Barnard and Columbia Trans Student & Faculty Mixer!

T(ea) Party Flyer

Trans T(ea) Party is a mixer organized and hosted by GendeRevolution and LGBTQ at Columbia for trans students and faculty, taking place in the Broadway Room in Lerner on Monday, February 13 beginning at 6pm. This event is for anyone affiliated with Barnard and/or Columbia University. Transgender and nonbinary students, faculty, staff, and alumni are all welcome.

The goal of this mixer is to provide a space for trans affiliates of B/C to network safely with one another across generations, departments, and experiences.

There will be delicious food and an exciting keynote speaker!

Please make sure to RSVP at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/transtparty
The RSVP is solely for a number estimate and will remain confidential.

Thank you and please consider attending!

For any questions, please email any of the following:
grboard@columbia.edu
cmw2206@columbia.edu
vag2135@tc.columbia.edu

Police Out of Pride

queer-liberation-no-police
Share this GIF: http://gph.is/28U3BeM

Police out of Pride, out of our lives & out of business now!
GIFS by Dean Spade + Hope Dector. Featuring art by Micah Bazant.

police-out-of-pride
Share this GIF: http://gph.is/28WOgLI

More on queer liberation and resistance to police & prisons:

Police + Prisons Don’t Keep Us Safe – We Keep Each Other Safe

Queer Liberation: No Prisons, No Borders

Dean Spade: History of Queers Against Police

What’s Next at BCRW, Plus Videos from our Events

A NOTE FROM OUR DIRECTOR:

Thank you to everyone who joined BCRW at our lectures and conversations, our salon, and the annual Scholar and Feminist Conference on feminist sustainabilities. Your thoughtful questions, insights, and contributions generated critical dialogues and planted seeds for ongoing work here at BCRW and beyond.

Though the semester has wound down, BCRW has several exciting projects underway this summer:

  • Launching the BCRW Activist Institute, a new iteration of BCRW’s scholar-activist collaborations.
  • A new partnership with artist Micah Bazant and #TransLiberationTuesday.
  • Organizing the second year of the Harlem Semester, a joint initiative of BCRW and the Department of Africana Studies.
  • Ongoing digitization of BCRW’s archives in collaboration with librarians in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections.
  • A forthcoming issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online on engagements with technoscience.

I hope you will read on to learn more about these projects and to watch recordings of the powerful events we hosted this past semester.

With appreciation,

Tina Campt
Director, Barnard Center for Research on Women


CENTER NEWS

PARTNERSHIPS

#TransLiberationTuesday

BCRW has partnered with artist Micah Bazant on #TransLiberationTuesday, a multimedia project dedicated to supporting, celebrating, and honoring trans people in life, not just in memoriam, focusing on the resilience and accomplishments of trans women, trans femmes, and trans people of color.

This week, #TransLiberationTuesday coordinated with Survived and Punished to support Ky Peterson, a black trans man who is currently incarcerated for defending himself against transphobic violence, and to demand his release.

Please join us by signing the petition demanding that Georgia Governor Nathan Deal exonerate Ky Peterson.

Ky Peterson

Isa Noyola Elle Hearns

 


JOURNAL ISSUE

THE SCHOLAR & FEMINIST ONLINE 13.2
Navigating Neoliberalism in the Academy, Nonprofits, and Beyond

This issue of The Scholar & Feminist Online uses the theoretical and historical models articulated by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence to critique the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) and later the academic industrial complex (AIC) to explore the non-profit and the university as two key sites in which neoliberal social and economic reforms are constituted and contested. This issue is edited by Soniya Munshi and Craig Willse. Contributors include Ujju Aggarwal, Gabriel Arkles, Maile Arvin, Myrl Beam, Avi Cummings, Treva Ellison, Pooja Gehi, Gillian Harkins, Priya Kandaswamy, Soo Ah Kwon, Colby Lenz, Edwin Mayorga, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Rori Rohlfs, Dean Spade, and Lee Ann S. Wang. In addition, the issue includes reprinted articles by Alisa Bierria, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Paul Kivel, Dylan Rodríguez, and Paula X. Rojas, fromThe Revolution Will Not be Funded, a crucial, currently out of print collection edited by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. This issue also includes videos produced by Dean Spade and Hope Dector, featuring interviews with activists and academics at the 2013 conference “Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues.”

Available free online at http://sfonline.barnard.edu.


