Travis Alabanza is a performer, writer and theatre maker. In the last two years they have been noted by numerous publications, such as Artsy, i-D and Mobo Awards, as one of the most prominent emerging queer artistic voices, and also listed in Out Magazine as an influential queer figure. In 2016/17 they became an artist in residence at the Tate workshop programme, starred in Scottee’s theatre production Putting Words In Your Mouth and the Royal Exchange show Jubilee, performed in venues such as the V&A, Tate, ICA, the Roundhouse and Barbican, and had their work featured in The Guardian, BBC, Huck Magazine and more.
Known for increasingly paving much of the UK conversation around trans politics, Alabanza has became a staple part of the London queer scene and further afield. Their debut poetry book Before I Step Outside [You Love Me] has been shipped to over 19 countries worldwide and was listed as one of the top trans literary books of 2017. Their interests and work surround their identity as a trans, black, gender non-conforming person.
Gender non-conformity: desire, jealousy and violence
Travis Alabanza will be talking about and discussing the gift of gender non conformity, how they found it, how they hold it, the dangers it posses – but also what the world can learn through it. It will be a mixture of performance and lecture.
Sebastian Cordoba (he)
Affiliations: De Montfort University
Social: @scordoban (Twitter)
Sebastian is a second-year PhD candidate in social psychology. Originally from Colombia, Sebastian has a BA in human development from California State University Long Beach and an MA in general psychology from City University of New York, where he taught and conducted research on sexuality and language. While based in psychology, Sebastian’s research is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing from sociology, linguistics, and sociolinguistics. His doctoral research focuses on identity and language usage among non-binary people in the UK.
Ynda Jas is a second-year PhD candidate in (socio)linguistics focusing on how people use their voices (the sounds of speech) to do meaningful things. They are particularly interested in how we use speech to convey parts of our identity (i.e. gender and/or sexuality) in context-dependent ways. They are also a careers professional at Queen Mary, a DJ crew member at Bar Wotever (a weekly trans/non-binary-led queer cabaret night at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern), founder of York LGBT History Month and part of Everyday Cissexism. Queer and genderqueer/non-binary polyamorous social justice advocate and occasional creative.
Articulating and navigating non-binary identity: insights from language
In this talk, we will outline our developing research findings and future research plans “with, on and for” non-binary people, including a reflection on our respective positionalities as gay/cis (Sebastian) and queer/non-binary (Ynda). We’ve each conducted over 20 semi-structured interviews which consider the articulation of non-binary gender identities through language and through discourse highlight issues relating to navigating the world.
Sebastian will discuss “moments, proximities, and realisations”, which for most of his participants enabled articulation of their gender through language. Sebastian adopts a framework in which identity is both static and fluid, and Ynda will propose a way of mapping individual experiences of gender that – whilst far from perfect – can capture such nuances. Sebastian’s interviews also revealed misgendering to be more painful when stemming from those close to you. Next steps are to create a large corpus of non-binary language, while Ynda will analyse their data for sociophonetic variation – including attention to contextual factors – and explore emergent themes from the discourse.
Elisa Passoni (she)
Affiliations: Queen Mary University of London
Elisa Passoni is an ESRC-funded (Advanced Quantitative Methods path) second-year PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. Her research looks at L1 attrition and L2 acquisition in Japanese-English late sequential bilinguals as an effect of gender. The variable investigated is pitch and her project will look at how individuals vary their performance in both languages to align and disalign with conventionalised linguistic expectations in different contexts. Elisa is also a joint Queen Mary Phonetics Lab assistant.
Broader research interests include: phonetics; sociophonetics; speech sciences; L1 attrition; L2 acquisition; indexicality; language and identity; gender studies; L2 teaching; statistics for social sciences.
