Queer U 2018 Schedule – Revelry and Resistance

This year the theme is “Revelry and Resistance”. The current political climate demands renewed activist efforts, and it is in this moment that our presenting scholars will be sharing intellectual contributions at the forefront of the queer movement, from imagining queer futures, to exploring the spatialisation of experiences of queerness, to formulating queer pedagogies.

Schedule, Panels & Abstracts

11:00am – Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

11:15am Panel 1 –  Pushing back against the mainstream: the future is queer

A.J. Lowik, “QueerEdge: The development of an anti-assimilation politic and practice Queer Liberation”.

  • This presentation will explore the development of a Queer Liberation Theory (QLT), an anti-assimilationist politic and practice rooted in early gay liberation movements that counters the neoliberal mainstreaming of contemporary gay and lesbian politics. QLT is an anti-racist, anti-colonial, trans-inclusive theory that critiques the homonormative direction being taken by some facets of LGBT communities in their pursuit of legal recognition and acceptance. QLT acknowledges the shortcomings of identity politics, the complexities and intersections of queer and trans social positions, and the tensions that arise between queer liberationists and LGBT assimilationists. This theory reclaims ‘queer’ as a radical rejection of normativity in the name of progress, resurrects the principle of ‘liberation’ and focuses on research agendas which aim for social transformation, especially for the most marginalized members of queer and trans communities. QLT was developed in conversation with over forty activists, academics and artists as part of a community-based research study between York University and activist group Queer Ontario – I worked as the research assistant on the project, conducted nearly half of the interviews and was also the Secretary of Queer Ontario. This presentation will include a showing of the 3-minute trailer for QueerEdge: From Gay to Queer Liberation, a feature-length documentary that we produced using interview and archival footage concerned with exploring what QLT might look like, which is now being considered for screening by various film festivals.


Jasper Heaton, “Romantic Love : Injustice and Mystique”

  • In her book Epistemic Injustice (2007), Miranda Fricker introduces the notion of hermeneutical injustice: having a significant part of one’s experience obscured by structurally prejudiced hermeneutical resources, i.e. the collective conceptual tools we use to interpret our own and others’ experiences. Hermeneutical resources become structurally prejudiced when people in less powerful social groups wield insufficient influence over the creation of those resources; consequently, the tools and concepts needed to navigate their experiences don’t enter into collective conceptual resources, and individuals in those groups find themselves unable to render their experiences intelligible either to themselves or to others. Instead, interpretations of their experiences are biased by more hermeneutically powerful groups. In our paper we argue that the concept of romantic love presents an instance of hermeneutical injustice that marginalizes the experiences of queer individuals. Presently, romantic love presents a powerful conservative force upon society; romantic love is both presented as having a central role in normal life and tied to heteronormative and monogamous relationship structures. Romantic love plays a role in funnelling our feelings of care and passion into stable, marriage-based, ‘nuclear’, reproductive family units (Jenkins, 2017). This facilitates the propagation of legal and social biases against queer individuals and the romantic and sexual relationships they enter into. In this paper we outline the current dominant concept of romantic love and show how its interlocking cluster of normative assumptions marginalizes the experiences of people who enter into relationships that are non-heterosexual, non-monogamous, or not directed towards reproduction. We further argue that the tendency to connect our idea of romantic love with the notions of mystery, fate, and nature hides the mechanisms of enforcement of romantic love, and serves to obstruct questioning, resisting, and reformulating romantic love as a route towards social reform.


Andy Holmes, “Have Pride Parades Lost Their Political Touch? Black Lives Matter, Police, and Queer Politics”

  • Between 2016 and 2017, Black Lives Matter (BLM) Vancouver and Toronto were accused of “highjacking” the Pride parade for requesting police officers not to march in uniform. The controversy of whether or not police officers should be able to participate in the parade has sparked considerable tension within the queer community that requires us to ask crucial questions regarding inclusivity and queer politics. My paper presentation addresses this line of inquiry by asking if Pride parades have become de-politicized by resisting anti- racist activism. My paper presentation will provide a brief history of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 to better situate the contemporary politics of BLM in Pride parades. I will then provide four theories that explain why the request for police officers to not march in uniform is a valid request. The theories are as follows: Intersectionality theory by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Homonormativity theory by Lisa Duggan, Homonationalism theory by Jasbir Puar, and Post-Gay theory popularized by Amin Ghaziani.


