Contributor R.J. Lozada interviews Seng Alex Vang, Conference Co-Chair of the 16th Hmong National Development Conference. This years conference, themed The Journey Forward, is a three-day gathering of Hmong and their allies on three major threads: Education, Health & Wellness, and Economic Development.
The United States Supreme Court is in the throes of two major proceedings in the Gay Marriage or Marriage Equality movement, Hollingsworth v Perry, and the legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. In an effort to bring the complexity of the different conversations happening within the LGBTIQ movements regarding marriage equality, contributor R.J. Lozada has invited three speakers to shed some light on the subject.
Lauren Quock is a queer third generation Chinese American artist and community leader.Lauren has been working with the Network on Religion and Justice for Asian Pacific Islander LGBTIQ People (NRJ, www.netrj.org) since 2004 and is currently the NRJ Coordinator. NRJ creates community and leadership development for API LGBTIQ people of faith and works to change the culture of silence around sexuality and LGBTIQ experiences in API Christian churches through education.Lauren is also an artist (www.laurenquock.com). Lauren appropriates industrial processes and materials to create Modified Bathroom Signs that challenge the gender binary and transform the public restroom from a site of anxiety and trauma into one of affirmation for queer people.
From the author’s website:
Dr. Yasmin Nair is a Chicago-based writer, activist, academic, and commentator. The bastard child of queer theory and deconstruction, Nair has numerous critical essays, book reviews, investigative journalism, op-eds, and photography to her credit. Her work has appeared in publications like GLQ, The Progressive, make/shift, Time Out Chicago, The Bilerico Project, Windy City Times, Bitch, Maximum Rock’n’Roll, and No More Potlucks. Nair’s writing and organising address issues like neoliberalism and inequality, queer politics and theory, the politics of rescue and affect, sex trafficking, the art world, and the immigration crisis. Her work also appears or will appear in various anthologies and journals, including Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters and How to Stop It, Windy City Queer: Dispatches from the Third Coast and Arab Studies Quarterly. Most recently, her work has appeared in the Lambda-nominated anthology, Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America, edited by Tracy Baim. Nair is a co-founder and member of the editorial collective Against Equality; she contributed to their first book, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage as well as the second, Against Equality: Don’t Ask to Fight Their Wars, and the third, Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You. She is also a member of the Chicago grassroots organisation Gender JUST (Justice United for Societal Transformation) and recently became its Policy Director (a volunteer position) and co-ordinator of the Chicago chapter of South Asians for Justice, a new group devoted to forging a radical South Asian-inflected political vision outside of electoral politics and Bobby Jindal. Nair was, from 1999-2003, a member of the now-defunct Queer to the Left. Her activist work includes gentrification, immigration, public education, and youth at risk.
Stuart Gaffney and his husband John Lewis are leaders in the freedom to marry movement. Together as a couple for 26 years, they were two of the plaintiffs in the historic 2008 lawsuit that held that California’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. On June 17, 2008, they married at San Francisco City Hall, surrounded by friends and family. Stuart and John are leaders in Marriage Equality USA, a national grassroots organization, and API Equality, a coalition targeting outreach and education to the Asian-American community. They have appeared extensively in local, national and international media. The focus of their work has been to foster connection between the general public and the lives of LGBTIQ people. Stuart is a graduate of Yale University and currently a Policy Analyst at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.