IRN Asia thrived this year. We have contracted Ana Huang, a Harvard educated scholar in Women’s and East Asian studies to coordinate the Asian region. Ana has been increasingly engaged with the emergent LGBT activist community in China as a direct participant, an activist and a fi lmmaker. IRN-Asia is a multifaceted project, not only because it is a new region for the IRN, but further because of the linguistic and cultural diversity across Asia. To facilitate connectivity between Asian scholars, IRN Asia has begun by establishing regional groupings including South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. At the same time, IRN Asia is recruiting sexuality studies scholars from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong for its fi rst regional board. The region has also worked on the English translation of the Chinese LES dictionary, an extensive compilation of historical records of female same-sex love in China. Selected articles from this rare and valuable resource for scholars are being posted on the IRN website.
IRN Africa Following the departure of the previous Coordinator Sybille Nyeck in October 2011, we contracted Naijeria Toweett, a Kenyan sexual rights activist, to coordinate the African region. Under the leadership of the new coordinator, the African region will continue the publication of the innovative e-journal Outliers and will conduct interviews with leaders of the LGBTI rights movement in African countries where they are less visible. They plan to transcribe these interviews and publish them on the IRN website.
IRN Middle East region straddles diverse linguistic and geographic diversity, yet IRN has started building connections in order to enhance the work of scholars in and outside the region. In August 2011, IRN Middle East co-sponsored antinormanybody, an exhibition curated by Barrak Alzaid at Kleio Projects in New York. The exhibition featured experimental short fi lms and portraiture exploring Middle Eastern bodies and sexualities. In 2012, IRN Middle East will continue supporting projects that use arts to investigate into the construction of sexualities as well as the various dynamics and possibilities surrounding the experience of sexuality in the Middle East.
IRN Latin America is thrilled to have published the 8th edition of Sexualidades, a trilingual e-journal presenting working papers in the fi eld of sexuality studies in the Americas. In November, IRN Latin America published “Does your mother know? The IRN Latin American Collection of LGBT Stories,” documenting the stories of Latin Americans that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, both from the Latin American continent and in Diaspora communities. Both projects can be found on www.irnweb.org. IRN Latin America’s work was also featured in Curve Magazine, the US best-selling lesbian magazine.
IRN Caribbean will continue its collaboration with the Digital Library of the Caribbean (http://dloc.com/l/icirn/all ) to set up a similar archive in Haiti and Curacao. The Caribbean Coordinator Vidyaratha Kisson is working on a collection of oral history interviews that will explore the complexities of living in the Caribbean as an LGBTI-identifi ed person.
IRN is getting close to its 10th anniversary following its offi cial launch in 2002. A global fundraiser to celebrate the IRN’s existence is planned in Spring 2012. Check the IRN website for updates.