Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Volume 5, Issue 1
fall 2014
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editors, Linda Hase & Moe Gardner
Layout Design, Nick Appleby


by Greta LaFleur


This year, alongside Yale’s annual Trans*/Awareness week, Ron Gregg, Senior Lecturer and Programming Director of Film Studies, and I organized “Gender/Queer: A Film Series”.  The series is a five-event showcase of new work in video and photography. It showcases the politics and practices of representing contemporary and changing vibrant landscape of diverse cultures of gender noncomformity. The series is designed to foment and thicken conversation within the greater Yale community around gender identity and transgender politics, and to complement our fall and spring courses, “Gender and Transgender,” and “Queer Cinema,” respectively.

The first event, which took place on November 5, 2014, was a campus screening of Sam Feder’s 2014 documentary, Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger, a film focused on the life and work of legendary transgender writer, activist, and theorist, Kate Bornstein. The next event will be a screening of Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer’s Kumu Hina: A Hawaiian Model for Gender Diversity (2014), a portrait of Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu, a Hawai’ian community organizer, local politician, and self-identified mahu woman (a form of non-binary gender identity that exists in indigenous Hawai’ian traditions), whose work asks important questions about the troubling overlay that can exist between U.S. American transgender politics and U.S. American neo-imperialism. Hamer and Wilson’s film will be followed by a double feature of films by Pedro Almodovar: All About My Mother (1999) and The Skin I Live in (2011), in an effort to think about how we make meaning of bodies and specific bodily morphologies; these films represent mainstream fascination and concerns with the changeability and lack of integrity of bodies over time. The penultimate event will be a screening of Conrad Ventur’s Tribute to Mario Montez (2013). Featuring Mario Montez, whose drag persona and performance art appeared in and inspired a number of underground films (notably several of Andy Warhol’s works) before Montez’s death in 2013. Ventur’s film offers a way to think about queer gender before the predominance of “transgender” as an identity category. The series concludes with a return, of sorts, to Hawai’i, with a final presentation of new photography and video work by Joseph Maida, a New York-based artist and Yale graduate, who will be presenting and discussing New Natives, a project that considers the way that cultural and ethnic diversity create important plural iterations of gender noncomformity.

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