TransWeek! 2012

TransWeek! 2012 “Organizing Against Transnormativity”

 Transnormativity is an insidious aspect of the increased visibility of trans* communities. The concept plays out in the lives of trans* people where all of us who identify as trans* are expected to narrate our identities along mainstream understandings. I’m sure you know the common narrative – from an early age we knew we were different, our bodies don’t match our minds, we want to transition to “the other” gender. These are all myths associated with a transnormative narrative, and they simply aren’t true. We are much more complex and nuanced and there are many ways that trans* people narrate our understandings of our identities. This year, TransWeek! takes aim at transnormativity through many opportunities to engage in dialogue – through workshops and performance art – around the systemic problems associated with this aspect of trans* communities and dominant rhetoric.

Schedule at a Glance:

Candlelight Vigil & Community Art Project
Friday, November 2nd 6:30-10pm
The UI LGBT Resource Center (125 Grand Avenue Ct)

Transnormativity Workshops Round 1
Saturday, November 3rd 1-5pm
1-3pm we will be in the Jefferson Building (129 E. Washington Street) in Room #704. From 3-5pm we will move to the Iowa City Public Library Room A (123 S. Linn St)

An Evening of Performances & open-mic
Saturday, November 3rd 8-11pm
Public Space One (129 E. Washington St. (in the basement))

Transnormativity Workshops Round 2
Sunday, November 4th 1-5pm
Women’s Resource & Action Center (130 N. Madison St.)

Community Potluck & TransWeek! Wrap-Up
Monday, November 5th 6-8pm
The UI LGBT Resource Center (125 Grand Avenue Ct)

check out the bios for the performers and workshop facilitators here.

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Detailed Schedule:

Candlelight Vigil & Community Art Project
Friday, November 2nd 6:30-10pm
The UI LGBT Resource Center (125 Grand Avenue Ct)

In observation of Transgender Day of Remembrance, the evening will begin with readings and a candlelight vigil to honor trans-identified people who have experienced hate crimes. Participants are asked to conduct research on one trans* person affected by violence and to bring that story to share. After the vigil, everyone is invited to end the evening on a note of hope through creating a community art project oriented around addressing transnormativity. We celebrate any medium that you want to work within and will have some supplies available for your use. This is a community building project and hope that ALL folks will feel welcome and supported in pitching in. This event is a part of TransWeek, a week of events celebrating trans-identified people and gender variance and hosted by the student and community group, TransCollaborations.

Transnormativity Workshops Round 1
Saturday, November 3rd 1-5pm

1-3pm: The first workshop will be in Room #704 of the Jefferson Building (129 E. Washington St)

3-5pm: The second workshop will be in the Iowa City Public Library (123 S. Linn St)

Two workshops will be offered during round 1:

  1. 1-3pm: Lucy Homan, a non-binary femme and community organizer from West Virginia, will conduct a workshop on the politics of including non-binary identified people under the catch-all transgender “umbrella.”
  2. 3-5pm: ellie navidson, a radical tranny faggot and community organizer from Chicago, will conduct a workshop on transnormativity. Transnormativity is intended to be an exploration of archetypal trans* narratives. Although trans* experience is more varied than the number of folks who use the term, the stories and ideas that are accepted within mainstream culture are incredibly narrow. In this workshop ellie navidson will lead a discussion on what these transnormative narratives are, how they operate to limit and oppress us, and puts forward ideas on how we can work to not only live beyond those narratives but to create possibilities for transcending these limiting terms.

An Evening of Performances & open-mic
Saturday, November 3rd 8-11pm
Public Space One (129 E. Washington St. (in the basement))

We are excited to host an evening of performances by fabulous and fierce performers. Torrin Cormac, a fixture in both the Indianapolis trans and slam poetry community will kick off the event with poetry. Elliott Ryker Jensen, a local performance artist and community organizer, will follow with a new performance piece. Other performances by Red Durkin and ellie june navidson are included in this evening, with additional pieces by community members who are invited to the mic to share their work.

Transnormativity Workshops Round 2
Sunday, November 4th 1-5pm
Women’s Resource & Action Center (130 N. Madison St.)

Two workshops will be offered during round 2:

  1. Red Durkin, a fierce writer, comedian, and vlogger, she has toured extensively as part of the Tranny Roadshow and is the managing editor of PrettyQueer.com, will host a workshop on media representations of trans* people and unpack assumptions and political implications of the transnormative narrative constructed through the media.
  2. ellie june navidson, a radical tranny faggot and community organizer from Chicago, will conduct an interactive workshop on zine-making that will be printed and distributed throughout Iowa City.

Community Potluck & TransWeek! Wrap-Up
Monday, November 5th 6-8pm
The UI LGBT Resource Center (125 Grand Avenue Ct)

After a long and intensive weekend of fierce politics, laughter, sorrow, and joy we are inviting folks to come together to share a meal and reflect on TransWeek! Programs. What have you been carrying with you over the course of the week, what questions remain, and where do we go from here? Bring a dish to share and your stories from TransWeek! 2012.

TransWeek! 2012 was made possible by the generous support from: Center for Student Involvement and Leadership; Executive Council of Graduate & Professional Students; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allied Union; The Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies; UI LGBT Resource Center; UI Center for Human Rights; University of Iowa Student Government; Women’s Resource & Action Center

A Call for Solidarity with Iowa City Trans* Communities and Concerns with Media Coverage during TransWeek!:

Over the last several years, many of us in the Iowa City trans* community have agreed to participate in interviews with local newspapers. Sometimes, every once in a very infrequent while, a journalist does it right, does their homework, and follows journalistic integrity practices for their discipline (as outlined in the Associated Press stylebook). However, we have found that usually our pronouns are not respected, our names have been distorted, or that the journalist simplifies our identities down to a simplistic and transnormative narrative, even when we take the time to explain that we might not fall into that medicalized discourse (i.e. born in the wrong body, etc).

Our Request of You
We ask that if the Daily Iowan (and this only applies to the Daily Iowan) contacts you to comment on TransWeek! that you reply with the following statement. Additionally, if a reporter from the Daily Iowan asks for a quote during a TransWeek event, please also consider not engaging and mentioning something like what appears below:

I am not able to grant you an interview on TransWeek! events for this year. While I appreciate the DI attempting to cover social justice issues, as they are vital to creating an affirming and safe place for all people – trans-identified folk included – on this campus and in our Iowa City community, it has been brought to my attention that your news organization does not honor the Associated Press’ guidelines on how to work with and report on transgender populations. Recently a trans-identified person requested that their birth assigned name be removed from an on-line story, from the DI, for privacy and safety reasons and that request was denied. Therefore, in solidarity with trans* communities in Iowa City, I cannot consent to an interview until you change your policies. A blanket policy on not changing or updating stories might be “equal” in that it is applied to everyone. However, equality is not the same as equity. Trans* populations have specific concerns and needs that cisgender populations may or may not have to negotiate with media sources.

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