The contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals have historically been erased and underplayed either through the policing of literature, sanitization of movements, or revisionist history. With our Newsletter's Queer Highlights, we hope to introduce members to these academic, political, and literary queer works. Below are the Highlights so far, feel free to use them as 'jumping off points' for further reading in your journey through queer fields.
The Queer Art of Failure by Jack Halberstam - NL 6
What's The Use? by Sara Ahmed - NL 7
The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House by Audre Lorde - NL 9
Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens by Cathy J. Cohen - NL 10
Feminist Theory Reader by Cheryl L. Clarke - NL 11
Bio/Necropolitics (Part I): Control of Death - NL 12
Bio/Necropolitics (Part II): Control of Livelihood - NL 14
Cruel Optimism by Lauren Berlant - NL 15
Affectivity: Worth by Emotional Proxy - NL 16
Gay First, Deaf Second: Mitigating Fractured Movements - NL 17
Performing Gender (Part I): Sex, Drag, and Male Roles - NL 18
Living a Double Rainbow: Queerness & Neurodiversity - NL 19
Are you ready for woke slut summer? - NL 20
Performing Gender (Part II): The Politics and Poetics of Camp - NL 21
reeuQ yhW - NL 24
STAR: Bitch on Wheels Speech - NL 25
Cruising Utopia by José Esteban Muñoz - NL 26
Note: Some of the works we've highlighted make use of strong/outdated language (either through intentional use or outdated terminology) and are not work/author endorsements from us either as individuals or as a student organization.
Why "Queers Read This!"?
Q: Why do all of your Newsletters open with "Queers Read This!"?
A: Our Newsletter's opener is a reference to a powerful moment within the queer rights movement: the Queers Read This pamphlet, a noteworthy call to action in US queer history in the late 1900s. The anonymous pamphlet (presumably written by members of Queer Nation, an activist organization that splintered from ACT UP) first circulated in New York’s Gay Pride Parade in June of 1990. The zine was written and distributed as the AIDS/HIV epidemic ravaged queer populations, especially QPOC, and violence against LGBTQ+ people spiked. The anonymous authors called out the community's silence on trans violence, racism, and assimilated gender/sexual social hierarchies.
Queers Read This uses some outdated terminology (a temporal inevitability with language) and strong language. Still, it also perfectly encapsulates the emotions felt, the calls to action these pioneers pushed for, and the civil disobedience strategies they developed. Now, oSTEM invokes their work through the Newsletter openers, matching its use in internal queer correspondence.
Q: Is "queer" okay to say now?
A: Language is a silly goofy thing! Words continually change meaning, use, and weight. The community has (mostly) reclaimed queer, replacing its former pejorative status with a neutral adjective/label status. Keep in mind, however, a lot of the community's elders experienced the term in a different context so the answer is a cautious yes.
Q: *whispers* I'm straight, can I still say the q word?
A: Yes, but only if you're a certified, high-level ally! Allyship is of course directly proportional to your donations to oSTEM. /j
Navigating Our Newsletters
Because we are nerd emojis and organize everything, our Newsletters are structured to help you find the content you are looking for and skip our silly goofy tangents if you choose. Here is a sample Newsletter with short descriptions of our regular sections, we hope it helps!
Addressing Pronouns in Queer Spaces
One of the 'privileges' of predominantly queer spaces is the unique (and unfortunately rare) feeling of belonging. To further establish oSTEM spaces as one, we ask everyone to default to they/them pronouns when referring to someone whose pronouns you don’t know at our meetings/events. This practice is commonplace in spaces like O4U’s conferences because it simultaneously avoids misgendering someone (which if you do: apologize & move on, don’t prolong the moment!) and helps deconstructs our rigid understanding of gender through everyday communication.
Gender is a very fluid thing (for some it’s a trial journey), feel free to explore different pronouns in our spaces if you’d like (re: pocket gender) and/or update them anytime. Some people might be in a tricky place with their identity so, instead of *asking* them for their pronouns, share your pronouns as a soft prompting for theirs (if you’d like), and if they don’t specify theirs, keep to they/them!
At oSTEM, you will never be pressured for your pronouns or to make a pronoun pin (re: Creative Arts Club visit) by us, it’s always your choice to share/not share. :)