The New Face Of Queer, The New Face Of Cuny (Queer CUNY VII)

The seventh Queer CUNY conference for LGBT students, staff, faculty, and alumni, took place at Brooklyn College on April 1, 2006. Students from all over the CUNY system of schools gathered to discuss, debate, and deconstruct what LGBT community is and what it might be. The goal of the conference orga- nizers, headed by Brooklyn College’s LGBTQ Alliance, was to explore issues of race and gender identity within queer communities. To this end, dynamic speakers were invited to speak on the concerns of a diverse youth community. Staceyann Chin’s keynote address challenged students to consider the politics of LGBT identity. A fulltime artist, a resident of New York City, and a Jamaican National, Chin has been an “out poet and political activist” since 1998. Jasmine Cruz, representing Lesbian Charcoal, held glamorous photo shoots for the ready and willing, and Hanifah Walidah performed excerpts from her one woman show Black Folks Guide to Black Folks. One highly-anticipated conference session (besides, of course lunch, with its abundance of Italian food) was the discussion on butches, bios, femmes, and AGs, which was accompanied by a screening of The Butch Mystique. Many of the student attendees fi lled the room to participate in the discussion of the current state of “Queer Community: Identity Politics, Labels, and Transitioning” with panelist Jasmine Cruz. One young woman traveled all the way from Boston to discuss her position as a femme in the “movement.” Another young junior with a ruffled afro and shy demeanor said that she didn’t even know that she was queer, but the conference gave her some perspective on how being horny, broke, and black instilled in her a real sense of community.

Shawnta Smith served as President of the Brooklyn
College Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans Alliance. She graduated in 2006 with a BA in Women’s Studies