Queer recognition and politics on YouTube: the circulation of Filipino Miss Universe fans’ reaction videos

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One popular genre of YouTube content in the Philippines is the Miss Universe reaction video made by queer fans during pageant viewing parties. The videos show hysterical and dramatic expressions of fans which are conceptualized as a form of queer expression, kabaklaan [Diaz (2018). Biyuti from below: Contemporary Philippine cinema and the transing of Kabaklaan. Transgender Studies Quarterly, 5(3), 404–424]. By analyzing the circulation of the videos, the present study aims to identify the roles of YouTube users and digital platforms in the transformations of the queer expression. My findings suggest that the affordances of YouTube (visibility, participation, dissemination) contribute to the commodification of the reaction videos and the popularization of queer emotional performances. At the same time, YouTube provides a facility where users can participate in the politics of queer recognition. The study shows how circulation can account for cultural transformations and continuity on digital platforms.