CURRICULAR INITIATIVE

BCRW and Africana Studies Department Wrap the Inaugural Harlem Semester

Spring 2016 marked the inaugural launch of the Harlem Semester – an ambitious public humanities initiative that explores the myriad forms of black culture and politics emerging in and around Harlem. Organized by the Barnard Center for Research on Women and the Department of Africana Studies, the Harlem Semester pairs faculty research and instruction with venerated Harlem institutions to teach the neighborhood’s rich cultural and political legacy.

Learn more about the initiative, course offerings, and institutional partnerships by visiting http://bcrw.barnard.edu/publications/harlemsemester.

Harlem Semester

Image Credit: Harlem Semester course Performing Risk: James Baldwin’s Harlem with Professor Rich Blint


VIDEO

Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues

A collaboration with BCRW Activist Fellow Dean Spade

Queer Dreams Part 1: What are We Fighting For? from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues Part 2: How Do Rich People Control Our Movements? from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues Part 3: The Nonprofit Hamster Wheel from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues Part 4: Who’s in Charge? from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues Part 5: Basebuilding from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Queer Dreams and Nonprofit Blues Part 6: Where Do We Go From Here? from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.


 

VIDEO

SPRING 2016 EVENTS

 

Tina Campt – Welcoming Remarks at The Scholar & Feminist Conference 41: Sustainabilities from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Reina Gossett: Making a Way Out of No Way from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Queer Survival Economies: Invisible Lives, Targeted Bodies from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Sustaining Harlem: Art, Community Activism and Black Women’s Leadership from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Working at the Limits: State and Structural Violence from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Gloria Joseph and Naomi Jackson: Caribbean Feminisms on the Page from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

The Argonauts: A Salon in Honor of Maggie Nelson from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.


THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS

Argonauts Salon in Honor of Maggie Nelson

You are SO Brave: Disability Studies vs. Disability Justice at #SF41

“You are SO BRAVE” is a statement most disabled people are used to hearing. Able-bodied and able-minded people frequently infantilize our experiences and lives for their own inspiration fetishes. But you might be shocked to hear these words coming from the mouths of disabled people at a conference surrounding disability studies and scholarly work, what is seen by many, especially the attendees, as a vital part of the disability justice movement.

Last September, I went to pick up flyers for the conference “Keywords and Key Questions” from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender Studies at Columbia. As a disability justice activist, I was excited to hear about the conference, as disability rights advocacy has been taking a new turn on campus this year, with the production of V-Day’s show Respect(Ability), the formation of various student groups, and the sponsoring of Invisible Disabilities Awareness Week by Student Life. My excitement quickly diminished, however, seeing the list of speakers and realizing that there were two panelists of color, Sayantani DasGupta and Michael Ralph, out of 25 speakers. As a member and organizer at FIERCE, I have met countless queer and trans disabled people of color: Kay Ulanday Barrett, Mark Travis Rivera, and more.

The reality is that disability work, just like anti-racist work, just like the LGBTQIA+ movement, and just like feminist politics, many times fails to be intersectional. White supremacy has permeated movements so deeply that when people in those communities who also hold other marginalized identities, specifically people of color, speak out about the lack of intersectionality, they are patronized and patted on the head. Instead of incorporating the ideas of intersectional justice into the disability movement, academic scholars are too focused on defending their work and their fields.

Despite the fact that I saw few panelists of color on the posters, I decided to give the conference a chance. As a member of the Social Justice House who had started a project to confront the issue of disability injustice at Columbia, I was curious to see what the faculty of this university was doing to support disability rights on campus. Perhaps they would address the issue of so few academics of color in disability studies. Perhaps these academics were still allies of people of color and would create conversation around issues that exclusively impact us. Perhaps there would still be a large audience of color who would ask questions to specifically lead panelists in the direction of race and disability. Unfortunately, none of this was the case. The conference was no more than a circle of primarily white disability scholars blowing their own horns.

This work is not about you, white disability scholars, this is about us: the disabled people in your community who are not given a voice, not given representation, not allowed access to your spaces because: face it, academics is inaccessible. Yes. Your version of disability justice is INACCESSIBLE.

When over seventy percent of college graduates are white, your space becomes inaccessible to people of color, particularly Black people. People of color whose races impact how and if their disabilities are diagnosed, whose races impact their interactions with the police and criminal (in)justice system, whose races impact every aspect of their lives and experiences because we do not live one-dimensional lives. Disabled people of color are three-dimensional experiences. We cannot separate our brownness or Blackness from our disabilities any more than we can separate our spines from our backs. And yes, we do have spines. We are unafraid. We are unafraid to confront you if your disability work is not intersectional.

