Gender representation is inherently a part of child-oriented media that plays a significant role in childhood identity development, and the lack of positive queer representation may lead to unfair treatment of queer youth. An art classroom cannot be a space for exploration and risk-taking if art teachers are unaware of how to structure an appropriate environment for queer curricula. Recognizing the circumstances, we categorize queer representations in media as queer main-text and queer subtext. Queer representation can be utilized as a foundational approach for cultivating pre-service art teachers’ visual literacy regarding two aspects: (1) the sensibility of decoding visual spectacles of queer representations, and (2) the actions of encoding visual messages for educational application. With a mind-set of advocating for diversity, pre-service art teachers can critically and logically refute normative interpretations of LGBTQ+ representations in media, create a space for open exploration of LGBTQ+, and reveal and neutralize top-down power relationships within K–12 art classrooms. Further, pre-service art teachers will be better primed to take on a leading role in advocating for LGBTQ+ themes, and they will be encouraged to create an appropriate place for queer students to feel welcome to express themselves, but also a place where students can experience open-mindedness and empathetically embrace diversity.


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pp. 49-60
Launched on MUSE
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