Nav: Home

The power of the LGBTQ language experience

February 02, 2016

Celebrating its 23rd year at American University in Washington, D.C., Lavender Languages is North America's longest-running academic conference on language use in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer life. The conference focuses on linguistic practices, and this year also attends to the growing tensions between (homo)sexuality and citizenship in U.S. settings and worldwide.

"The conference draws senior scholars and undergraduates, community members and political activists because of their shared interests in LGBTQ language. As this year's program demonstrates, those interests now span the globe," said William Leap, the conference founder and professor in AU's Department of Anthropology.

Scholars attending this year's conference hail from countries such as Scotland, Ireland, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, France, and South Africa. A panel on language, sexuality and national belonging will explore ways in which the relationships between national belonging and sexual subjectivity are mediated through linguistic practice. In many contemporary societies, one must identity and present as heterosexual in order to be recognized as a full member of the nation, which in many cases results in conflicted relationships between LGBT citizens and the state.

Some of the highlights of the conference include:

  • David Peterson will host a back-to-basics workshop on Critical Discourse Analysis. Peterson's popular course provides useful skills for language analysis in any setting.

  • Salvador Vidal-Ortiz and Leti Gomez will introduce, discuss and take questions from the audience about their new book Queer Brown Voices (University of Texas Press, 2015). This stunning collection of papers about LGBTQ Latino/a activism has gained much praise from critics. Gomez and Vidal-Ortiz will talk about the political and linguistic dimensions of this project.

  • Research Panel: The panel features projects located in the United States, Ireland, and Argentina. Session presenters will discuss how they use language as an entry point for exploring social voice and recovering social history and take questions about research design, procedure and practice.

  • Two sessions will explore how gender and sexuality influence language learning and language teaching in everyday life and in the classroom. These Saturday morning sessions will be of particular interest to teachers.

The conference runs this year from Feb. 12-14. While it is an academic conference, all sessions take an informal approach, and members of the public are always welcome to attend. Information on the conference can be found by visiting the Lavender Languages website at

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation's capital and around the world.

American University

Related Language Articles:

The world's most spoken language is...'Terpene'
If you're small, smells are a good way to stand out.
Study analyzes what 'a' and 'the' tell us about language acquisition
A study co-authored by an MIT professor suggests that experience is an important component of early-childhood language usage although it doesn't necessarily account for all of a child's language facility.
Why do people switch their language?
Due to increasing globalization, the linguistic landscape of our world is changing; many people give up use of one language in favor of another.
Discovering what shapes language diversity
A research team led by Colorado State University is the first to use a form of simulation modeling to study the processes that shape language diversity patterns.
'Speaking my language': Method helps prepare teachers of dual language learners
Researchers at Lehigh University, led by L. Brook Sawyer and Patricia H.
The brain watched during language learning
Researchers from Nijmegen, the Netherlands, have for the first time captured images of the brain during the initial hours and days of learning a new language.
'Now-or-never bottleneck' explains language acquisition
We are constantly bombarded with linguistic input, but our brains are unable to remember long strings of linguistic information.
The secret language of microbes
Social microbes often interact with each other preferentially, favoring those that share certain genes in common.
A programming language for living cells
New language lets MIT researchers design novel biological circuits.
Syntax is not unique to human language
Human communication is powered by rules for combining words to generate novel meanings.

Related Language Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...