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Author to speak at annual Queer Studies lecture

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Renowned writer John Rechy is set to be the featured speaker for the 2nd Annual Queer Studies Spring Lecture Series, which will be hosted by the Queer Studies program.

Dr. Sheena Malhotra, associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies, said the event will take place on Tuesday, March 30, with a free reception from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will be held in the Whitsett Room, Sierra Hall 451.

“The Spring Lecture Series is an annual series presented by the Queer Studies Program to highlight prominent scholars and artists in the field of Queer Studies,” said Malhotra. “Last year, we had Dr. Susan Stryker, who is a nationally recognized transgender studies activist and scholar. This year, we are bringing John Rechy, a prolific author to our campus.”

Malhotra, who is also the coordinator and advisor for the Queer Studies Program, said the program allows students to learn about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“The Queer Studies Program is a minor that focuses on the experiences and histories of those who occupy non-normative genders and sexualities,” said Malhotra. “It explores LGBT communities and organizations and is grounded in the theoretical field of Queer Studies.”
Dr. Malhotra said awards will be given out at the event as well.

“The Queer Studies Program will also be announcing the winners of the Wong-Sayaman Equality Award at the event,” Malhotra said. “So, it should all make for a very exciting evening.”

Dr. Martin Pousson, assistant professor of English for the Queer Studies Program, said he feels that John Rechy is more than qualified to speak at the lecture and is responsible for John Rechy’s presence at this year’s lecture.

“Part poet, part provocateur, John Rechy writes not just for gay men but for anyone who’s felt lonely and unloved, anyone lost in the streets of our cities, and anyone who’s heard the high piercing cry of night,” Pousson said. “Author of numerous books, both fiction and nonfiction, and recipient of several awards, he has been named one of the five most significant authors working in Los Angeles. He
teaches in the Master of Professional Writing at USC and lives in North Hollywood.”

For the event itself, Pousson said Rechy will explore a variety of different topics and incorporate personal topics of interest for discussion.

“Rechy will be reading selections from his writing oeuvres and answering questions pertinent to the Queer Studies Program and to the LGBTQQ communities,” Pousson said. “No doubt, some of the questions will concern his identity as an out gay male writer.”

Pousson said the conversation can lead anywhere.

“Other questions may concern the role of the Queer Studies Program in academia and his own role in the development of gay male literature,” Pousson said. “However, the questions will also push past issues of identity to address other concerns. Rechy is a celebrated author, and his books and topics defy easy categorization. He’s just as concerned with ethic identity as with sexual identity. He’s also concerned with issues of class and power, so the questions ultimately will be broad in range.”

Pousson said the event will conclude with a question and answer session with the author.

“The reading and Q & A session should prove of great value to anyone interested in the LBGTQQ communities, in ethic and class identity, and in American literature,” Pousson said.

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