12:05 am Panel 2 – Exploring how experiences are shaped by space

Luis Schmidt “Sexual Orientation and Participation in the Labour Force: Evidence from Chile and Uruguay”

  • Economic literature about sexual orientation has grown in the last twenty years, but research has mostly focused on western developed countries. To our knowledge, there are no studies about differences in labour participation between heterosexuals and LGBT people in Latin America. The last censuses in Uruguay (2011) and Chile (2012) allowed same-sex couples living together to report having a romantic relationship, explicitly differentiating them from straight couples and roommates in the survey, thus making it possible to study the topic.
    Chile and Uruguay are selected for this study not only because they both have data available on sexual orientation, but also because despite having the same economic development, they show considerably different levels of conservatism and attitudes towards sexual minorities. The aforementioned differences are reflected on the legal protection towards sexual minorities and women, and comparative surveys showing higher negative attitudes towards homosexuals in Chile than in Uruguay.
    We first deliver an account on family composition, mating patterns and educational levels of both the gay and straight population in Chile and Uruguay. Then, using a sample of the heads of the households and their partners, and a logit model, we measure the impact of sexual orientation on labor participation, juxtaposing individuals who are part of straight and same- sex couples. Furthermore, we also determine if this effect is different depending on gender.
    Among other results, we find that partnered gay men are up to 5.0 percentage points less likely to participate in the workforce compared to married straight men, whereas lesbians are up to 32.7 percentage points more likely to participate in the labor force compared to married straight women. Trends between the two countries similar, but the magnitude of the effect on
    participation differs significantly between them. Therefore, we conclude that conservatism arises as a possible explanation.


Ryan Stillwagon, “Queer Pop-ups”

  • Urban scholars claim gayborhoods are diminishing while queers assimilate into heterosexual spaces, effects they tie to the post-gay era (1998—current). The emergence of queer pop-ups poses a challenge to these assumptions. I analyze 21 interviews with queers in Vancouver, Canada and reveal queer place-making and safety is still bolshily sought after. I find pop-ups refresh ideas of radical self-expression, inclusion, and safety among marginalized queers excluded from gayborhoods. Pop-ups are organized through successive waves of queers leveraging their social capital to create temporary events. Pop-up cultural products range from inclusive and exclusive dance events, gender-exploration opportunities, elder-care and two-spirit representation, and spatial tactics to promote safety. Participants must be wary of negative social capital within pop-ups, often discernable through callout cultures surrounding events. My results show pop-ups confer safety and affirm sexual identity among queers and cautions against essentializing temporary spaces as a respite for oppressive stable ones.


12:35pm – 2:00pm  Lunch Break


2:00pm Teaching Queerness

Hector Gomez, “A Queer look: Performativity, Quality and Curriculum Studies”

  • In this paper, I intend to propose the use of performativity theory as a lens to explore the field of curriculum studies, specifically discourses on quality in the teacher education curriculum. According to Pinar (2004), curriculum is a complicated conversation which requires interdisciplinary intellectuality, erudition, and self-reflexivity. The categories, concepts and behaviours in our culture, as the theory of performativity suggests, operate as a result of a permanent repetition of what they imply in a specific practice. However, every discourse, even when it acquires intelligibility through this practice, is always open to failure and danger. From this perspective, I wish to contribute to the ongoing conversation of curriculum studies, suggesting that curriculum be thought of as performative.
    Judith Butler developed the concept of performativity through exploring how sex and gender are constituted “within the inherited discourse of the metaphysics of substance” she writes “gender proves to be performative – that is, constituting the identity it is purported to be” (1990, p. 24). These meanings pre-exist us. Born into them we learn how to move within them to “constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self” (1990, p. 140). As Sedgwick (2003) pointed out through cultural categories, based on repetition and exclusion, a certain type of subjectivity is produced. This subjectivity “offers a tangible sense of depth of the deep frustration and anger” whose consequence produces a “culture of performance anxiety” impacting specially “the ethical agency” of both teachers and teacher educators (Clarke & Phelan, 2017, p. 62). That is called by the authors a neo-liberal performativity’s assault of teachers’ capacity for exercising professional judgment that I intend to describe and reflect, through an exercise of policy archaeology using performative theory as main epistemological lens, which constitutes at the same time a queer look.


Mario Brondani, “Teaching Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Dental Education: A Multipurpose Method.”

  • Discussion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT..) issues, known as queer health, has fallen short in dental curricula. This paper aims to describe the didactic approach used to present issues of sexuality in the D.M.D. curriculum at the University of British Columbia. This descriptive paper discusses the main pedagogies employed to present and discuss LGBT/Queer issues: lecture-based seminars, guest panel discussion with members of the LGBT/queer community, poster discussion, and student reflections on the topic of sexuality. The approach to sexual diversity presented here does not profess to make an otherwise homophobic student, now LGBT-friendly, but it exposes all students to alternative views of sexuality, challenges their values and beliefs, and celebrates diversity. The methodology presented has had a positive impact upon students as illustrated by their reflections, but further discussion is needed to better understand the implications of LGBT/Queer issues in both academic and professional settings.


Olivia Fischer and Nazanin Moghadami, Safe Choices: Negotiating Separateness and Togetherness in Intimate Relationships Workshop

  • As part of Ending Violence Association of BC and funded by Vancouver Coastal Health, Safe Choices offers workshops that focus on improving the health and safety of LGBT2SQ folks. Our healthy relationship workshops provide information and skills that help members of the LGBT2SQ community make healthy and safer choices in their relationships. By focusing on healthy communication and problem-solving, self-assessment and empowerment, and information about community resources, LGBT2SQ folks are equipped to make healthier choices within their relationships.


3:30pm Keynote Address: Kyle Shaughnessy

“Decolonizing Gender & Sexuality in Queer Communities”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *