Queer Discussions on Im/migration and Criminalization featuring NOII, QUAIA, and HAVOQ

3 Oct

On Wednesday September 28th  at Beit Zatoun in Toronto, Ontario folks discussed recent struggles by Queer and Trans folks in Toronto and in San Fransisco.  The panel featured Craig Fortier from No One is Illegal – Toronto and Natalie Kouri-Towe from Queers against Israeli Apartheid.

They were joined by Li Morales, Molly Goldberg and Essex Lourdes from HAVOQ (Horizontally Aligned Very Organized Queers) who have been on tour launching their zine Undoing Borders: A Queer Manifesto reflecting on two years of collective organizing around migrant justice.

They spoke about recent victories like the community mobilization to stop the deportation of Alvaro Orozco and about the challenges of organizing against borders on occupied land.

Listen to the whole panel here:

Introduction by Gabi

Craig Fortier, No One is Illegal – Toronto

Natalie Kouri-Towe, Queers Against Israeli Aparthied

Molly, Essex and Li, Horizontally Alligned Very Organized Queers


Undoing Borders: Queer Discussions on Im/migration and Criminalization

26 Sep

Essex, Li and Molly joined Earful of Queer live in studio to talk about their tour and their zine. The interview was followed by a short set by DJ BootyKlap.

Undoing Borders is a collective writing project that comes out of the Migrant Justice Work Group of San Francisco Pride at Work/HAVOQ (The Horizontal Alliance of Very Organized Queers). We first started organizing together in 2007 when a group of us formed a contingent to the US/Mexico No Borders Camp in Calexico/Mexicali. That summer, at an event to raise money for our trip south, we were asked for the first time a question we would hear again and again for years: What does being queer have to do with borders?
This document was born out of action and conversation, and our hope is that it will continue to live there. We’ve been sharing it with all of the incredible people we organize with here in the Bay Area, but we’d also like a chance to get feedback from people working in the many different locations and contexts across our border regions and the interior. Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation, so we’re taking this manifesto on the road!
This was done one month into their tour when they stopped in Guelph, Ontario.


Captive Genders for Prisoner Justice Day

8 Aug

Captive Genders CoverToday on the Show, We interviewed Eric A. Stanley, one of two editors of a new book being released through AK Press on Sept. 1st, 2011 called Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex. Our interview explores some of the articles and issues the book covers, relating to prisoner voices, The Toronto Bath house Raids and Riots and how interlocking oppressions play out in the prison experience.

Bio from Books Website: Eric A. Stanley works at the intersections of radical trans/queer politics, theories of state violence, and visual culture. Eric is currently finishing a PhD in the History of Consciousness department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and continues to organize with Gay Shame. Along with Chris Vargas, Eric is a co-director of the films Homotopia (2006) and Criminal Queers (2011).


Butch is a Noun

27 Jun


‘Butch is a Noun’ is a collection of personal essays that discuss S. Bear Bergman’s understanding and experience of butch as an identity. I mainly accessed the book as a reference point for my life and my own identity. I read the essays discontinuously; each one standing by itself to help guide me and provide insight into how I act and interact with the world. Some of the essays triggered awkward feelings of recognition, others the same emotional reaction as being called out by a close friend, and others just pissed me off.

I also find queer theory texts almost impossible to read—I’m not well versed in the appropriate vocabulary, and don’t understand the theoretical comparisons at all—so, with this in mind, I found this book refreshingly easy to access. The language was simple, and made up of poetry-prose stories, which I found easy to relate to; because this is how I initially came to queer—from stories and experiences.

While reading this collection of essays; it was really important for me to consistently remind myself that this was one butch’s stories and experiences—and that it wasn’t trying or pretending to be anything more. Bergman is simply relating hir experience-sometimes, revealing hir vulnerabilities (drawbridge, faggy butches, getting fucked), maybe in the hopes that this will help us feel more empowered to begin similar conversations within our own communities.

Though I was frustrated by some of the content, such as assumptions that more cops=more safety; and the general lack of stories about butches who maybe resist the institution of marriage; or butches of colour negotiating a white queer community; I reminded myself that it was not Bergmen’s place to tell these stories. And that if these are the stories I want to hear; if these are the hirstories I want to learn to inform my own identity, then I need to be working harder at seeking and making space for these stories.

 In some ways, this book also feels as if it is Bergman’s contribution to passing information forward and onwards, to provide for like the mentors ze found online, when ze was first figuring out what kind of queer ze would become. Not an instruction manual, but a collection of experiences, to (hopefully) help and mentor other folks who would be trying on pieces of butch to see what fits them, what can be molded to individual use, and what is better left behind.

Though I am no closer to understanding what butch is and what it isn’t and where I fit in; I don’t believe that helping me figure this out is the intention of the book. However, this collection of stories became the starting point of conversation with the queermos and genderfuckers in my life; what we agree and disagree about, what we don’t understand; and how we relate elements of butch (n.) to our anarchist (v., n.) identities.  


Alvaro Orozco is here to Stay!

3 Jun

Alvaro Orozco has been released from the immigration holding centre!!

Earful of Queer follows up with Craig Fortier from No One is Illegal-Toronto, on Alvaro’s release and the approval of his Humanitarian and Compassion application.  He has now been granted permanent residency and has been returned to his community!

We also chat about the politicization of Queer communities in this campaign and continuing the momentum to stop the state from taking members of our community away from us.

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