Dr. Jason Ezell presents on late 1970s queer activism from the rural southeast to New Orleans
November 18 • Dr. Ezell, the Associate Dean of Monroe Library and Marquette Fellowship recipient discusses his project, Gay Liberationist Collectivism in New Orleans: The Louisiana Sissies in Struggle
On Zoom. See below for link.
Meeting ID: 966 6635 4018
Dr. Ezell’s project looks to add to the existing scholarly project of widening the understanding of 1970s gay liberationism to include a rural, collectivist movement that was distinct from the more widely recognized urban narratives of struggle based in major East and West Coast megalopolises in the U.S. More specifically, this project focuses on oral histories, journals, publications, and other ephemera that reveal a close-up history of the mobile networks of gay liberationist activitsts that existed in the rural southeast.
This talk will focus on the translation of rural collectivism into the context of small urban centers in the southeast, specifically New Orleans. Using what Ezell calls “sissie politics,” he shows how the Louisiana Sissies in Struggle (LaSiS) borrowed the figure of the sissie from rural queer liberationist collectives and embodied to express an anti-racist, anti-sexist ethos.
Ezell describes the project in this way: “[my work] describes how LaSiS amplified its political figure into Southeastern gay liberationist networks and national media about gay life. I read LaSIS’ participation in the North Carolina Running Water Farm gatherings (1978-1979), their writing and editorship for RFD, founder Dennis Melbasson’s personal journal, and the LaSiS appearance in the ABC feature ‘Homosexuals’ for ways the group spread their vision of ‘sissie networking’ as an ‘anarcho-effeminist’ and ‘deeper south’ underground. This network hinged on two things: the openly androgynous sissie figure and a transnationally oriented collectivist practice.”
Join us on Zoom to hear more about this fascinating project! (Meeting ID: 966 6635 4018 Passcode: 033176)