Reading: Heath Fogg Davis and Samuel Peterson, "Beyond Trans" and "Trunky"
Join us for a reading and discussion with
Dr. Heath Fogg Davis
for their new books
Heath Fogg Davis's Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter pushes the conversation on gender identity to its limits: questioning the need for gender categories in the first place. Whether on birth certificates or college admissions applications or on bathroom doors, why do we need to mark people and places with sex categories? Do they serve a real purpose or are these places and forms just mechanisms of exclusion? Heath Fogg Davis offers an impassioned call to rethink the usefulness of dividing the world into not just Male and Female categories but even additional categories of Transgender and gender fluid. Davis, himself a transgender man, explores the underlying gender-enforcing policies and customs in American life that have led to transgender bathroom bills, college admissions controversies, and more, arguing that it is necessary for our society to take real steps to challenge the assumption that gender matters. He examines four areas where we need to re-think our sex-classification systems: sex-marked identity documents such as birth certificates, driver's licenses and passports; sex-segregated public restrooms; single-sex colleges; and sex-segregated sports. Speaking from his own experience and drawing upon major cases of sex discrimination in the news and in the courts, Davis presents a persuasive case for challenging how individuals are classified according to sex and offers concrete recommendations for alleviating sex identity discrimination and sex-based disadvantage. For anyone in search of pragmatic ways to make our world more inclusive, Davis' recommendations provide much-needed practical guidance about how to work through this complex issue. A provocative call to action, Beyond Trans pushes us to think how we can work to make America truly inclusive of all people.
Samuel Peterson's TRUNKY (transgender junky): A Memoir of Institutionalization & Southern Hospitality is "a true tale of a transgender man in rehab in the American South." Profoundly philosophical, surprisingly funny and brutally honest, this modern day tragic-comedy pulls no punches delving into the Sisyphean struggle of human addiction and recovery. After a decade of sobriety and relentless devotion to becoming a writer, Trunky finally finds himself on the brink of success and widespread acclaim. But as fate would have it, he spirals down into depression and begins using heroin again. This relapse is different from those that came before, however, as Trunky ends up institutionalized in a recovery center in the south among a diverse group of dopers–thugs, criminals, white supremacists, professional athletes and business men–all of whom are looking for something they’re terrified of finding. As Trunky navigates his path from addition to recovery and female to manhood in this cast of characters, he find himself on an unexpected journey into the depths of the human soul where he discovers its fundamental flaws and the redemption we experience from honest vulnerability when we have the courage to go there.
Heath Fogg Davis (Ph.D. in Politics, Princeton University, 1998) is the Undergraduate Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science at Temple University. His teaching and research examines individual and collective identity in contexts such as democratic political systems, administrative and anti-discrimination law, urban public space, and family formation. Prior to joining the Temple faculty, Davis was an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a member of the groundbreaking James Weldon Johnson Institute Working Group on Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Civil Rights: the first U.S. working group bringing together activists and scholars to explore convergences and divergences between the African American civil rights movement and the Black LGBT civil rights movement. Davis extends his academic and pedagogical commitments to community spaces, collaborating with and advocating for marginalized communities. He was a board member of the Leeway Foundation, and has been an organizer of the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference and the Trans Masculine Advocacy Network.
Samuel Peterson is a recovering addict and transgender activist who believes in the power of personal story-telling. His work is in Kate Bornstein's next-wave anthology, Gender Outlaws: the Next Generation, and Vinnie Kinsella's anthology, Fashionably Late: Gay, Bi, and Trans Men Who Came Out Later in Life. He's been a rocker, a woman, a tattooist, a performance artist, and a junkie, and lived to tell all the tales. Now he lives happily in Durham, NC and considers himself fortunate indeed to be alive. samuelpeterson.org
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