Queering Virtual Reality: A Prolegomenon

In this chapter, we investigate how innovations in STEM, such as Virtual Reality (VR) and 3D Sculpting, can support the development of critical literacies about gender and sexuality. Our work arises from the concern that the assumed \naturalness" of male/female binary categories in biol- ogy is often at the center of the queer, trans, and intersex panics in public education. Echoing sociologists and critical scholars of gender and sexu- ality, we posit that transgender and queer identities should be positioned as realms of playful, active inquiry. Further, we investigate how new forms of computational representational infrastructures can be leveraged to support productive and playful experiences of inquiry about gender and sexuality. We present a retrospective analysis of a design group meeting of a small group of friends in their early thirties with gender nonconforming and queer identities and life histories. The group interacted in VR-based environments, where they engaged in two di erent forms of construction- ist learning experiences: creating 3D sculptures of personally meaningful objects, and re-creating their VR avatars in VR social media. Our analysis illustrates how such experiences can be productively analyzed using so- cial constructivist perspectives that situate knowing as boundary play and gured worlds, and the roles that play and friendship have in supporting deep and critical engagement with complex narratives and marginalized
Virtual reality, Gender, Sexuality, Figured worlds, LGBTQ
Paré, D., Sengupta, P., Windsor, S., John, C., & Thompson, M. (2019). Queering Virtual Reality. In Critical, Transdisciplinary and Embodied Approaches in STEM Education (pp. 307–328). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29489-2_17