Topics in Literature: Queer Youth: LGBTQ Narratives of Coming-of-Age and Coming Out in North America


How do conventional coming-of-age narratives change when centering a queer or trans protagonist? For queer and trans youth enduring entrenched structures of heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia, does it get better? While the 2010 "It Gets Better" campaign promised LGBTQ youth a brighter future, the encouragement to wait fails to challenge the conditions that make the world inhospitable for those of non-normative gender and sexual identities. The proliferation of LGBTQ youth characters in books, movies, and TV shows over the past decade ostensibly advanced this cause. In light of this drastically changed media landscape, this course reassesses the maxim that more cultural representation equals social progress. Analyzing literary alongside scholarly works, this course examines the terms, effects, and implications of these representations of how LGBTQ youth navigate their social worlds and the precarious uncertainties of growing up. Texts may include André Aciman's "Call Me by Your Name," Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home," Akwaeke Emezi's "Pet," Barry Jenkins's "Moonlight," Gabby Rivera's "Juliet Takes a Breath," and Kai Cheng Thom's "Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars." These texts underscore how the dangers LGBTQ youth face-of bullying, homelessness, homophobia, and heterosexist violence-are intimately shaped by race, class, and sociopolitical contexts. Yet, far from suggesting a life defined exclusively by sorrow and threat, these works also illuminate the imaginative practices by which queer and trans youth craft possibilities for beauty, pleasure, joy, friendship, and fabulosity, compelling us to envision alternative worlds. Satisfies the Twentieth Century and later requirement. This course may fulfill the global or minority literatures requirement for students who declare an English major in the fall 2021 semester and beyond.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM; UC ENL; EL EC; EL TC; EL GML

Section 01

Topics in Literature: Queer Youth: LGBTQ Narratives of Coming-of-Age and Coming Out in North America
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