And we do not want to hear patronizing compliments on how speaking out is SO brave. People of color are not meek, we are not compliant, we are not silent. We are warriors who have been roaring for centuries and you have just begun to notice. We deserve a movement that is built around obtaining justice for all disabled people, not just disabled people who are cisgender, heterosexual/romantic, and white.

Our communities are building a movement for justice and healing that hold our queer, trans, low or no-income folks of color at the center. We are building for those of us whose disabilities impact our sexualities and intimacies. For rape survivors with PTSD who have the right to choose if they have sex and who they do or do not have sex with. For women of color with cerebral palsy. For those of us with chronic pain and social phobias who cannot leave our homes to spend time with our loved ones. We work for those of us who are trans, like me, who do not have access to medical transitioning because hormone replacement therapy can create complications for our pre-existing conditions. For transmasculine folks whose masculinities are denied because masculinity and disability are seen to be in conflict with each other. Disability is connoted with dependence and weakness whereas masculinity is associated with power and autonomy. For trans femme sex workers with AIDS who do not have access to treatment. We fight for those of us who are low or no-income who cannot afford the long and expensive process to become diagnosed and, without the ticket to ride that a diagnosis provides, are barred from disability services, benefits, or disability-specific healthcare. We are still equally as disabled because the medical-industrial complex does not have the right to tell us our pain and experiences are invalid. Disabled people with invisible disabilities, such as borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, autism, autoimmune disorders, and chronic pain, who are told their illnesses are not real because they do not present visibly, whose doctors refuse to diagnose them. Folks with invisible disabilities in unstable housing conditions who cannot disclose that they have disabilities because of the likelihood of being evicted. Disabled young people who are tracked and sidelined in special education, institutionalized in detention centers or psychiatric hospitals, or sedated with drugs. Or disabled young people who do not have the option of pursuing a diagnosis or treatment because of stigma within their families. Disabled people like me who did not see a single representation of themself in that room.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Fortunately, a few months later, the Scholar and Feminist Conference: Sustainabilities hosted a panel organized by our very own Che Gossett titled “Disability and Healing Justice: Making Our Lives Sustainable and Our Movements Livable.” This was the panel I had longed to see in October. Panelists Geleni Fontaine and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha reawakened my faith in the disability justice movement. Geleni Fontaine is an anti-violence, self-defense instructor creating a movement for women, survivors, and disabled folks through their work at the Center for Anti-Violence Education, as an RN, as a holistic healer, and as an acupuncturist. Leah Lakshmi, a mixed-race Romani, Irish, and Sri Lankan writer, is an incest and intimate personal violence survivor who self-identifies as “crazy, chronically ill, and disabled.” She attended NYU where she did HIV/AIDS work, but at 21 moved to Toronto because of her healthcare access needs. She was part of a “movement culture of entering movements to save our own lives,” and did work for Sins Invalid, an organization for disabled performance artists to create space for discussion on respectability and desirability politics.

Textbook image of drapetomaniaLike many other movements, the disability justice movement begins in Black liberation and Black studies and these scholars did not fail to touch upon that. Disability studies in this country begins with runaway slaves being diagnosed with drapetomania (“the disease causing [slaves] to run away”). The creator of the term “disability justice,” Leroy Moore, was a Black disabled man. Harriet Tubman was disabled with a traumatic brain injury and went on to save thousands of slaves. Our stories of disability are rooted in intersections of race, gender, class, religion, culture, and queerness. Disabled people are either seen as broken machines or as having perfectly-working bodies with broken minds. But disabled people are people with a culture, with history, with communities, and with organizations. Disabled people are resilient, and able-bodied people have a lot to learn from us. Our existence is resistance. Even we disabled people have a lot to learn from each other about solidarity because we all have different experiences. We are not a monolith.

Geleni and Leah touched on healing justice in the disability movement, quoting Cara Page: “If our movements themselves aren’t healing, there is no point to them.”

Pushing against the system means that power is shared. We must work to make systems accessible. The panelists shared their hopes for the future. A future where disabled people are believed, a future where disabled people are valuable, not a liability, and a future with a medical system that recognizes that we are intersectional beings. We must build communities of care and healing. We must make disability movements intersectional and accessible. We must create movements to save ourselves.