‘I hate that way of talking’: bilingualism, pitch and gender
Different cultural and social norms influence the way people talk at a number of levels: from the words we choose to the sentence structure we use, to the sounds we produce while speaking. One characteristic of speech that has been shown to be influenced by socio-cultural factors (e.g. gender) is prosody, specifically pitch, i.e. how high and low your voice is when speaking. Monolingual speakers of any language are experts in navigating prosodic variation. But what about bilinguals? How do they acquire and use cultural-based prosodic variation in their two languages? This talk will focus on a small set of data drawn from a pilot experiment from my ongoing PhD research on Japanese-English bilinguals. My project aims to explore the effect of bilingualism on socially constrained attributes of pitch in male and female Japanese native speakers, who have acquired English as a second language (L2) after having fully acquired their first language (L1, i.e. Japanese).
Media and visual representation
Anaïs is a PhD student in Gender Studies and Minority Studies based at Åbo Akademi University in Finland. She is interested in contemporary colonial relations, race, sexuality, sexual violence and suicide. While her PhD is on mixed-race identity and decolonization in Kanaky Nouvelle Calédonie, she is also working on publishing her masters’ research on the connections between western representations of Tahitian women and western mermaid/merfolk culture. She is also currently working on developing a university course that critically explores white womanhood and white feminism using critical race studies, gender studies, sociological and social psychological perspectives. You can find a resource list (in both French and English) on the topic on her blog or on her Twitter.
South Sea mermaids: mythologies of mermaids and Tahitian women
Visual manifestations of Polynesia depict the region as ‘paradise’ and have been ripe with myths, particularly concerning Polynesian women. In this talk, I briefly explore western visual representations of Polynesian women (specifically from Tahiti) as well as mermaids through popular culture but also in the burgeoning mermaiding subculture that is observed in the west. I argue that similar visual narratives are used to represent mermaids and Tahitian women in that they both appeal to the heterosexist and colonial idea of the (hypersexual) ‘wild woman’. I then problematize the fact that while for (mostly white) western women mermaiding and mermaids are a way to fashion their identity that can be fun and/or empowering, Polynesian women, and Pacific islander women more generally, have little control over the way they are being represented globally.
Adrian is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. His current research focuses on the representations of female and male tennis players in the new media. He is also interested in the intersections of gender and other identities, and more broadly, the interplay between language and power relations in various contexts (especially sport and professional communication). For methodological frameworks, he is most passionate about mixed-methods approaches, particularly corpus-assisted (critical) discourse analysis.
Who is greater – Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic? Deciphering gendered discourses in sports media
Despite the increasing popularity of women’s sports, it has generally been found that female athletes receive less media coverage and are portrayed negatively with myriad gender-specific descriptors. Such biased representations warrant attention as they construct and reinforce traditional gender beliefs. This study compared the representations of female and male tennis players on the official site of the Australian Open 2015 and ESPN. A total of 357 articles and 333 photographs were analysed using content analysis and Fairclough’s (1992) model of Critical Discourse Analysis. The focus of this presentation concerns the depiction of the female and male champions – Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic. The findings suggested that gendered discourses were prevalent on both websites. While the male champion was represented as the ultimate role model who was better, stronger and unstoppable; the female champion was portrayed as a sentimental child and an object for male gaze.
Dr Kat Gupta is a non-binary, queer, feminist teaching fellow at the University of Sussex. They have a broad interest in using corpus linguistics and (critical) discourse analysis to examine socially constructed identities and the representation of marginalised groups. They have published on the representation of the British women’s suffrage movement in The Times newspaper and on the representation of transgender people in the press, and are currently investigating issues raised by working with a corpus of online erotica.
Response and responsibility: media transphobia in a post-Leveson context
In this paper I examine the media representation of two trans women, Lucy Meadows and Chelsea Manning, using approaches drawn from corpus linguistics and critical discourse analysis. Both women were widely reported in the UK mainstream press in 2013, a period coinciding with Part 1 of the Leveson Inquiry.
