Queer Issues Symposium Begins on Campus

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.

On Wednesday, the annual Queer Issues Symposium began with a lecture by William Leap on balancing anthropological studies and social justice work. This year’s Symposium, themed, “Oh, the Places You’ll Queer: The Impact of Place on Queer Movement Building,” will feature speakers such as Dean Spade and Andrea Ritchie along with workshops and a video performance.

The theme of this year’s Symposium focuses on the experience of being queer in a variety of environments. According to Lang Haynes ‘12, a member of the Queer Issues Symposium planning committee, after selecting a group of speakers and events, they “saw that we wanted to address how queerness is lived and experienced in various places.”

On Saturday, Paulina Hernandez will lead a workshop titled, “Land, Memory, and Desire: A Southern Love Story.” The workshop will describe the work done by Southerners on New Ground (SONG), an organization promoting intercultural dialogue. “[SONG] seems to be an awesome model for place-specific intersectional activism,” Haynes said.

A panel on “organizing against state violence” will also be held on Saturday. The panel, featuring Dean Spade, Andrea Ritchie, and Marcellite Failla, “will help us to be critical in ways that we conceptualize activism and organizing,” said Erika Slaymaker ’11, another member of the Queer Issues Symposium planning committee. Slaymaker also hopes that the panel will incite discussion on campus about state violence and other related issues.

This year marks the first Queer Issues Symposium that was not funded in part by the Sager Fund which has historically provided just under half of the money needed for the Symposium’s events. (To read more about the restructuring of the Sager Fund, click here.)

According to Maria Kelly ‘10, Queer Issues Symposium co-chair, the gap in funding was filled by the sponsorship of various campus groups, such as the Intercultural Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Black Cultural Center, the Office of Gender Education, the Forum for Free Speech, and various academic departments within the college.

For more information on the event, see the Queer Issues Symposium’s website.

Schedule of Events:


4:30PM – 6:00PM: Workshop with Andrea Ritchie in Hicks Mural Room 312

7:00PM – 8:30PM: Lecture by Dean Spade in Parrish 287 (Admission Commons)

9:00PM – 10:30PM: Video performance and Skype conversation with Sins Invalid in LPAC Cinema


11AM: Symposium Brunch in Science Center 199, Cunniff Hall

11:30AM: Two Spirit People Then and Now – Sex Gender and Sexuality in Historical and Contemporary Native America, Presentation by Harlan Pruden of the North East Two Spirit Society in Science Center 199, Cunniff Hall

1:30PM: Land, Memory & Desire: a southern love story – a workshop led by Paulina Hernandez in Science Center 181

3:30PM: Queer Justice, Not Criminal Justice: Community Organizing against State Violence – a panel featuring Dean Spade, Andrea Ritchie, and Marcellite Failla in Kohlberg, Scheuer Room

6:30PM: Culminating Discussion and Banquet with Marcellite Failla and Ejeris Dixon of the Audre Lorde Project’s Safe OUTside the System Collective: Reclaiming Safety: How LGBTSTGNC people of color communities are challenging the mainstream anti-violence agenda in Kohlberg, Scheuer Room

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