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April 24, 2021

Queering in the Midst of Chaos

Hosted by Toronto Queer Film Festival

This panel centers the hybrid narratives of queer and transgender of scholar-activists of color. Weaving together personal narrative and the, at times, resilient destinations that theory and activism can lead us to, these readings explore the mental health practices of three QTPOC scholar-activists during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel will be followed by a Q&A with the speakers, moderated by Max Ferguson.

Digital Drag Havens: Finding Queer Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic Jennette Ramirez elucidates their experience navigating the world as a Mad queer person of color transitioning to graduate school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having been academically focused on drag performance as community activism, Jennette felt initial grief over the loss of these essential spaces of community. Jennette explores digital realms to find queer spaces of community in digital drag shows. Expanding on José Esteban Muñoz’ Queer Utopia, they imagine how utopia manages to exist through the work of QTBIPOC artists in times of change and chaos.

Queering and Cripping Survival: Mental Health Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic Shayda Kafai explores the ebbs and flows of navigating mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In moments of intensity, slowness, and panic-spinning, this hybrid text of poetry, theory, and personal narrative performs Mad, disabled, queer of color mental health survival during a pandemic that has left so many of us feeling unearthed and isolated. How can we queer and crip survival? How can we imagine and begin to create decolonized futures where we survive? Shayda will use Disability Justice, queer, and crip theory politics to address these questions.

Queering in the Midst of Chaos: Mental Health Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic Bri Sérráno provides their narrative of simultaneously experiencing affirmation and anxiety regarding their own gender identity and expression. The pandemic has shifted how they are read and exist in the world as a trans masculine person being read more as a “man” with an increased fear of being outed in public. They share explicit times of reflection on the pandemic, euphoria, and what regrounds their existence.

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Toronto Queer Film Festival

The Toronto Queer Media & Arts Centre is a nonprofit arts collective that grew out of the Toronto Queer Film Festival (TQFF), which launched in 2016 in response to an urgent need for exhibition space in Toronto for work by and about marginalized queer and trans people.