LGBTQ+ Inclusion in a Writing Center in the Deep South: A Collaborative Autoethnography
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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As an administrator of a writing program and writing center at a university in the Deep South, I sought to develop a workplace culture that was welcoming to LGBTQ+ employees. Writing centers have historically paid scant attention to LGBTQ+ inclusion, and I responded to this gap through action and research. To create a more welcoming space, I engaged in queer worldmaking and developed affinity groups in support of LGBTQ+ inclusion. This study asks the research question, “How do LGBTQ+ employees of a writing center in the Deep South experience welcoming discourses?” It is a collaborative autoethnography based on my experiences as well as those of Ray, a nonbinary, queer peer writing consultant. Data include my reflections on my experiences within affinity groups and the workplace, as well as two interviews with Ray, in which they assessed their sense of the workplace's inclusiveness before and after participating in an affinity group. This study revealed that discourses about visibility, mentorship, safety, and allyship can be experienced as welcoming to LGBTQ+ people. Based on these findings, I make recommendations for English Language Arts (ELA) preservice teacher education programs and for writing centers.