What are some examples in Peter Pan that express homosexual tendencies? Both in the text and related to Barrie's life and backgroundI am writing an argumentative essay discussing homosexuality in...

What are some examples in Peter Pan that express homosexual tendencies? Both in the text and related to Barrie's life and background

I am writing an argumentative essay discussing homosexuality in Peter Pan. I plan on using evidence from pop culture, Barrie's life, as well as support from the text. Any suggestions would be helpful. For example, one aspect I plan on discussing is the frequency of female actresses playing Peter on stage, emphasizing the blurring of gender roles. The first publication of Pan was published in 1904, so anything from that time period that may have influenced my topic would be helpful as well. :)

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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You can probably go in all sorts of directions with this interesting topic. I recommend that you first use library databases as well as general internet searches to get as many leads as you want and only then decide which cluster of sources to work with. With a simple google search, using the terms “peter pan” and “homosexuality,” for example, I came across a resource that might interest you as one point of departure:


This advice column entry by Michael Kimmel, who is a big name in gay/gender/masculinity studies, uses the term “Peter Pan Syndrome” to talk about what he sees, in contemporary gay culture, as a widespread overemphasis on youth and general lack of interest in developing mature, lasting relationships.

On a related now, this internet search revealed the topic to be hugely popular now, with all sorts of polls and discussion boards on the topic “Is Peter Pan gay?” This near-obsessive treatment of the topic may say more about the people posting than it does about the actual author or text. I would tend to go in this direction, analyzing recent popular culture discussions of the topic, but a more historically grounded approach may work very well, too. The whole heterosexual/homosexual categorization is generally seen, in cultural=historical terms, as a late 19th-century invention. Barrie may very well have been familiar with some of the so-called “sexological” literature of his own time.

Let me close by saying that androgyny and homosexuality are not really synonymous. They’re often seen as overlapping categories today, but if you look at late 19th= and early 20th-century homosexual subcultures (see, for example, the German group with the publication Der Eigene; read more at the wikipedia link below), you’ll see an opposing view of homosexuality as  purely masculine.

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