New Video Release: BCRW Activist Fellows on Queer and Trans Movement Visions and Legacies

As LGBTQTSGNCI History month draws to a close, BCRW is excited to share our newly released videos with Activist Fellows Reina Gossett, Dean Spade, and Amber Hollibaugh on challenges and strategies for transformative organizing in queer and trans movements.

Reina Gossett talks about learning and sharing histories of trans women of color, including  Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, and STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), as a strategy to transform and heal from historical isolation and erasure.

Amber Hollibaugh talks about a the importance of a liberation framework centering low-income people and people of color for LGBTQ organizing.

Dean Spade talks about the dramatic shifts in queer and trans movements over the last 50 years with the emergence in the 1990s of a highly visible and well-funded gay rights movement whose demand for inclusion in hate crime legislation and police protection goes against queer and trans community-based grassroots organizing to end police and state violence since the 1960s.

These videos are the product of interviews conducted by BCRW Creative Director Hope Dector and BCRW Activist Fellow Dean Spade at the 2013 conference Queer Dreams and Non-Profit Blues, co-convened by BCRW and the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School.

“I Use My Love to Guide Me”: Conversations on Prison Abolition, Love, and Safety

Over the last few months, BCRW Activist Fellow Reina Gossett has hosted several discussions around the topic of prison abolition, especially as it relates to vulnerable communities, specifically queer and trans people. To provide context, research assistant Carly Crane offered useful definitions of the prison-industrial complex and prison abolition, and compiled links to resources, key figures, and organizations working towards prison abolition.

This coming Monday, April 21st, at “I Use My Love to Guide Me”: Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Impossible Situations, Reina and fellow abolitionist Dean Spade will be joined by CeCe McDonald to share pieces of their previous conversation and engage with the questions and comments of community members.

Reina and Dean spoke with BCRW first in a series of videos on prison abolition and its importance to trans and gender-nonconforming folks, followed by an online Q&A in which they answered questions on topics including trans women’s representation in Orange is the New Black, what justice for Islan Nettles could look like without relying on the state, and how to address critiques of restorative justice programs. Below is the online conversation in full:

Last month, CeCe McDonald joined Dean and Reina to further discuss prison abolition, love, safety, and surviving – especially in what Reina terms the “impossible situations … the violence of poverty and transphobia” put people into: from attackers on the street to prison systems.
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Staking Our Claim: Writing Trans* Characters for the 21st Century

Before I attended Staking Our Claim: Trans Women’s Literature in the 21st Century, I was unsure of what to expect. The literature I’ve encountered that addresses trans* issues has been rare, and has almost always focused on the protagonist’s transition, as if the experience of being trans* starts soon before hormone therapy and reaches its conclusion at the end of a “successful” transition. The short stories the women at Staking Our Claim read from the new anthology, The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard, shattered these stereotypes of trans* literature with stories that were funny, poignant, and incredibly diverse. The event featured the writers Ryka Aoki, Red Durkin, Imogen Binnie, and Donna Ostrowsky; the four stories shared jumped from a farmer’s market in Hollywood, to a food-eating contest in the South, to a future Brooklyn, to a laboratory in 1922. And in all the stories, if any comments were made about the transitions of the trans* characters, they were never a central or pivotal point of the story.

Staking Our Claim: Trans Women’s Literature in the 21st Century from BCRW Videos on Vimeo.

Much of the discussion following the readings dealt with the very topic that was on my mind before I attended the event: what does trans* literature look like, what does it talk about, and where can it fit into a larger canon of well-written, impactful fiction? Every writer expressed their desire to create trans* characters whose lives were not just about transition, who were navigating life with trans* as just one of the identities they held. As much as memoirs—and other self-representations by trans* people—are important and still woefully rare, these authors seemed to stress a need for, and a desire to create, a different type of representation of trans* people. The authors expressed a desire to create stories that combated the unspoken notion that all literature is cis-literature unless it is a documentation of the struggles of a trans* person. Instead, the stories included a diverse cast of characters—some trans* and some not—and described an incredibly varied set of circumstances, challenges and experiences of the characters. In short, these writers showed that trans* characters can be incorporated into the plot of any story and bring a new perspective to the narrative, and that this iteration of trans* literature is one that does not fall into a strict and stereotype-based binary of trans* literature as transition memoir vs.  (cis) everything else.  It is therefore with good reason that Sarah Schulman called The Collection (available from Topside Press) a “ground-breaking anthology.”

Check out each author reading her story below.

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