Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

First Advisor

John Baldwin


On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed, and 53 people were injured in a shooting at Pulse, a popular gay club in Orlando, Florida. The Pulse Nightclub shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States at that time and the deadliest violent act against the LGBTQ+ community in the United States (Hancock & Haldeman, 2017; Jackson, 2017; Walter, Billard, & Murphy, 2017). The media were divided in labeling the shooting a terrorist attack or a hate crime, creating a master narrative surrounding the shooting. However, LGBTQ+ spoken word poets rejected the media’s storylines, developing counter-narratives, and instead called attention to existing violence targeting the LGBTQ+ community and promoted healing after Pulse. To better understand the connection between the Pulse Nightclub shooting, spoken word poetry, and counter-narrative creation, I conducted focus groups where individuals watched and reacted to poems about Pulse, performed by LGBTQ+ poets. Applying Braun and Clark’s (2006) thematic analysis, I hope to uncover how the counter-narratives created by the LGBTQ+ poets influence the way their audience make sense of their own experiences.


Imported from ProQuest Trew_ilstu_0092N_11459.pdf


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