The Comic Book Agenda: Altering Perceptions and Attitudes Towards LGBTQIA+ People Through Graphic Narratives
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Sexual minorities in America face a multitude of struggles in an intolerant and prejudiced society. From micro-aggressions and bullying in school to the denial of basic civil rights and mass-shootings targeting gay spaces, acts of sexual prejudice against members of the queer community continue to be an issue. The need for tolerance education and ways to create empathy and connection between the dominant society and sexual minorities is quite literally a matter of life and death. This thesis examines how graphic narratives, such as comic books, can and have been used as catalysts for social change. The goal of this research was to determine what effect, if any, a comic book about real queer people might have on improving sexually prejudiced people’s attitudes and perceptions towards sexual minorities. A prototype of the comic book was created and tested with six students that had shown mid- to high-levels of prejudice (based off of responses to the Attitudes Towards Lesbians and Gays Scale test). The results of these tests showed reduced levels of prejudice in all but one of the participants, with the levels of difference varying significantly.