Transformation of Queer activism central to this year’s Sager Symposium

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

This year’s Sager Symposium, co-chaired by Kative Van Winkle ’07 and Matthew Armstead ’08, is a wide lineup of events organized around the central theme of “The Norming and Transforming of Queer Activism.” Beginning this Friday with events continuing through Saturday, March 31, the symposium will explore the possible avenues of activism that the queer community should take in the future.

Lectures include topics such as Sexual Freedom, “Queer Worldmaking,” dance, and building queer and trans movements. Films such as the documentary “No!” and the Queer/Violence travelin film series will be screened this Friday and Sunday March 25th respectively. On the 31st there will be a traveling cabaret, “Mangoes with Chili” performing in Lang and this Friday the Drag King group “The Diablos” will be performing and giving a workshop (which starts at 4:30 in LPAC).

Katie Van Winkle notes that she hopes to see people use the workshop ideas when planning a costume for the Sager Genderfuck party “Seven Deadly Sins.” She explains, “We’d like to encourage creative, sensual play that doesn’t have to rely solely on lingeries and nudity.”

In addition to events organized by the committee, the Kitao Gallery will be holding a show of student work “Love, Sex, and Everything in-between” on Thursday, 22, from 4:30-6:30 and Friday, 23, 2-4 and SWIL will be screening “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at midnight on the 23 in Sci 101.

Co-chair Matthew Armstead explains the importance of the symposium as an opportunity for greater discussion for the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities on campus. “The fund has also historically served as a reunion for many queer and queer-ally alums,” notes Armstead. The spirit of celebrating Queer culture is also important, he adds. “I believe it can most strongly be seen in the Diablos performance and the annual dinner.”

The Sager symposium is funded by the Sager Fund, established by alum Richard Sager ’73 and designed to support events concerning the queer community. Discussions are currently underway regarding how to expand the Fund’s uses on campus. “Tentative suggestions range from establishing a concentration in Gender and Sexuality, to funding faculty-student research projects, to bringing distinguished scholars to teach Swarthmore courses. The discussion will be continued this weekend with Richard Sager,” explain Van Winkle, adding that any who would like to contribute ideas should e-mail sager[at]

A complete list of events and more information on the Symposium and Sager Fund can be found by clicking the Sager Symposium link on Swarthmore’s Student dashboard.

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