (I still maintain that “Agamemnon” should have been titled “Clytemnestra”). At least, that I can remember. I get the feeling that the paper exploring grace in Dostoevsky and Flaubert was called “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” but I don’t remember the rest of the title.

  15. “Experiencing the Body’s Grace” — my (trans, Lutheran) eyes just reared up a little. OK, more than a little.

  16. Love these!! I wrote a paper this year titled, “The Lesbian Potluck: A Life-Sustaining Site for Political Organization and Queer Solidarity”.

  17. I want to read all of these and then have Feelings about them semi-obsessively for several weeks afterwards. I want to finally acclimate them into my life so that trips to the grocery store remind me of my favorite passages. I want every single one of these to be bound in vegan leather and displayed lovingly on my dresser for all visitors to admire along with me. Please write these papers and fill the world with these things; they are so important and so true.

  18. I love all of these!!! And you have given me great inspiration for naming my own (sadly non-queer related) papers in future.

    Also please tell me everything about your Moana paper I am intrigued and need to know more.

    • listen i just think moana is gay as hell it’s about women seeing women when men don’t see them.

      moana’s grandma knew, her mom supported her because she knew. her dad discouraged her bc of his own fears
      moana was the only person who realized te fiti and te ka were the same person!!!! maui didn’t even realize he CREATED a monster!!! like, TE FITI WOULD’VE HAVE GIVEN HIM THE POWER TO CREATE IF HE JUST ASKED!

      sorry i have a lot of feelings.

      • This is amazing and a completely appropriate thing to have a lot of feelings on. I need to watch Moana again right now

      • Those are such good feelings! Moana is absolutely gay as heck, and thank you for introducing that particular take on the film- I need to go watch it again now.

  19. Today I heard 150 middle school girls and NBs sing How Far I’ll Go from Moana and I thought “I wonder how many times Alaina would have cried during this moment”

  20. I started a list of the ones I must read, and then abandoned that list because it is ALL OF THEM.

  21. Can we, like, start a Kickstarter or Patreon for you or something XD? I wanna read ’em all!

  22. I watched Mulan for the first time last week and about halfway through turned to my girlfriend and said “Holy shit that man is bisexual.”

  23. For my digital collection design course I titled all my projects and papers using the Random Exhibition Title Generator and it was amazing. And disturbingly plausible. I kept putting footnotes reminding my prof where these titles were coming from because for real, looking at them would give a normal person hives.

  24. Also please write 20 so I can read it, compose a grounded-theory/lived experience-based response/critique, send it to you, and then periodically make other people in my life read your article the same way I make them watch certain movies.

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