Queer Identity: In Conversation with Aderonke Apata and Lola Phoenix

What is queer identity? “Queer” was born as a slur, implying an Otherness, a deviation; is reclaiming queerness today still a political act?

If “queer” is largely defined by what it is not – what is “queerness” without “straightness”? – then what does it mean to identify with queerness? Do we do queerness a disservice by policing its borders? How does our conception of sexuality as innate or as fluid mesh with our understanding of what it means to “be” queer?

Our speakers will examine these questions of queerness and discuss their own and others’ experiences navigating the matrices of norms and othering, the borders of identifying and belonging, and the intersections of marginal identities, both today and throughout the history of the LGBT+ movement.

Lola Phoenix is an agender aspie living London, hailing from the US South. Lola has been volunteering for LGBT causes since they were 12 years old, working for Marriage Equality California and Equality California while still in the States to volunteering with Gendered Intelligence and Stonewall Housing in the UK. Lola hosted a transgender clothing swap in London for a year and currently hosts regular fundraising events for Stonewall Housing. In the past two years, Lola has appeared in a variety of press from BuzzFeed LGBT to the Independent speaking about their experience with the GIC, fundraising for a reduction and being non-binary. When not working, Lola writes original fiction (writing projects found @AlastorPhoenix on Twitter), writing fanfiction, watching the same films and TV shows again and again, bugging people to donate to their surgery fundraiser (helplola.co.uk), and going to premieres to meet cool people.

Aderonke Apata is a Human Rights Activist, Feminist and LGBT Equality Advocate who has a BSc in Microbiology and subsequently a Masters of Public Health and Primary Care. Winner Positive Role Model for LGBT National Diversity Award 2014, where she was described as “an unstoppable force in fighting for justice”, she is number 41 & 67 on the RanbowList2014 & RainbowList2015 respectively as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK. Aderonke was named LGBT Heroine of the year 2015 by DIVAMagazine in recognition of her achievements in the LGBT community. Aderonke is the founder of African Rainbow Family, an LGBT group that supports LGBTIQ asylum seekers and people of African heritage in UK and campaigning for the Repeal of the toxic Nigerian Anti-LGBTIQ Law. She also started Manchester Migrant Solidarity, a self help group offering practical supports and building a powerful political voice against the systematic mistreatment of migrants in the UK.

This event will be held in the Lucia Windsor Room in Newnham College, starting at 2:00PM on Saturday 18th February. It is free and does not require registration.