Toward a broader recognition of the queer in the BBC'S "Sherlock"

Keywords: Disidentification, Fandom, John Watson, Sherlock Holmes, Slash fiction


With an eye toward the growing body of scholarship on the new Sherlock (2010–), this article considers both the show's possibilities for queer identification and the limitations of analyses of the show that rely too heavily on Holmes's relationship with John Watson as evidence of Holmes's queerness. Despite the producers' proclamation that Holmes is above sex, much less gay sex, the show is ripe with a queer subtext that viewers have recognized and reclaimed as their own. Several scholars have examined Sherlock's appeal to these viewers, but their focus has primarily been on the ways these readings conflict or intersect with how the show and its producers understand him. This article calls for a reading that conceives of a queerness outside of the homosexual domestic. Using José Escobar Muñoz's theory of disidentification, I argue that we should explore readings of the show that do not demand validation of queerness through normative relationships and behaviors. Instead, Sherlock's illegibility allows him to exist in a queer space, outside both essentialist and constructivist ideas of who and what people can be.

Author Biography

Amandelin A. Valentine, University of Central Florida
Second year M.A. student in the University of Central Florida's Department of English: Literary, Cultural, and Textual studies program. Instructor of record for ENC 1102 with the UCF Department of Writing and Rhetoric as a GTA. Recipient of the Graduate Dean's Fellowship. Completed graduate certificate in Gender Studies December, 2015. Expecting MA in May, 2016.