Queer Studies Lecture Series Spring 2015

Presented by the Women's and Gender Studies Department

Mondays, 12:00-12:50, Ives 101
All Lectures Free and Open to All

Spring 2015

2/2 Cecilia Chung, “Trans Lives Matter”

Cecilia Chung has spent much of her adult life in LGBT advocacy, including serving as Asian Pacific Islander HIV Program Director and Deputy Director at the Transgender Law Center. She founded San Francisco Transgender Advocacy and Mentorship (SF TEAM) to provide events for the transgender community and is one of the co-founders of the annual Trans March. She will discuss how contemporary transgender advocacy, legal advance, and ongoing challenges, should be understood through intersectionality with gender, race, class, and sexuality.

2/9 Christina Hanhardt, “Safe in the City? Fighting Violence and Claiming Space in San Francisco LGBT History”

Christina Hanhardt, an associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, is the author of Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence (Duke University Press, 2013), which won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Best Book in LGBT Studies. This talk traces the history of LGBT activism against violence and for safety in the context of local neighborhood politics in San Francisco since the mid-1960s. Highlighting themes of street violence, policing, and gentrification, Hanhardt asks broader questions about what makes places "safe" for queer communities, and how issues of racism and class inequality have shaped activist visions. She also considers what this history might offer to more recent debates about police violence and protest, and the place of queer politics in fighting for more just cities today.

2/16 Heklina, “The ‘T’ Word”

The creator, producer, and host of Trannyshack, San Francisco’s most successful and longest running drag performance event, Heklina, is a Bay Area drag icon who just opened a brand-new cabaret nightclub called Oasis. She found herself front and center when Trannyshack recently became a site of debate between members of drag and trans communities over who was allowed to use the word “tranny?” What role does context play? What is the history of the word, and how has meaning changed over time? In this talk, Heklina will share her experience of moving through the turmoil, and the decision making process of changing the name of her event.

2/23 Suegee Tamar-Mattis, “A History of Transgender Medicine”

Suegee Tamar-Mattis, D.O., is a family practice physician who runs the transgender clinic at Vista Health Center, addressing the needs of Sonoma County's diverse transgender community since 2008. Dr. Suegee will discuss the history of transgender medicine in Europe and the United States from the 1850's to today. Who were Magnus Hirshfeld and Harry Benjamin? What does mayhem have to do with transgender surgery? The development of medical care for the transgender community is an interesting story and will shed light on the state of care today.

3/2 Clare Sears, “The Queer Crime of Cross-Dressing”

San Francisco State Associate Professor of Sociology and Sexuality Studies Clare Sears specializes in queer theory and transgender studies, as well as critical studies of law, punishment and social control. She has published articles on transgender history in GLQ and WSQ. Today’s talk about the nineteenth-century development of anti-cross-dressing law in San Francisco is based upon her new book, Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law and Fascination in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco (Dyke University Press, 2015).

3/9 Daisy Hernández, “Queer Cuentos, Queer Narratives”

Daisy Hernández is the author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism. The former editor of ColorLines magazine, she has written for The Altantic, Ms. magazine, the National Catholic Reporter, The New York Times, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She’s the Kenan Visiting Writer at UNC-Chapel Hill. Read more at www.daisyhernandez.com. In her talk, she will explore how sexuality and gender are often portrayed as highly personal stories, or cuentos, disconnected from community and from experiences of race, class and immigration. But the most private story is also the most public one. Hernández will discuss reporting and writing about the intersection of gender and race, the double narrative Latinas face about sexuality, and why erasing bisexuality is bad for everyone.

3/23 K.M. Soehnlein, “Everybody Everybody: On ACTUP, Queer Nation and Coming out in the 1980s”

K.M. Soehnlein is the author of three novels, the award-winning World of Normal Boys, its sequel, Robin and Ruby, and You Can Say You Knew Me When, and a widely published essayist. He teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. Weaving in material from his forthcoming novel Everybody Everybody, a fictional portrait of what it was like to be a young gay man during an era of crisis, social upheaval and street activism, Soehnlein will describe his experiences in ACT UP, the AIDS activist group that started in New York City in 1987 and used nonviolent civil disobedience to influence the government, the media, and the medical establishment. He will also discuss his membership in Queer Nation, formed in 1990 to confront LGBT issues unrelated to HIV/AIDS.

