‘Narratives of representation’ allow readers to see their own identities reflected within texts they access and can increase empathy by exposing readers to varied experiences (Smolkin & Young 2011: 217). Researching personal topics has traditionally relied on approaches that require direct contact between a researcher (writer) and a participant (Wilkinson & Thelwall 2011: 387), which can be time-consuming and expensive. The expression of personal experiences through autoethnography has also been adopted in the creation of these narratives as an alternative approach, but can limit the conclusions presented due to the restricted scope of experiences that can be explored (Méndez 2013). Critical analysis of blog posts offers new possibilities, allowing writers to explore how members of a social group candidly discuss their identities and the issues they face with each other and external parties. Accessing blog posts written by members of the queer community has allowed me to create specific narratives of representation underpinned by accurate and authentic depictions, ensuring readers are exposed to diverse perspectives that reflect reality. This paper explores the ways blog posts written by the queer community have influenced my depiction of queer identity in creative works and exegetical writing by inspiring and informing the exploration of issues such as mislabelling, stereotyping, discrimination, and fear.
21st Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) Conference: Authorised Theft, Canberra, Australia 28-30 November 2016