By examining transgender identities as constructed by the mainstream UK press, I am able to investigate issues of minority representation, press tactics of negative representation, and the interactions between press, public, reporters and reported. I demonstrate that mispronouning, while a key part of negative media portrayal used to dismiss trans peoples’ gender identities, can take more subtle forms than the reporter’s use of ‘inappropriate pronouns or placing the person’s identity in quotation marks to dismiss the veracity of the subject’s identity’ (Trans MediaWatch, 2011: 11). I offer a detailed examination of strategies accounting for the majority of male pronoun use: selective quotation of key interviewees, repetition and metacommentary.
Ed Zephyr is an actor of stage and screen, most recently performing in the critically acclaimed The Cluedo Club Killings at the Arcola Theatre as part of the Queer Collective/Creative Disruption. Ed sits on Equity’s LGBT+ Committee and is helping work towards better employment opportunities and conditions for trans and other groups; education and support to help all professionals work and work together to their full potential; and the broader aim of contributing to meaningful equality and diversity in the performance/entertainment/media industries, in a way that enhances the art and business for all involved. They are an advisor to award winning charity On Road Media’s flagship project All About Trans, which has facilitated positive developments in trans representation, training and education in the media over the last few years.
Issues and politics around gender in the media: perspectives from All About Trans, Equity and beyond
I will present and discuss the background of All About Trans; ideas in progress with Equity; issues and politics around gender in the media and for working professionals in these industries; intersections with research, education and social activism; plus the ongoing conversations and work to be done going forwards.
Activism online and offline
Lee-Anne Lawrance (they)
Affiliations: only-two comics / Goldsmiths, University of London / LGBTIQA+ Greens / Green Party of England and Wales Executive
Web/social: only-two (Tumblr/Patreon/Facebook) / @GreenLee_Anne (Twitter)
Lee-Anne has been creating comics and zines about being trans and non-binary since December 2016. They are a member of the Green Party of England and Wales where they sit on the executive as Internal Communications Coordinator in a three-way job share. They also serve as the Deputy Chair of the LGBTIQA+ Greens. Lee-Anne is studying an MA in Queer History at Goldsmiths, University of London.
only-two: transphobia/cissexism, comics and relatable content
In this presentation I discuss my semi-autobiographical web comic series only-two and informational ‘non-binary zine’. I consider the benefits and scope of self-publishing whilst being non-binary in 2018. What is the point in comics anyway? How can we tackle cissexism and transphobia? Is there value in relatable content? How does non-binary visibility manifest online and offline?
Mia is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. Mia’s PhD research explores the experiences of LGBT people in prisons. In October 2016, fed up of being misgendered on a daily basis, Mia set up a Twitter page to document everyday examples of cissexism – language and behaviours that reinforce binary understandings of gender, and gender essentialism.
Everyday Cissexism: harnessing the power of social media to highlight routine marginalisations and effect organisational change
In this talk, I provide an overview of the Twitter account ‘Everyday Cissexism’. Inspired by the highly successful Everyday Sexism Project, I created this page to document examples of cissexism and transphobia. It’s a space where people can share their frustration at having to hear “good morning ladies and gentlemen” on their daily commute, the irritation they feel when forced to choose between “male” and “female” on a form, or the anxiety they experience when having to decide between the men’s or women’s toilets. Working with a team of other non-binary and trans people, we publicise experiences of cissexism, encourage organisations to become more gender-inclusive, and mark occasions such as Transgender Day of Visibility and LGBT history month.
Dr Stephanie Davis is a scholar-activist, a queer Black troublemaker, and a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of East London. She has a specific interest in the intersections of race, gender and sexuality; critical community psychology; critical pedagogies and decolonising academia. She has previously worked in a community development and activist capacity on issues of sexual health with young people and Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and on issues facing her local community such as police harassment and gender and sexual diversity. In 2013, she co-founded Rainbow Noir, a social support and organising space for queer and trans people of colour (QTPOC) in Manchester. As an educator she is inspired by bell hooks’ ‘education as the practice of freedom’ and strives to create learning environments with her students that encourage openness, dialogue, debate, and critical thinking. As a scholar-activist she is excited by the possibilities of working both within academia and beyond its boundaries.
