The NCA Caucus on LGBTQ Concerns and the GLBTQ Communication Studies Division


Like many institutions, the GLBTQ community was invisible during most of the history of NCA (and all its previous incarnations). However, as women, communities of colors, students and others began to make their presence known in classrooms and on the streets, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans persons came into their own. While scholarship reflecting gays and lesbians was not published in an institutional communication journal until 1973 (Chesboro’s “The Small Group Techniques of the Radical Revolutionary: A Synthetic Study of Consciousness Raising”), LGBT scholars, teachers, students, and professionals had been active since the founding of SCA. Eventually, these individuals met unofficially to exchange ideas and make connections, but it was not until the late 1970’s that an effort to form a NCA unit devoted to the LGBT community was undertaken.

At the 1978 National Convention Legislative Assembly meeting, the “Caucus on Gay and Lesbian Concerns” was established. For several decades it played an integral role in voicing the concerns of the community in hiring, discrimination, representation, and political action. In addition, the Caucus served as a space for the fervent exchange of ideas, aiding in the publication of two of the earliest published collections on gay and lesbian communication: 1981’s Gayspeak: Gay Male and Lesbian Communication (edited by James W. Chesebro) and 1994’s Queer Words, Queer Images: Communication and the Construction of Homosexuality (edited by R. Jeffrey Ringer).

In 1997, almost twenty years after the formation of the Caucus, the “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Studies Division” was approved by NCA. In an era of new visibility for the community in the discipline, the Division was created to foster GLBTQ scholarship and to give the community a vote in the Legislative Assembly. In its inaugural year, the Division highlighted papers and panels devoted to LGBT issues and awarded the first Randy Majors Memorial Award. By 1999, the Division reported a membership of over 250 scholars (Yep et al 4).

In recent years, both the Caucus and the Division approved the addition of “Queer” to the unit’s respective name. The Legislative Assembly has since approved the name changes.

Historic Names in NCA GLBTQ

Randy Majors Award Winners

2016     Bryant Keith Alexander

2015     Tom Nakayama

2014     Pamela Lannutti

2013     Michaela Meyer

2012     Daniel Brouwer

2011     Scott Dillard

2010     E. Patrick Johnson

2009     Dana L. Cloud

2008     Charles E. Morris III

2007    John Sloop

2006    Gust A. Yep

2005    Tony Slagle

2004     John Heineman

2003     Larry Gross

2002     Ralph Smith

2001     Joe Devito

2000    R. Jeffrey Ringer

1999     Fred Jandt

1998     James Darsey

1997    Sally Miller Gearhart

1996    James W. Chesebro (inaugural year)

Lambda Award Winners

2016     Deryl Johnson

2015     Karma R. Chavez

2014    Western Oregon University Safe Zone

2013    Jamie Landau

2011    Michaela Meyer

2010    Jimmie Manning

2009    United Here! Sleep with the Right People

2004    Hayworth Press (inaugural year)

Gearhart, Sally Miller. “Foreword: My Trip to Queer.” Journal of Homosexuality 45, 2/3/4 (2003) xxix-xxxviii.

Yep, Gust A., Karen E. Lovaas, and John P. Elia. “Introduction: Queering Communication: Starting the Conversation.”Queer Theory and Communication: From Disciplining Queers to Queering the Discipline. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2004. 4.

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