I presented a paper on ‘Decolonising Gender and Sexuality’. In the paper I considered how ‘coloniality’ (Maldonado-Torres, 2007, p.240) shapes our understandings of sexuality and gender, drawing on my PhD research with queer and trans people of colour (QTPOC) activists in the UK, to explore questions of decolonising gender and sexuality. I examined the historical colonial erasure of diverse sexual and gender expression within communities of colour alongside the continuing contemporary erasure of queerness and transness of colour in both mainstream LGBTQ and of colour communities. QTPOC groups facilitated spaces within which participants could negotiate questions of being and belonging at the intersections, reclaiming and reimagining queer and trans of colour histories as well as possible futures. In these spaces participants were able to make sense of coloniality and these intersections, sharing nuanced understandings of QTPOC identity, community and queer-, trans-phobia.
I was invited to be part of a roundtable discussion on queering learning and teaching as part of the Queering Academia event held at the University of Westminster on 21 and 22 June 2018. The roundtable also included Dibyesh Anand (University of Westminster), Raf Benato (City University London), and Avi Boukli (Open University). We asked to consider and respond to four questions:
Please introduce yourself and say something about the space(s) you occupy in learning and teaching.
In Cruising Utopia (2009) José Esteban Muñoz argues that ‘we may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality…. Queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing…. Queerness is essentially about the rejection of a here and now and an insistence on potentiality or concrete possibility for another world’. Thinking expansively about the horizon of queerness, what might queering learning and teaching entail?
If we think about queer as a social and political project, then we can’t think about it in isolation from other sites of oppression. How might we engage in questions of intersectionality when we are queering learning and teaching?
What might be practical strategies or methods for us to queer learning and teaching?
The recording of the roundtable can be found here: https://criticalpedagogiesproject.com/resources/
Join the UCL Gender and Feminism Research Network (GFRN) at the Institute of Advanced Studies for an evening salon of creativity, debate, performance and provocation. The GRFN invites you to contribute your ideas and imaginaries for new forms of popular feminism in everyday life.
Over recent decades the feminist movement has experienced a huge rise in popularity in the UK and beyond. People of all genders are claiming feminist identities and using feminism as a way to understand the worlds around them.
This event brings together activists, scholars and artists working to reimagine feminism in multiple forms for the here and now. What is popular about feminisms today? How are feminist ideas being mobilised as a response to the social and political inequalities of the twenty first century? How might feminist movements accommodate the needs of people of all genders who experience patriarchal oppression? And what are the benefits and complications of feminisms in the mainstream?
Hosted by Kate O’Donnell, a performer, writer, activist and artistic director of Trans Creative, we have invited six guests to speak from their personal and professional perspectives:
- Bridget Minamore is a writer from and based in south-east London.
- Sara Shahvisi is Director of Programmes at Fearless Futures. She is a former teacher in inner-city state schools with expertise lies on pedagogy, research, social policy and facilitation.
- R Justin Hunt is a producer, performer and lecturer whose work is oriented around and embedded within queer communities and cultures
- Dr Stephanie Davis is a scholar-activist, a queer Black troublemaker and a Psychology Lecturer at the University of East London.
- Travis Alabanza is a performance artist, theatre maker, poet and writer that works and survives in London.
- Sisters Uncut is a feminist group taking direct action for domestic violence services
I was invited by the University of Southern Maine's Women and Gender Studies department to the inaugural meeting of the Feminist Activists and Scholars of the North Atlantic (FASONA) network. I joined colleagues from across the North Atlantic to discuss the position of women, gender and feminist studies in the academy. We shared our research, ways of working in the academy and how we link them with our activist and community engagements. We discussed and planned ways in which to promote interdisciplinary, intersectional feminist scholarship, activism and collaboration. We are now currently developing the FASONA network.
I was invited to discuss a collaborative research project I am currently working on with Dr Rachel Liebert, UEL, and Dr Tehseen Noorani, Durham on Decolonising Dis-ease. This is a research project in it’s early stages in which we each explore our own experiences of chronic ill health and how these may be understood within histories of colonialism and slavery. We consider how decoloniality may be a mode of healing.
I was invited to present my paper ‘Queer and trans people of colour (QTPOC) activism in the UK’ at Gender in the Contemporary World Conference at Queen Mary, University of London. The abstract is below.
Over the last five years there has been an emergence of queer and trans people of colour activist groups and networks in the UK, operating in spaces distinct from mainstream lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) and of colour organisations. In this paper, drawing from interviews and focus groups undertaken with members of QTPOC groups as part of my PhD research, I consider the ways these groups and networks support the negotiation and affirmation of marginalised sexual, gender, racial identities. First, I discuss the experiences of exclusion and non-belonging participants experienced as racialised, gendered, sexualised Others within the post-colonial British context; and how QTPOC activist spaces provided possibilities for belonging. These were spaces in which to disidentify from white heteronormativity; of affirmation; and in which one could begin to decolonise gender and sexuality. Then, following Munoz’s (2007) work on ‘feeling brown’, I explore how participants could feel queerly raced together – that is, to feel collectively outside of normative modes of belonging, to feel loss and grief from histories of colonialism, slavery, and losses of the complexities of sexual and gender expression from within cultures of origin. Feeling queerly raced, I suggest, is an affect which is transmitted across QTPOC activists enabling recognition of each other and creating a space of belonging premised on shared experiences of non-belonging. I reflect on the fragility, joy and eroticism of this feeling and recognition, and consider the possibilities this creates for activist spaces.
Aks International Minorities Festival 22nd - 23rd July 2017
Aks Manchester will host a two-day festival with a rich and diverse programme, with a special focus on women of colour, the pre-colonial transgender communities of South Asia, the Black Lives Matter movement and queer people of faith. Tickets for the whole weekend are only £5.00. The festival is not for profit and is politically independent.
The festival takes place in collaboration with Superbia and Manchester Pride.
Event: Black Lives Matter Sunday 23rd July 2017 @ 02.30pm
Venue: 70 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 59H
Documentary: Tongues Untied
Director: Marlon T. Riggs, Duration: 55 min, Country: USA, Year: 1989, Language: English
Even after a quarter of a century, award winning director Marlon T. Riggs’ “Tongues Untied” is as relevant as ever. The seminal documentary on oppression and injustice towards black queers in the US, shown through poetry, personal testimonies, rap and performance arts (featuring poet Essex Hemphill and others), to describe the homophobia and racism that confront black men. The stories are fierce examples of racism: the man refused entry to a gay bar because of his color; the college student left bleeding on the sidewalk after a bashing; the loneliness and isolation of the drag queen.
Panel Discussion: ‘”Intersectional Movements: Black Queer Lives Matter”’
Guests: Chloe Cousins, Stephanie Davis and Khalil West
We are excited to bring together three important local voices for this panel. Chloe works with LGBTQI youth and coordinates Rainbow Noir, the Manchester-based social and peer support group for people of colour who identify as LGBTQI. Stephanie has a background in critical community psychology and a PhD examining the emergence of queer and trans people of colour (QTPOC) activist networks in the UK. Khalil is an American cultural activist and writer, who now calls Manchester his home. Together they will be discussing the points of contact between queer activism and the most important social justice movement of our time, ‘Black Lives Matter’, shedding light on how we can ensure that the lives of black queers are not left behind.