Queer and trans people of colour (QTPOC) activism in the UK
Over the last five years there has been an emergence of queer and trans people of colour activist groups and networks in the UK, operating in spaces distinct from mainstream lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) and of colour organisations. In this paper, drawing from interviews and focus groups undertaken with members of QTPOC groups as part of my PhD research, I consider the ways these groups and networks support the negotiation and affirmation of marginalised sexual, gender, racial identities. First, I discuss the experiences of exclusion and non-belonging participants experienced as racialised, gendered, sexualised Others within the post-colonial British context; and how QTPOC activist spaces provided possibilities for belonging. These were spaces in which to disidentify from white heteronormativity; of affirmation; and in which one could begin to decolonise gender and sexuality. Then, following Munoz’s (2007) work on ‘feeling brown’, I explore how participants could feel queerly raced together – that is, to feel collectively outside of normative modes of belonging, to feel loss and grief from histories of colonialism, slavery, and losses of the complexities of sexual and gender expression from within cultures of origin. Feeling queerly raced, I suggest, is an affect which is transmitted across QTPOC activists enabling recognition of each other and creating a space of belonging premised on shared experiences of non-belonging. I reflect on the fragility, joy and eroticism of this feeling and recognition, and consider the possibilities this creates for activist spaces.
Evangeline Tsao (she)
Affiliations: University of York
Social: @EvangelineTsao (Twitter)
Dr Evangeline Tsao is a feminist, an immigrant, and currently an associate lecturer in Women’s Studies and Sociology at the University of York. She has a wide range of interests including photography, language and architecture, which can possibly be summed up as ‘how cultural stories are being told in different ways’. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for gender and feminist theories first developed when she was an undergraduate student in Taiwan, as the field offered her a ‘new’, critical lens to interpret her everyday life as a woman in a Confucian patriarchal society. Her tendency to ‘overthink’ also became useful when she was pursuing a master’s, and later a PhD degree in Women’s Studies which developed her teaching and research interests in visual methodologies, theories of gender and sexuality, popular culture and representation, and critical pedagogy.
The fluidity of desire? Women’s auto-photographic representations of sexuality
What does ‘desire’ mean? How might women experience and negotiate their personal desire within varied social scenarios and cultural norms? In this presentation, I discuss the multiple meanings of desire emerging from women participants’ auto-photographic work – how self-identified women explore their ideas and tell stories of their sexuality through self-imaging and self-analysis. In particular, I focus on the ways women’s interpretation and embodied experience of desire are gendered, yet diverse and reshaped as they weave in different (sexual) scripts. I will examine this fluidity of desire drawing upon participants’ words and photographic representations as well as their reflection on the auto-photographic process.
Michelle Ross (she/they)
Michelle has been involved with sexual health, HIV and wellbeing since 1988. She is a psychotherapist. She began her training as a therapist in the 1980s. Michelle convened the trans awareness training within Terrence Higgins Trust in 2008 and she was the lead on developing the first UK sexual health, HIV and wellbeing booklet for trans women. She campaigns for trans and non-binary people’s inclusion in HIV prevention. She is an active member of Public Health England’s community advisory board on the PrEP impact trial. She works internationally representing cliniQ and is a member of the International Reference Group on Transgender Women and HIV/AIDS (IRGT). She is the convener of cliniQ’s series of conferences “Trans Health Matters”. Michelle is co-founder of cliniQ, Director of Holistic Wellbeing Services and leads on cliniQ’s training programme. cliniQ opened on 15 February 2012 and was the first holistic sexual health, HIV and wellbeing service in the UK founded by trans people for trans and non-binary people.
Trans folks’ inclusion in sexual health: a key population
Trans queer health in a binary system is a hidden population – without data we are invisible. An holistic approach to trans queer health plays a key part in reducing vulnerability to sexually-transmitted infection/HIV acquisition with improving mental health, self-esteem and wellbeing, and reducing isolation. Health services need to have an intersectional, trans-led, trans-competent approach to the care continuum and be able to manage risk factors holistically.
