Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lambda LitFest

I attended the main Lambda LitFest event on Saturday, for the Morning Plenary. Moderated by Cheryl Klein, the panel included Luis Alfaro, Zackary Drucker, Sarah Schulman, and Justin Torres. The panelists discussed LGBTQ visibility, intersectionality, and the challenges for LGBTQ writers and artists today. The discussion began with thoughts post-election, and the effects of this election on art. Sarah began the discussion by addressing the current tropes of LGBTQ visibility in television and film. The range of stories out there is limited and it has become quite the trend to use family as a lens of acceptability. Shows with LGBTQ themes and identities are overwhelmingly about family as opposed to the ways people are hurt by family, or hurt by current politics. Luis continued the conversation in saying that service work has been a medium for him to expand his lens and allow himself to continue to push back, and not get trapped into a limited story. Justin talked about how fiction builds other worlds, but should be used to create something challenging that forces people to imagine an alternative, and an alternative that is not necessarily utopia.

Zackary brought up the important point that the digital revolution was a sort of helping factor in this election. We no longer have conversations with strangers which arguably creates a sense of community and humanness among us. Had we not been so involved with our phones and the distorted reality that exists behind social media, would we have changed people’s voting choices? This brings us into the topic of troll culture and its impact on art and identity. How does one unapologetically be themselves without normalization, or bring themselves to the center once again? How did the troll grow to be in the center, after all? It seems as though when we seek empathy, this often times comes with the compromise of normalization and assimilation, and especially when working creatively, the question arises of how to balance the two. As Zackary ended, we could only hope to predict that a new counter culture will arise, and not digitally, but in the streets once again. As opposed to feeling assimilationist, perhaps navigate the politics of respectability by feeling like a spy that is infiltrating.

Excuse the not so great selfie oops. 

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