The LGBTQIA student group at University of Michigan School of Information

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Welcome your 2014-15 Officers!

Congratulations to the newly elected officers for Information Across the Spectrum in 2014-15 year:

Chair: Jean Hardy

Communications Officer: Jennifer Brown

Logistics Officer: Sloka Krishnan

As we begin the transition process you will learn more about your new LGBT overlords ūüôā Watch for updates to the social media sites for more information.

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Digital Environments Workshop – Working the Fractures: How Trans Women are Changing Digital Play.

Submitted by Jean Hardy

On Friday, March 14th, the Digital Environments Workshop brought in merritt kopas to host a morning workshop and afternoon talk on trans women and video games, called “Working the Fractures: How Trans Women are Changing Digital Play.” merritt is a self-described “multimedia artist & game designer interested in play as a utopian project that contains a critique of the present and the seeds of potential futures” (from http://mkopas.net/about/).

The morning workshop was designed around four articles written by trans women game designers. The themes that emerged from the readings spoke to the kinds of experiences and desires that emerge from individual experiences that influence the ways in which people (and specifically trans women) navigate digital play. You can read all four articles and access the list of eight games that we were asked to play before the workshop as well at http://digitalenvironmentsworkshop.wordpress.com/readings-2/.

One reading I found especially helpful in thinking about transness, gender identity, and digital play was Samantha Allen’s “TransMovement: Freedom and Constraint in Queer and Open World Games.” Allen’s article contrasts the distinct ways in which games present access and constraint within their digital worlds. Specifically, she uses the seemingly limitless possibilities of exploration in a game such as Skyrim to contrast the extreme constraints that players face in Anna Anthropy’s dys4ia and merritt kopas’s Lim. Allen says: “These games, perhaps unsurprisingly, hit especially close to home for me. They dramatize my own experience, yes, but they are also compelling interactive tools for educating others about some of the issues I face as a transwoman. Simply put, I can’t ‘go anywhere’ and ‘do anything.’ Bathrooms, airports, locker rooms are all spaces that are either difficult or impossible for me to navigate…By constricting the movement and agency of the player, then, dys4ia and Lim reflect my own experience while also giving others a taste of what it might be like to tromp around in my high-heeled boots.”

Later in the afternoon, merritt gave a talk in Space 2435 of North Quad. The talk focused more broadly on the recent explosion of indie digital games being created by trans women. These games (and other creative independent outlets kopas notes, such as Topside Press) have offered an outlet for trans women to explore their own identities in ways that they are not allowed in many other spaces where they are expected to educate others on their transness. I encourage folks to follow the link above to the articles and games above and check it out for themselves.

Academic Year 2014-2015 Officer Nominations

We are currently accepting nominations for next year’s officers. Please complete the form below if you would like to nominate yourself or another member. Nominations will be accepted through March 17, 2014.

Trans* Day of Remembrance

Transgender_Day_Remembrance2-2
Information Fighting Intolerance
November 20, 2013
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Space 2435 North Quad
#TAW13

 

Information Across the Spectrum is hosting this event sponsored by North Quad Programming and Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Open to the public, the event will include a light lunch, movie screenings and a guest speaker from the Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities. A variety of memorial activities will be available including a quiet room, scrapbook, memorial wall and scrolling names of people who have been killed or committed suicide due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. This event has been officially recognized by International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

 

Movie Screenings will include:

 

Photos of Angie “This moving and powerful documentary chronicles the life and murder of Angie Zapata – a transgender teen who was murdered in rural Colorado in 2008. The film includes extensive interviews with her family about her journey of self-discovery, transgender lives across the globe, hate crimes legislation, and the mysterious nature of her killer – all against the backdrop of his trial.” (55 min)

 

Changing House “Rusty and Chelsea are a transgender lesbian couple who devoted fifteen years to making their Brooklyn home a communal living space for transgender women in need. Their house served a vital and unique community role with its doors always open to newcomers. A crossroads for transgender civil rights organizers, it became home to Stonewall legend Sylvia Rivera in the last years of her life. The couple’s dream of a commune quickly met a complicated reality as it became unmanageable. Social workers referred more young transgender women to Rusty and Chelsea than they could accommodate and eventually, the self-made family lost their “Ma” Sylvia. In this intimate film, Rusty, Chelsea and long-time resident Cellia commemorate the house’s rich activist history, reflect on the joys and challenges of communal living and discuss the continuing struggle of the transgender community with discrimination and homelessness.” (18 min)

Kick Off Meeting

We are starting the new year off with a full agenda.  Please join us!

September 23, 2013 4-5 p.m. in room 1255 of North Quad will be our kick off meeting.  Agenda items will include:

  • Constitution review and ratification
  • Results of officer elections
  • Nominations and voting for events in the Fall semester
There are classes in that room directly before and after our meeting, so please be ready to discuss these items quickly and efficiently.
 
Communications and Logistics Officers Nominations are now being accepted.¬† Please fill out this very short form (https://docs.google.com/a/umich.edu/forms/d/1lBMboi-ZDbWYYbbNRlc_mkE-bcrq6tQcroA_eqd5KEg/viewform) to nominate yourself or others for these positions.¬† Position descriptions are in the constitution, on the website, and available on the form itself.¬† If you volunteer or accept a nomination, please prepare one paragraph describing why you want to be an officer (keep it short and sweet).¬† These will be available on the election ballot you’ll receive next week.

One of the goals of this organization is to teach leaders, so if you feel that officership may be too much for you, please consider chairing or volunteering for an event committee.  Committees will be determined at the first meeting.  Some important dates to keep in mind for possible event suggestions this fall include:

  • October is LGBT history month
  • National Coming Out Day, October 12
  • National Ally Week, October 21-25
  • Intersex Awareness Day, October 26
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20
  • World AIDS Day, December 1

Start thinking about events in which you would most like to participate and bring all of your great ideas to our first meeting!

Chris

A New Year, A New Name

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer. ¬†Now it’s time to get back to work at UMSI. ¬†This year, in an attempt to update the branding of our group and encourage participation from all specializations, the group formerly known as Lavendar Information and Library Association (LILA) is now, Information Across the Spectrum (IAS). ¬†I’m very excited for the opportunity to lead the group in a new direction and increase the membership.

Our mission is to explore strange new worlds… Well, not exactly, but as part of the re-invention of LILA, I am working on a constitution for the group. ¬†This is required in order to become a recognized student group. ¬†Once we are officially recognized, then we are eligible for seed money to cover costs of events or seed fundraisers. ¬†If you have any suggestions for the direction of the group, please feel free to share them in the comments. ¬†The constitution will be open for comments and updates during the fall semester. ¬†Keep an eye on the Constitution page of this site for a completed document by the end of August.

One goal for this year is to identify and nurture partnerships with other LGBTQIA graduate student groups on campus.  I have added them to the Blogroll that you can see in the right hand side bar.  Our brethren include Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM), Outlaws, the Law School group, OutMD, the Medical School group, and Ross Out For Business (Ross OFB) the b-school group.  If you have contacts in any of these groups, please let them know we would love to partner with them.

I hope we are able to collaborate within UMSI as well as in the greater framework of the university and community to talk about issues involving Information Science and LGBTQIA awareness this year.  Let me know what you think about our redesign and come visit us during the Ice Cream Social at the UMSI orientation on August 29, 2013.