The LGBTQIA student group at University of Michigan School of Information

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 🙂 Watch for updates to the social media sites for more information.

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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.

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.

If you were following our social media, or on our email list, you likely saw the news that IAS was participating at QuasiCon. A group of 4 officers and members presented on a range of topics about LGBTQ perspectives in libraries. Below is the slide show we shared. Feel free to talk to any of us for more information!

The “Information Fighting Intolerance” Transgender Day of Remembrance Event went very well. The planning committee (Meg Morrissey, Ashley Walker, Shelby Strommer, and Chris Bulin) did a great job of setting up the event and making sure it went smoothly. Below you will find some pictures of the event as well as the memorial slide deck. More pictures are available on our Facebook Page. Our speaker is editing a video of her talk and that will be embedded at a later date. Thank you to everyone that participated and supported this event!

Displays carried our Memorial slide deck as well as tweets from the hashtags #TAW13 #Trans #TDOR

Displays carried our Memorial slide deck as well as tweets from the hashtags #TAW13 #Trans #TDOR

We had a crowded screening room for the movie Photos of Angie which was live blogged by Patricia Anderson.

We had a crowded screening room for the movie Photos of Angie which was live blogged by Patricia Anderson.

Participants were encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings on a white board in the main room.

Participants were encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings on a white board in the main room.

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)