Activism/Outreach Letter

Write a letter to someone, making a case for something you have learned about in this class with the help of at least three sources from our class readings.

For example, you might undertake:
• a critique of a corporation, government, or organization’s practices, directed either at the organization itself or at people who are familiar with it
• a request for change in the way an institution or organization conducts itself
• a proposal for a new organization, event, class, or cultural production
• an explanation of how LGBTQ Studies changes the perspective previously held by a particular individual, group, or institution.

When I grade your narrative, here is what I will be hoping to see:
• A clear and persuasive argument. You’re making a case for something, not just reporting your experience in class.
• An appropriate tone for your audience. If you’re writing to your grandmother, I don’t expect to read the same kind of letter as I would if you were writing to the State of Maryland.
• Effective integration of examples. Quote your sources conversationally and persuasively, as you would if you were using them in an informal discussion, but include full citation details in a bibliography at the end.
• A letter that’s the right length to make its case well. If you finish your letter and have not reached the required page length, use the remaining space to write a reflection explaining why you decided to write this letter.

Nuts and bolts:
•    Length: 2 pages. SINGLE-SPACED. (This is a letter).
•    Submit your finished assignment on ELMS by 9:30 am on the last day of class, Thursday, May 11th. Email and paper submissions will not be accepted except by special agreement.
•    Essays must be in Word (.doc or .docx), RTF, or PDF format. Use Times New Roman or a similar font in 12-point, with 1-inch margins.


Here are a list of the readings from this year:

Tuesday, January 31st

-The Gender Book (ELMS)
-Anne Fausto-Sterling Chapters 1-4 (ELMS)
-Dean Spade’s “Purportedly Gendered Body Parts” (ELMS)

Recommended: Emily Martin’s “Egg and Sperm” article (ELMS)

Thursday, February 2nd

Hanne Blank— Straight, Chapter One (ELMS)


Recommended: Hanne Blank Intro

Week Three-Gay and Lesbian Identities and Homophobia

Tuesday, February 7th

-Jewelle Gomez “Silence is Costly” (ELMS)
-CJ Pascoe “Dude, You’re a Fag” (ELMS)

Recommended: Suzanne Pharr “Homophobia, A Weapon of Sexism” (ELMS)

Thursday, February 9th


Required: intro, 17-27, 50, 55, 56, 78, 79, 81, 91, 92, 113, 114, 123, 147-149, 155, 157-168,

Recommended: read as much as you can/want of 1-184.
Specific pages I would recommend: 17, 18, 21, 22, 24, 27, 37, 74, 90, 94, 95, 96, 109, 124.

Alison Bechdel’s website is a useful resource for remembering characters

Week Four-Bisexuality and Pansexuality

Tuesday, February 14th

– Notes from a Bi Revolution, Eisner (ELMS) (Note this is a LONG reading, so give yourself time to complete it all)

Recommended: Bisexual vs. Pansexual  (Links to an external site.)(online), Eisner Chapter Two

Thursday, February 16th

DTWOF: 184, 188, 191, 192, 194, 197-199, 207, 216, 218, 223

Week Five- Transgender Identities

Tuesday, February 21st

Chapter Two from Susan Stryker’s “Transgender History” (ELMS)

Redefining Realness excerpts (ELMS)

Navigating Masculinity as a Black Trans Man (Links to an external site.) (online)

In class: Laverne Cox speech.

Thursday, February 23rd

Julia Serano “Dismantling Cisgender Privilege” (ELMS)

DTWOF: 125, 126, 230

In class: TransGirlNextDoor:

If you want a pre-view of her work:

That Damn Tuck:
Problematic Men:

Recommended: Mutilating Gender by Dean Spade (ELMS)

Week Six- Queer, Two-Spirit and Asexual Identities

Tuesday, February 28th

Two-Spirit and Queer Videos (first four of the playlist are required, others recommended) (Links to an external site.)

Recommended: Janet Mock’s Chapter 8 (ELMS), and “On Queer Privilege”  (Links to an external site.)(online)

In class: Group Speed-dating Activity

Thursday, March 2nd

– 5 Myths about Asexuality (Links to an external site.) (online)
– Aven website (Links to an external site.) (online) Please read the Welcome page, and “Overview” and “General FAQ” under the About Asexuality tab.

Gender and Sexuality Reflection Due Sunday, March 5th at 5 pm.

