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Queer Theory Unit
Boy Erased is a memoir by Garrard Conley. Published in 2016 by Riverhead Books, it tells Conley’s story of confronting and accepting his sexuality and the conversion program his religious parents imposed upon him. The book has been well received and is due to release as a film in September 2018. Conley currently teaches English literature and is an active campaigner for LGBTQIA equality in Bulgaria. He’s also been published in major publications such as The Virginia Quarterly Review and The Common. Boy Erased is his debut novel.
Paris Is Buring
This legendary 1990 documentary chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, drag, gay and trans communities involved, with particular focus on powerful trans women like Venus Xtravaganza, Dorian Corey and Octavia St. Laurent. If you thought the queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race knew how to sashay down a runway, then you’re in for a treat. The film took years to make, and had to be edited down from 75 hours of footage, but it was so worth the effort as it provided an invaluable insight into a part of queer history that was rarely documented – but will now live on forever. Highlighting this fact, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” in 2016.
Chilean drama A Fantastic Woman won Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, and for good reason. The film follows young trans woman Marina – played expertly by Daniela Vega – who’s working as a singer and waitress in Santiago when her older boyfriend Orlando dies unexpectedly. The subsequent events highlighted the struggles of living as a trans woman in a conservative society, as Marina faces investigation from detectives, loses her home and pet dog, and faces transphobia and abuse from Orlando’s family. As well as receiving widespread acclaim, the film raised awareness of trans experiences and was utilised by LGBTQ activists in Chile to help push through a gender identity bill which the government eventually approved of in 2018, allowing trans people to update their name and gender identity on official documents.
Gender Your Guide
The days of two genders—male, female; boy, girl; blue, pink—are over, if they ever existed at all. Gender is now a global conversation, and one that is constantly evolving. More people than ever before are openly living their lives as transgender men or women, and many transgender people are coming out as neither men nor women, instead living outside of the binary. Gender is changing, and this change is gaining momentum.
A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. At once a vital portrait of contemporary African-American life and an intensely personal and poetic meditation on identity, family, friendship, and love, Moonlight is a groundbreaking piece of cinema that reverberates with deep compassion and universal truths. Anchored by extraordinary performances from a tremendous ensemble cast, Barry Jenkins’s staggering, singular vision is profoundly moving in its portrayal of the moments, people, and unknowable forces that shape our lives and make us who we are.
Beyond the Gender Binary
Need a quick read? In this installment, Beyond the Gender Binary, Alok Vaid-Menon challenges the world to see gender not in black and white, but in full color. Taking from their own experiences as a gender-nonconforming artist, they show us that gender is a malleable and creative form of expression. The only limit is your imagination.
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