panels from LGBTQ+ comics

LGBT 550 - Queering Comics 

“Queering Comics” is an exploration of LGBTQ+ culture, ideas, aesthetics, relationships, identity, and politics through the prism of sequential art. We will use the medium of comics to explore the politics of representation, assessing both the consequences of the absence of complex queer and trans characters, and conversely the stereotypes that are reproduced when queer and trans people do appear. We will also explore how queer and trans people have practiced disidentifying with comics, teaching themselves to locate queerness even in narratives not intentionally created as queer. We will encounter creators who have used comics and graphic narratives to communicate queer ideas, express queer sexuality, and build queer community, sometimes subversively when queer identities are politically suppressed. We will evaluate the backlash against queer and trans comics, the politics of censorship, and the banning of queer visual narratives as sexually explicit content. Finally, we will celebrate the joyful struggle to continue to create and distribute queer and trans graphic narratives.

Course Materials



Lecture 1: What's Queer About Comics?

Lecture 2: Queer Absences, Queer Presences

Lecture 3: Gender Queer in the Era of "Don't Say Gay"

About the Course Designer


Jess Whatcott is an interdisciplinary scholar working in critical disability studies, critical prison studies, queer studies/queer of color critique, political economy, American political development, and California history. In addition to their appointment in the Department of Women’s Studies, Whatcott is affiliated with LGBTQ+ studies and digital humanities.

Read the blog post about the course.