Border Crossings: Lewis & Clark’s annual Gender Studies Symposium

Today marks the beginning of liberal arts college Lewis & Clark’s 27th annual Gender Studies Symposium. This year’s theme, Border Crossings: Identities, Communities, Experiences, is a particularly relevant one to this blog, as I discuss interlocking oppressions often, while maintaining a pretty diverse collection of queer news and information.

Unfortunately, one of the workshops discussing the intersections of various queer identities and stereotypes, Are You In or Are You Out?: Defining Queer Communities, is happening right this very moment, but there are other LGBT focused events throughout the conference. Rounding out today:

2:15-3:15 P.M., Thayer, Templeton Center
Are Immigrants the New Gay? Making Connections Between Immigrant and LGBT Rights
Aubrey Harrison, Field Organizer, and Jessica Lee, Youth Organizer, Basic Rights Oregon

3:30-5:00, Council Chamber, Templeton Center
Featured Event: Publishing, Politics, and Popular Culture
A Conversation with Local Feminists
Andi Zeisler, co-founder and editorial director, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture
Maria Jett, managing editor, World Pulse
Amara Perez, program director, In Other Words Books and Resources, Portland’s non-profit feminist bookstore
Moderated by Daena Goldsmith, LC Associate Professor of Communication

Tomorrow’s keynote should also prove a complex mess of queering gender, semantics, and political identity. Judith Halberstam, author of Female Masculinities, and well-known gender theorist will give a lecture entitled “Pixarvolt”: Animating Revolution.

Judith Halberstam now teaches English and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California.

Her radical opinions often manage to incite intense discussion, even among those who might tend to agree with her philosophies. Last time I saw her speak was during a Queer Studies class at Smith College several years ago. She argued for “butch” as an umbrella term, superseding both queer and genderqueer monikers. Needless, to say, identifying trans members of the community were incensed.

Why Halberstam took a position that would seem to obviously anger her closest supporters wasn’t made clear by the explanations following her speech that day. But it does mean that she won’t back down from new and interesting theoretical approaches. That will make her a fascinating space of intersectionality herself, especially during the informal chat with her Friday morning. Now that’s some esoteric academia to take on!

Not to worry. The L&C knows that all work and no play make Jack a dull genderqueer and besides the art exhibit and film screenings that happen during the conference, Friday night ends with an evening of queer burlesque, cabaret and drag. Presented by San Francisco Gender Benders, including Kentucky Fried Woman, Chubb, Titland, Jay Walker & Delicio Del Toro, Nefarious Vulvaleen, Drew Montana and Corky St. Flair, Savory Sweet, Lance Armstar & Rick O’Shea, and Dirty. Followed by a dance party with local lesbian master-mixer DJ Beyonda.

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