Week Seven- Gay and Lesbian Histories

Tuesday, March 7th

-Finding Out, chapters one and two (readings section optional) (ELMS)

Thursday, March 9th

– Faderman, Butches/Femmes/Kiki’s (ELMS)
-In class excerpt from Stone Butch Blues (read aloud)

Week Eight –Stonewall and Beyond

Tuesday, March 14th

-Finding Out Chapters 3 and 4 (ELMS)
-Transgender History Chapter 3 (ELMS)

Thursday, March 16th

-Mia McKenzie “Resistance is the Secret of Queer Joy”
-lesbian separatist article (TBD)


Week Ten-AIDS and ACT-UP *content warning for graphic depictions of death and illness*

Tuesday, March 28th

-Reed’s ACT-UP chapter from The Art of Protest (ELMS)
– Queer America Chapter 7 “From Carter to Reagan” and “The Challenge of AIDS” (elms)

Recommended: Attend the presentation by Dr. Salvador Vidal-Oritz who will discuss
The Feminist Racial Justice Project of Queer Brown Voices. March 28, 2017, 12-1:30 pm. Maryland Room, Marie Mount Hall. (This would count for an Active Engagement Point)

Thursday, March 30th

– Watch for class “The Normal Heart” (optional class screening Wed March 29th at 7pm in Talliaferro 0135, the WMST multimedia studio)

-Read excerpts from Ron Mohring’s “Survivable World” (ELMS)

Week Eleven- History Projects Due

Tuesday, April 4th

No Class—time to do last-minute preparations on projects

Thursday, April 6th

Group Presentations/Conference

Final projects due on ELMS: Sunday, April 9th at 5 pm.

Week Twelve – Queer Cultural Production

Tuesday, April 11th

NO CLASS—mandatory event Wednesday night—read the following in prep:
-Audre Lorde’s Silence Into Action (ELMS)
A Queer Musician’s Guide to Being Heard by Be Steadwell (Links to an external site.) (online)

MANDATORY: Wednesday, April 12th –BE STEADWELL’s campus visit. (evening)

Thursday, April 13th

-discussion about Be’s visit, Audre Lorde’s reading

B Steadwell Youtube Playlist (Links to an external site.)
-class activities

Week Thirteen-Drag Culture and Beyond Gay Marriage

Tuesday, April 18th

Drag King and Drag Queen reading (ELMS)

DTWOF: 230, 232, 238, 240, 244-245, 254, 262, 263

Recommended: My Son Loves Drag Races (Links to an external site.) (about a 9 year old gender-creative kid who loves ruPaul’s drag race), Watch Paris is Burning on Netflix (we will watch a section in class), RuPaul’s Drag Race or the Kinsey Sicks on youtube.

Thursday, April 20th

-Calling in a Queer Debt by Mia McKenzie (ELMS)
-Queer Kids Against Queer Marriage (ELMS)

Recommended: Their Laws Will Not Make Us Safer—Dean Spade (ELMS)

Recommended: Friday, April 21st —The Queer Studies Symposium, all day, Tawes Hall.

Week Fourteen- Black Lives Matter and Orlando *content note: violence/murder*

Tuesday, April 25th 

Watch: Tongues Untied (Links to an external site.)

(Optional class screening Sunday, April 23rdth at 7 pm, WMST multimedia Studio, Talliaferro 0135)

A Herstory of Black Lives Matter,  (Links to an external site.)(online)
Why Black Lives Should Matter to All LGBTQ People  (Links to an external site.)(online)
Mia McKenzie’s “To the Black Queer Kids” (ELMS)

Thursday, April 27th

A Queer Muslim Response to the Shooting,  (Links to an external site.)(online)
What 14 LGBTQ Activists Want You to Know (Links to an external site.) (online)
Latinx Queer and Trans Activists Explain the Shooting  (Links to an external site.)(online video)

Week Fifteen- The Body and Mind

Tuesday, May 2nd

-Eli Clare’s “The Marrow’s Telling” poems (ELMS)
– Eli Clare’s disability and queerness essay (ELMS) (content note: mentions sexual assault, violence against women, people of color, trans folks)

Thursday, May 4th

Unalterable (Links to an external site.) (online) (The first link goes to this article published on Autostraddle–I would recommend this because you can also read the comments). (It is also published on Everyday Feminism here (Links to an external site.), and the text is in smaller chunks which may make it easier to read for some people.)

Autistic and Queer (Links to an external site.) (online) (Note that Lydia–who is featured here uses “they” pronouns, not “she/her”)

Recommended: “The Talk”  (Links to an external site.)(About an autistic individual’s experience of the body and intimacy)

Week Sixteen—LGBTQ Children

Tuesday, May 9th

Podcast “How to Be A Girl” (Episode to be announced)
Excerpt DTWOF: 282, 306, 312, 316, 320, 351
A Message From a Ten-Year Old Lesbian, “In Her Own Words” (Links to an external site.)

Recommended: “Stop Waiting For My Gay Son to Change” (Links to an external site.) –Amelia (whose son came out at age 7). Raising My Rainbow blog (online): “Trust Your Mama Gut”

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