Francis Ray White (they)
Affiliations: University of Westminster / Gendered Intelligence
Dr Francis Ray White is a senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster. Their research and writing is in the area of gender studies and queer, transgender and fat embodiment, and they have over a decade’s experience of teaching gender to undergraduates. Outside academia Francis is a volunteer speaker for the organisation Gendered Intelligence and regularly delivers talks and workshops on trans and gender issues in educational and professional settings. Francis is non-binary.
Dr Kit Heyam is an academic researcher specialising in early modern sexuality and gender, and a freelance transgender awareness trainer. Focusing on higher education institutions and non-profit organisations, he has delivered trans awareness training across the UK, helping staff to build confidence and familiarity around trans issues by drawing on best practice guidance alongside his own experiences as a trans student and staff member. He is a former Lead Coordinator of the charity York LGBT History Month, and has appeared on BBC2 and various local stations in both an academic and an activist capacity.
Teaching gender: audiences, objectives and techniques
‘Teaching’ gender happens in countless ways across multiple contexts both inside and outside of traditional educational settings. Depending on whether that teaching takes place in the classroom or the lecture theatre, when talking to the media or engaging in activism, or whether it is part of everyday discussions with doctors, colleagues, friends or family, having a clear idea of what we want to communicate, why, how, and to whom is central to how effective that teaching will be.
In this workshop we will ask what the objectives for communicating with different audiences might be, what unique challenges and variables each audience presents, what outcomes are desired, and what techniques can be used to achieve those outcomes. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss their experiences of teaching gender and share strategies and techniques for working in diverse settings.
Ben Vincent (they)
Affiliations: University of York / GIRES
Web/social: genderben.com (blog) / @genderben (twitter) / york.ac.uk/sociology/our-staff/academic/ben-vincent (work and contact details)
Dr Ben Vincent has a bachelor’s degree in Biological Natural Sciences specialising in Genetics (2006-2009), and an MPhil in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies (2010-2011), both from the University of Cambridge. Their PhD was titled ‘Non-Binary Gender Identity Negotiations: Interactions with Queer Communities and Medical Practice’ (2013-2016) at the University of Leeds. Ben is a member of the British Sociological Association (BSA), the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), and a trustee of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES). Their first book ‘Transgender Health: A Practical Guide to Treating Binary and Non-Binary Trans Patients’ will be published in 2018 with Jessica Kingsley.
Dr Meg-John Barker is the author of a number of popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including Queer: A Graphic History (with Julia Scheele), How To Understand Your Gender (with Alex Iantaffi), Enjoy Sex (How, When, and IF You Want To) (with Justin Hancock), Rewriting the Rules, The Psychology of Sex, and The Secrets of Enduring Love (with Jacqui Gabb). They have also written numerous books, articles, chapters, and reports for scholars and counsellors, drawing on their own research and therapeutic practice. In particular they have focused their academic-activist work on the topics of bisexuality, open non-monogamy, sadomasochism, non-binary gender, and Buddhist mindfulness. Barker is currently a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University. They co-founded the journal Psychology & Sexuality and the activist-research organisation BiUK, through which they published The Bisexuality Report. They have advised many organisations, therapeutic bodies, and governmental departments on matters relating to gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD). They are also involved in facilitating many public events on sexuality and relationships, including Sense about Sex and Critical Sexology. They blog and podcast about all these topics on the websites above.
What does gender mean in 2018?
In this session Ben Vincent and Meg-John Barker present their sense of gender in 2018, building on their joint chapter in Christine Burns’s new book Trans Britain. Meg-John will begin with reflections on the shift from the 2014 transgender tipping point to the trans moral panic of 2017, and will discuss the conversations they would like to see happening around gender moving forward. Ben will then grapple with two questions. Firstly, what are the implications and limitations of a trans/cis dichotomisation? Secondly, how can we conceptualise ‘cis behaviour’ through a trans lens? This draws attention to the power embedded in identity, and also the practices of those professional cis people who contribute to the construction and validation of trans knowledge which fails to trouble the discourses which brought them to and produced their positions.