2017. Chile. Dir: Sebastia?n Lelio. With Daniela Vega. 104 min.
A transgender waitress who moonlights as a nightclub singer must confront the sudden death of her much-older boyfriend, and the suspicion of his surviving family towards her. In her neon-tinted breakthrough role, Vega fights for the right to be seen as she is: a strong, complex woman and a human being deserving of decency.
Image from AuralWes venue page on the WestCo cafe. Showtunes Sideways went up in the cafe during the weekend of April 28
The following is a write-in from Kai Magee ’18. Kai reached out to us after his concept for a Showtunes Sideways performance was rejected. We decided to publish his statement (modified from an open letter to the Showtunes Sideways coordinators) in order to give a voice to someone on campus who felt like they weren’t being heard, and to hopefully address issues of trans representation and inclusion in our community.
So maybe you’re a freshman, nervous and overwhelmed by all the information coming at you about classes, housing, what to bring from home – and are feeling like you can’t even begin to think about bigger issues on campus. Or maybe you’re a senior and feel like you’ve gotten this far and never really involved yourself in any social/political engagement on campus, so now it’s way too late and where would you even begin if you wanted to. Wherever you might stand, activism at Wes can seem like a huge, widespread and unnavigable thing.
Thankfully, some very committed students are trying to change that sentiment and make activism within the Wesleyan world an approachable and cohesive community. This past week, the Disorientation Guide was released through the University Organizing Centersite to bring together the wide-ranging issues affecting us into one document. The entire Disorientation zine can be downloaded here, and I strongly recommend that everyone take a look at it.
Almost three years ago exactly, I showed up to my first Eclectic concert, as a wide-eyed, naive pre-frosh, a total stranger to the “college music scene.” There was loud, thrashy music coming from the ballroom, where a small crowd was gathered. While dancing wildly around with all these strange older cool college kids, I thought to myself, “Wow! I am actually doing this. I am a skinny, lanky dude moshing! And it feels great! And I should totally come here and do this more!” And the rest was, as they say, history.
As we are quite aware, the answer is: a lot. Baker’s article (following on the heels of two Autostraddle and Youngist articles) begins with the issues over degendering bathrooms, with several trans* students speaking up about their not-so-welcome experiences on campus, both from other students in the bathroom (“Wrong bathroom, fag!” one gender nonconforming student heard) and from the administration as a whole. After the group Pissed Off Trans* People organized students to remove gendered bathroom signs and replace them with “All Gender Restroom” signs, the Student Judicial Board singled out three trans* students (claiming they were the only identifiable ones) and charged them with property destruction, at the cost of $157 per sign— $5,245 total.
After a four-and-a-half hour hearing, the board lowered the fine to $451 and gave each student three disciplinary points (10 earns a suspension or dismissal). “The SJB action was taken because vandalism occurred,” Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Whaley said in a statement. “The board does not strive to determine the legitimacy of a protest/action, only whether such protest/action is done in a manner that violates our community’s standards.”
The three students tell Newsweek they feel they were unfairly singled out for actions committed by many but were most concerned with the symbolism of it all: This was the first time anyone knows of that the administration had punished individuals for LGBT activism.
“We’re talking about economic sanctions on activism at a school that profits off a reputation of being a progressive, activist-friendly space,” says Ben, a Wesleyan junior. “Being trans and fighting for trans justice is not profitable or shiny or appealing.”
Last month, an undetermined number of students ripped off gendered bathroom signs around campus, replacing them with paper “All Gender Bathroom” signs. Three students were referred to the SJB for the removal of these signs, despite a lack of concrete evidence that any of them participated in the degendering process. The three students are being tried by the SJB today, where they face thousands of dollars in fines, untold judicial sanctions, and — despite the fact that their guilt remains undetermined — one has already lost their work-study job.
The following press release emerged yesterday and has begun cropping up around Tumblr and other social media websites since then. In addition, an alumni letter calling for solidarity with the accused activists has been making its rounds gathering signatures. The hearing will take place today at 4:30 PM in North College. Check back here to see how it goes.
The full text of the press release, for your reading pleasure.
As the SJB hearing for three trans* students charged with degendering campus bathrooms as part of a direct action campaign last month looms closer, allies have organized a teach-in in Usdan today to fill the community in on the facts.
Justine Mitchell ’14writes in with the deets:
A lot has been happening on campus regarding the de-gendering of bathrooms and the subsequent response from the University.
Come to a student-led info session/discussion about what has been going on.
Get the facts and ask as many questions as you want.
We will cover things like….
the history of trans* activism at Wes
the importance of de-gendering bathrooms
the events that transpired this semester &
the university’s response
Date: TODAY – Tuesday, December 3, 2013 Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm Place: Usdan black couches
So, a few weeks back, there was an outpouring of trans* activism. I mean that like when you put a lot of pressure on a water balloon and then the water bursts out of a hole. Yeah, the water made the hole and hurt the balloon. But the water only gushed out because of all the fucking pressure being put on the damn balloon. (and why was this water being trapped in a balloon in the first place?)
My point being, yes, fed up trans* students and angry cis allies took down and broke the single-gender bathroom signs around campus. They did this because they were sick of the system that marginalizes and endangers trans* folk. This move was pretty controversial on campus. But that’s not what I want to write about today.
Today, the issue at stake is the University’s response. Now, students taking part in this action knew they were doing something illegal/against the rules/risky. As such they have remained anonymous when participating in media coverage and the action was instigated under the anonymous Facebook account PissedOff Trans* People. They provided materials on Facebook for marking bathrooms as all-gendered. These materials have been downloaded 200 times, which gives you an idea of the scale of interest and possibly participation in this action.
This will be a safe space for people to discuss their thoughts, concerns, and opinions of the recent trans* activism that has been de-gendering bathrooms in the last few weeks. Given that this is a safe space, Wesleying (in this case, hermes, sneeze, and I) will not be recording the names of participants. This will also be a serious liveblog. We will be providing an as-close-to-verbatim-as-possible record of what is said in the forum without critiquing opinions with which we may not agree.
BZOD UPDATE, 11/5/13, 4:09 PM: We’ve officially moved this across the hall from 41 Wyllys Room 115 to 41 Wyllys Room 112 due to space concerns.
On Tuesday, November 5 at 7:00 PM in 41 Wyllys Room 112, WesDEF (Wesleyan Diversity Education Facilitators), Wesleying, Open House, and QueerWes, will be hosting an an open forum to discuss people’s thoughts, concerns, and opinions about the recent trans* activism on campus – including, but not limited to the gender-neutralizing of bathrooms. The forum will be facilitated by WesDEF and will include vegan snacks.
Wesleying will be doing a liveblog of the discussion (which will, of course, not log names of anyone speaking). Anyone who has opinions about gender-neutral bathrooms or trans* activism, or wants to better understand trans* issues, should attend. We’d love to have as many sides as possible represented in the discussion.