Your Guide to LGBT History Month at YSJU: Events and Activities

Founded in 1994, LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of gay and related civil rights movements. LGBT History Month 2019 will be marked at YSJU by a wide range of events. Details below!

Noé et l’arc en ciel, by Mac Chagall (1963). Fair Use.

A Talk with Eden Ladley and Rob Noon (NUS Liberation Officers

5 February, 1-2.30pm YSJUS

Eden and Rob will be sharing stories from their own personal experience and, talk about the plans and projects they have for the upcoming months. If you would like to find a bit more about Eden and Rob and previous projects they have been a part of then click the link below

Book here! 

Lunch Poems

Monday 11 February, 12.30-2pm (Eagle and Child Pub)

Taking its name from gay New York poet Frank O’Hara’s celebrated collection ‘Lunch Poems’ (1964), academics and poets from York St John University will host a lunch time discussion and reading group of poetry on LGBT themes, over lunch. Poems will be circulated in advance to ticket holders, but you do not need any previous experience or knowledge of poetry to take part. Tickets are free, but do NOT include food. Please register to receive the poetry pack and menu in advance of the event.

The discussion will be led by Dr Rebecca Tamás (York Centre for Writing at York St John University) and Dr Adam Stock (Lecturer in English Literature at York St John University).

11th February 12.30pm-2pm, Eagle And Child Pub, Petergate

Book here! 

Trans and Non-Binary History and Acceptance with Kit Heyman

13th February 1-2.30pm, Students Union

Former co-ordinator of the York LGBT History Month, and experienced trans-awareness trainer, Kit will return to York St John to share stories of trans and non-binary history and acceptance. Kit identifies as a non-binary transgender man and co-ordinates the Rainbow Plaques project.

This event is free and is open to all. The talk will be 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute Q+A.

‘Decolonising Queerness’ with Ibtisan Ahmen (University of Nottingham): A School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy Research Seminar

Wednesday 20th February, 4-6pm (HG 139)

Queer identity has a long and complicated relationship with the rise and fall of colonialism. With an ideology that was aimed at creating a very narrow vision of what constituted an ideal and acceptable form of life, queer identities were suppressed, demonised and often criminalised, especially in the former British Empire. Paradoxically, this focus on defining queerness as an “other”, as opposed to it previously being an undefined way of existing, also meant that the modern history of queerness relies heavily on Eurocentric narratives of what it means to be part of a community which often leads to the erasure of non-white forms of knowledge. As such, this talk will explore two broad strands that link queerness with the ongoing decolonisation movement. The first strand explores the importance of actively decolonising queerness by including more identities under the umbrella, decriminalising same-gender relationships, and including voices from the global south in activism and decision-making. The second strand explores how centring and empowering queer communities is an active way of listening to voices in the margins, which is something decolonisation as a movement and a methodology needs to engage with in a more intersectional way. By looking at these two strands, I argue that there needs to be a more nuanced conversation around both queerness and decolonisation, and the ways in which commemorate such histories.

Language, Love and Social Justice, with Professor Helen Sauntson (Language and Linguistics)

Thursday 21st February (De Grey Lecture Theatre)

In this inaugural lecture, Prof Helen Sauntson explores some of the ways in which language and linguistic analysis is central to the project of social justice with a focus on LGBT+ perspectives. To do so, Helen draws on recent research on language and sexuality in schools and, the discursive construction of in/equalities in higher education contexts. Particular attention is paid to how silence can operate as a speech act which functions to marginalise and oppress LGBT+ (and other) identities in educational contexts. Linking to the ‘peace, reconciliation and activism’ theme of 2019 LGBT History Month, the lecture examines how and why there have been (and continue to be) peculiarly marked discursive silences around ‘love’, and other affectual processes, in relation to LGBT+ social justice research. Helen proposes that one way to contribute to a discursive shift towards greater social justice is to offer up linguistic alternatives which foreground love, ethics, humanitarianism and justice and, in so doing, construct new discursive realities not only for LGBT+ communities and allies but also for those who continue to oppose them. She exemplifies how this may be achieved by drawing from work in applied linguistics, including new and emerging sub-fields of applied linguistics which incorporate creative, cultural and performing arts. Finally, there is a consideration of how the lessons learnt from LGBT+ perspectives on language, love and in/equalities may inform wider social justice research not just in applied linguistics, but across disciplines.

LGBT History Month Book Display and Film Screening: ‘God’s Own Country’

Monday 25th February, 17.30-19.30 in Fountains Lecture Theatre (FT002)

To launch our LGBT History Month book display, ILE and English Literature will be holding a screening of ‘God’s Own Country’ (dir. Francis Lee, 2017), a queer romance between a young farmer and a Romanian migrant worker set on a struggling farm in rural Yorkshire. The film will be introduced by Saffron Vickers Walkling, Senior Lecturer in English Literature. The screening is free of charge to all staff and students – just provide your YSJ email address while booking your free ticket.

A Q&A with Poet Sophie Robinson

Wednesday 27 February, 6.30-8.30 in De Grey (Room 019)

Sophie Robinson lives in Norwich, where she is a Lecturer in Poetry at the University of East Anglia. Sophie is the author of A (Les Figues, 2009) and THE INSTITUTE OF OUR LOVE IN DISREPAIR (Bad Press, 2012). Her new book, Rabbit, came out in 2018 with Boiler House Press, as was a Poetry Book Society Winter Choice. The PBS described Rabbit as ‘The long-awaited third collection from one of the UK’s finest, most virtuosic of modern lyric poets. These poems take the reader on surprising journeys of healing, hard-won amid personal and social vicissitudes including triumph over addiction, and alcoholism — and open spaces in which to share in emotional and quasi-spiritual transcendence.’

This is bound to be a very special event, so do book your tickets as soon as you can via the link here