This weekend I’m going to be sitting on a panel at the New Fest, the big queer film festival here in NYC. The details:
Masculinity In The Lesbian Community
1pm on June 11, 2006
The New Yorker Hotel
481 Eighth Avenue (at 34th St.)
Grammercy Park Suite
As seen in NewFest 2006 films like Boy I Am and Gender Rebel, there’s a lot to say about FTMs and genderqueer people and how they do and don’t fit into the larger lesbian community. With such diversity now present, is it still the lesbian community? Filmmakers Sam Feder and Elaine Epstein and activists continue the dialogue.
I’m one of the aforementioned activists, along with my friend Naomi; we’re both coming as representatives, so to speak, of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, though we won’t really be talking about SRLP’s work and therefore won’t be speaking as official representatives of what SRLP’s official positions on these issues are.
Note that the premise of the whole panel is a bit weird and is reflective of a problematic trend in “lesbian” communities to focus on the presence of trans men and female-assigned genderqueers and generally ignore the issues and presence (or lack thereof) of trans women in the community. It’s also a bit odd that we’ve gotten to this point where the synopsis of a panel entitled “Masculinity in the Lesbian Community” (and, at one point in the NewFest guide, is even simply called “Lesbian Masculinity”) includes nary a mention of butches, studs, AGs, and other masculine folks who have traditionally been a part of the lesbian community.
I, myself, tend not to identify as a lesbian anymore; my sexuality is queer, though I still do identify with lesbian community and culture, if that makes sense. And I certainly wouldn’t say I belong to a lesbian community, given the wide range of genders and sexualities in the communities of which I’m a part. But the question, “is it still the lesbian community?” is an odd one. It all depends on what you mean by community – is it just a general term applied to all people who share an identity, or is community an actual, localized social group of people who know and support each other? I’ll be speaking to these points and more on the panel. I’ll let y’all know how it goes.