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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2021 Abstracts

Abstract: Literacy and Representation in the LGBTQIA+ Communities

Presenter: Heather Graham, School for Cultural and Social Transformation, Gender Studies
Authors: Heather Graham
Faculty Advisor: Kim Hackford-Peer, School for Cultural and Social Transformation, Gender Studies
Institution: University of Utah

There is little existing research about the social impact of cultural literacy surrounding LGBTQIA+ identities, despite countless stories and anecdotes from those within the community whose personal journey significantly included finding language to talk about themselves and their experiences and seeing others like them represented in various forms of media. By exploring and examining this literacy, these words, and how LGBTQIA+ people see themselves and their lived-experiences in media, academia and the overall social narrative, a better understanding of the significance can be developed. This project synthesizes a review of published scholarship, surveys, oral histories, and interviews into a detailed analysis and creation of a scholarly article and a curated zine authored by participants and their stories. From these results, an understanding of lived-experience and diversity can be recognized and used to create more inclusive and more authentic narratives and spaces in workplaces, academia, family, and in general. This also fosters a stronger, more robust support of the LGBTQIA+ communities around us and in society.