3/30 Darius Bost, “Hip Hop’s Early Introduction to Sex?: Queer Readings of ‘Rape’ in Popular Culture”

Darius Bost, Assistant Professor of Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University, is at work on his first book manuscript, Evidence of Being: The Black Gay Cultural Renaissance and the Politics of Violence, which explores the outpour of black gay literature and culture from the late 1970s to the mid-90s, alongside extraordinary forms of violence that black gay men faced during this period. This presentation explores recent media representations of black male childhood sex and victimization, focusing on the cases of recording artists Chris Brown and Lil Wayne. In interviews, both have discussed their childhood sexual encounters with older girls, setting into motion cultural debates about the meaning of “rape” when black male bodies become the site of violation. Bost will trace these discourses to examine the problematic of claiming these men’s experiences under the category of “rape.” He suggests a queer reading practice that imagines the unimaginable subjectivities produced through experiences of childhood sex and sexual victimization.

4/6 Tina Takemoto, “Memoirs of Bjork-Geisha: From Orientalism to Incarceration”

Artist and Associate Professor of Visual Studies at California College of the Arts Tina Takemoto has presented artwork and performances internationally. Her film Looking for Jiro received Best Experimental Film Jury Award at the Austin LGBT International Film Festival, and her articles appear in Afterimage, Art Journal, GLQ, Performance Research, Radical Teacher, Theatre Survey, Women and Performance, and the anthology Thinking Through the Skin. Takemoto is board president of the Queer Cultural Center and co-founder of Queer Conversations on Culture and the Arts. She will discuss performing queer failure in Memoirs of a Björk-Geisha and Looking for Jiro, two works interrogating art world orientalism and Japanese American incarceration through musical mash-up drag performance. While Björk-Geisha performs chopstick harakiri in protest of Matthew Barney’s and Björk’s artistic forays in Japan, Jiro confronts forbidden homoerotic fantasy in the camp mess hall. Takemoto reflects on the psychic toll of embodying toxic stereotypes as well as the challenges of performing queer failure in alternative visions of Asian American history.

4/13 Sahar Amer, “LGBT People and the Arab Spring”

Sahar Amer is Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Sydney has published extensively on gender and sexuality in Arabic and French literature, on Franco-Arab and Arab-American postcolonial identities, and on Muslim women veiling practices. The main conceptual paradigm underlying her research is that “borders” (cultural, linguistic, historical, and geographic) are not elements of separation and division, but rather fluid spaces of cultural exchange, adaptation, and collaboration. Amer will discuss the impacts that the Arab Spring and subsequent events have had on LGBT people in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

4/20 Lani Ka’ahumanu, “Free Range Chickens and The Challenge to Hetero/Homosexual Assumptions”

Bisexual hapa feminist elder activist, author, poet, co-editor of the groundbreaking Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out, and co-founder and organizer of many bi organizations, Lani Ka’ahumanu has been called the strategic architect of the contemporary U.S. bisexual movement. Ka’ahumanu is currently working on her activist memoir My Grassroots Are Showing: Movement Stories, Speeches, & Segues. She is also editing a book of poetry, Primal Creams and Forbidden Dreams. In this talk, Ka’ahumanu will recount her evolution from 1960’s suburban housewife to marching with the lesbian mother’s contingent in the 1976 San Francisco Gay Pride March to founding BiPOL, the first bisexual feminist political organization, in 1983. Ka’ahumanu’s decades-long activist stories will highlight bisexual history leading to a 2012 invitation to the White House, where upon hearing President Obama say “Lesbian, Gay and Transgender” she shouted “and bisexual.” Fearless and funny, she will leave you with a better understanding of the “B” in LGBTQ.

4/27 Nan Alamilla Boyd, “Queer Tourism and Late Capitalism”

Nan Alamilla Boyd is Professor of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University where she teaches courses in queer and feminist theory, historical methodology, and urban studies. Her Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 (University of California Press, 2003), charts the rise of gay and lesbian politics in San Francisco, and with Horacio N. Roque Ramírez she co-edited Bodies of Evidence: the Practice of Queer Oral History (Oxford University Press, 2012). She is currently at work on a third book project on San Francisco tourism and gentrification. Her talk explores the transformation of San Francisco’s Castro district into a tourist destination. It traces some of the mechanisms neighborhood boosters mobilized in the Castro to claim/retain space and resources within the city. Tracing these mechanisms reveals the ways race and sex have been put to work in new and overlapping ways under late-capitalism in order to produce new capital.

The Spring 2015 Queer Studies Lecture Series is made possible through the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Queer Studies Minor, and the SSU Instructionally Related Activities Program.

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Sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Department (WGS)

with generous support from SSU’s Instructionally Related Activities Funds.