This event is part of the 2014 Philly Queer Media series
When: Thursday March 20, 2014. 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Where: Temple University. 201 Annenberg Hall. Philadelphia, PA
Cost & audience: FREE! All ages, all are welcome
Che will screen their documentary film Kiyoshi Kuromiya: A Queer of Color and AIDS Activist Inspiration, which examines the life and work of Philadelphia AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya. Kuromiya’s voice of resistance was part of a collective cry vocalized by radical queer, trans, and gender variant people of color who battled imperialism, racism, the criminalization of HIV/AIDS, and the prison industrial complex from the 1960s into the 2000s.
Radical LGBTQ and gender-non-conforming people of color both resisted and were impacted by COINTELPRO, the war on the black liberation movement, the FBI surveillance of gay liberationist groups, the Reagan administration’s apathy towards AIDS, gay consumerism, and neoliberal market policies. Kuromiya was involved in and shaped by struggles against these violences. While queer histories have tended to focus on the gay liberationist period and treat the Stonewall rebellion as the inaugural act of this moment, there are few queer histories (and only one trans hirstory, written by Susan Stryker) which look backwards at the past from the vantage point of the present moment. How did we come to arrive at our present neoliberal sociopolitical moment, what Jasbir Puar calls “homonationalism” and what Lisa Duggan defines as “homonormativity” as seen through the privileging of military and marriage by LGBT organizations?
While many on the queer left have critiqued the limits of mainstream LGBT political horizons there have been few attempts to historicize and contextualize them. One of the goals of Che’s talk will be to show a queer history of the present. Kuromiya’s life also sheds new light on LGBT, civil rights, Black Power, New Left, queer, and AIDS activist social movements and history. Kuromiya’s story is a counter to the portrayals of the Civil Rights and Black Power movement history which overlook the role that queer and trans people of color played and it also expands the lens of mainstream LGBT history to show the role of AIDS activists of color and ACT UP Philadelphia as well as local acts of resistance such as the Dewey Cafe uprising which preceded Stonewall.
Che Gossett is a black gender queer and femme fabulous writer and activist. They are a contributor to Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (eds. Nat Smith and Eric Stanley) and The Transgender Studies Reader v. II (eds. Aren Azuira and Susan Stryker). This past summer they had the honor of being part of a phenomenal delegation of archivists and librarians to Palestine. They are currently working on a biography of queer Japanese American AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya.