You Go, Gurl!: How LGBTQ Literacies Create Social Justice in the Classrooms and Beyond

03/05/2015 12:13 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

I created and presented this workshop on LGBTQ literacies. I wish to share it with the public, because I do not believe in keeping information within the confines of academia. (What is the purpose of knowledge if it only remains within the ivory tower and tiny bubble that is the university?) Language is also a popular topic at the present moment. Throughout social media, on the Internet, and all over the blogosphere, many people are talking about the power and purpose of language. I wish to start a discussion about LGBTQ literacies, and I want your feedback.

You Go, Gurl!: How LGBTQ Literacies Create Social Justice in the Classrooms and Beyond
A workshop by Michael Carosone.

Those who think and talk about literacy and social justice most often ignore LGBTQ* literacies and the impact of such literacies on creating social justice. Hopefully, this workshop will inspire those to expand their notions of literacy to include LGBTQ literacies, and how such LGBTQ literacies -- whether verbal or visual -- influence and create culture, inspire and create social justice, and effect positive social change. (*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer).

Some Questions to Pose:
1. What are LGBTQ literacies? What do they sound like? What do they look like?
2. How do we queer straight/heterosexual literacies?
3. What does it mean when LGBTQs "read" the world, "read" their communities, societies, institutions, "read" each other?
4. What happens when Drag Queens/Kings "open the library" to "read" and throw "shade" at each other?
5. How have LGBTQs used codes, colors, and objects -- the handkerchief, the rainbow, the triangle, etc. -- to identify themselves and other LGBTQs in covert ways, so as not to be revealed and harmed in their homophobic societies?
6. How can LGBTQ literacies create social justice in the classroom and beyond?


I. Introductions:
1. Tell us about yourself and your work. What is your experience? What are your interests?
2. Why did you choose to attend this workshop?
3. What can you contribute to this workshop?
4. What do you want to learn from this workshop? What do you wish to accomplish with this workshop?

II. Create Your Own LGBTQ Literacy:
1. With a partner, create a dialogue between two LGBTQ characters using verbal and visual LGBTQ literacies.

III. Verbal LGBTQ literacies:
1. Polari
2. LGBTQ Slang
3. Camp

IV. Visual LGBTQ literacies:
1. Drag
2. Voguing
3. Gay Handkerchief Code
4. Gay Semiotics
5. LGBTQ Art: AIDS Art as one example