Date of Award

5-2021

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

English: Writing Studies and Rhetoric: M.A.

Department

English

College

College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Daniel L. Wildeson

Second Advisor

Catherine O. Fox

Third Advisor

Tim R. Fountaine

Fourth Advisor

Brandon L. Johnson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

ally, Safe Space, LGBT resource center, queer, rhetoric

Abstract

While university LGBT resource centers work to educate, enable, and embolden members of the LGBTQIA+ community themselves, there is also important work for resource centers in building bridges to, and understanding within, greater campus and greater community populations. Our paper explores the rhetorical construction used by university LGBT resource center Safe Space training manuals to develop understanding, compassion, activism—allyship and allies—in resource center communities, populations potentially both inside and outside that of the university LGBTQIA+ community proper. As many LGBT resource centers have been founded on texts that unintentionally promote hetero- and homonormative ways of being, current Safe Space manuals may not address queer community intragroup allyship, and therefore the many embodiments of queer experience—ignoring potential for ally development, and perpetuating singular understandings of the ally, and the queer individual. In Side by Side we’ve examined who university Safe Space manuals address, how invitations to support the LGBTQIA+ community are presented, and the frames used to develop allies and change views of the LGBTQIA+ community. Through examination of recent iterations of one university’s Safe Space manuals and interviews with its recent LGBT Resource Center directors, the study found that while understandings of “ally” and the queer community have changed in recent decades, that resource center manuals have not, maintaining focus rather on intergroup allies as vital and privileged players in queer and trans causes. Implications of this stagnation and possible enhancements of the rhetoricity of the resource center’s Safe Space manuals are discussed.

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