Keven James Rudrow, assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, had his essay “Quare Vernacular Discourse: Vulnerability, Mentorship, and Coming Out on YouTube” published in Critical Studies in Media Communication, a ranked journal of the National Communication Association.
This essay argues that coming out narratives shared by Black queer youth on YouTube can be understood as a quare vernacular discourse that captures their rhetorical moves, illuminates their material realities, and participates in Black queer worldmaking. Recognizing that much remains uncharted about how Black queer youth use social media, I extend quare vernacular discourse to examine the material intersections of race and sexuality, and expand quare theory to include these otherwise hidden rhetorics. First, I work from 27 coming out narratives on YouTube to argue that narrators use their stories to articulate how they navigate quare material vulnerability. Second, I contend that narrators’ quare vernacular discourse illuminates how Black queer boys and young men are motivated to share their stories, helping to sustain a quare vernacular community. Expanding quare possibilities and adding to an online communal knowledge pool, narrators, much like mentors, use their stories to guide vulnerable Black queer youth who may have few role models or no support structures.