Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Bernadette M. Calafell, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Roy Wood

Third Advisor

Richie Niel Hao


Intersectionality, Personal narrative, Public pedagogy, Queer gender performance, Race, Social justice


This research project expands academic understandings of queer of color subjectivity through the critical investigation of queer gender performance and its pedagogical potential for queer communities. With queer theories of color, critical communication pedagogy, and public pedagogy theories providing support, I utilize qualitative interviews fore-fronting poetic transcription of personal narratives in order to explore how queer gender performers of color engage in intersectional queer negotiations of identities and provide new possibilities for the everyday performance of queer identities. I call upon existing scholarship in queer gender performance in order to prove the centrality of such performances to queer social life, as well as the potential of queer gender performers to co-construct critical consciousness with audiences around intersecting categories of identity like race. Ultimately, I build on previously published work in Communication in order to build a case for how queer gender performance serves as a form of public pedagogy through which audiences and performers theorize and embody queer subjectivities. This proposed study is fundamentally critical, intended to expose and transform social inequalities in queer communities and to expand academic conversations around queerness and social justice. Ultimately, I contend that each queer gender performer of color I interviewed espouses a deeply personal form of public pedagogy that works to disrupt the whiteness that governs queer performance spaces and empowers audiences to do the same in their everyday lives. Onstage and off, queer gender performers of color engage in celebration of racialized queer identities, encouraging one another to honor difficult paths toward performance and the legacies they will leave. These performers practice active resistance to the glorification of whiteness in queer gender performance culture, their brown bodies living testaments to the contrary. At last, together, these performers have become agents of change through performance, intent on speaking to audiences in ways that illuminate their collective struggles and unstoppable, collective strength. This study is but one forum through which academics and activists alike can begin to unpack the collective potential of queer gender performers of color not only speak back to silence and erasure, but to disrupt privilege, transform existing spaces, and empower audiences and one another to accept no less than absolute creative and political agency.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Krishna Pattisapu


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

259 p.


Communication, GLBT studies, Education