Pride 2023 at CHASI

Pride is always time of celebration and action at CHASI, and 2023 was no different! Here is just some what our team did to mark the occasion.

Dr. Martha Dow joins GW Graham Secondary’s Pride Celebration

CHASI director Dr. Martha Dow was privileged to be able to speak at GW Graham Secondary’s Pride celebration to kick off June. She was inspired by the pride shown by the school, and encouraged by the energy of students ready to work for change.

Photo of Dr. Dow on stage with other performers and speakers at the Pride event, posing for a photo.

Photo of GW Graham's band performing on stage, with Pride flags hanging down from the front of several of the music stands.

CHASI’s Pride Flag Display Draws Vandalism, Theft

CHASI display of Pride Flags along the walkways intersecting buildings B, C, and D on UFV’s Abbotsford campus were first planted in March to celebrate The Laramie ProjectSince then, they have been repeatedly vandalized and stolen, which is both a disheartening sign of how much progress is still needed, and a rallying call to bring our community together to take action.

Four of CHASI’s student research assistants and interns spoke on the CHASIcast this month about their first-hand experience reacting to this vandalism.

Four women sit in the CIVL Radio studio with headhphones on and microphones in front of them. A quote from Miranda Erickson reads: “Looking back at all of the incidences where people have stepped on or spit on, or broken, or thrown out the flags... it’s upsetting because they were just existing and it feels very symbolic of the community as a whole. Like we’re not asking for allyship, we’re not asking for money, we’re not asking for resources. We’re just existing. And just the fact that we’re existing is enough to incite hatred and aggressive ... they feel threatened by it because apparently just existing is not enough. They need to not see us. They need us to not be here.”


Tea Dance and Queeraoke

To end Pride month the right way, CHASI and friends hosted a Tea Dance and Queeraoke event on June 28.  The event also served as a purposeful conclusion to our flag display and a next step towards a permanent Pride installation on campus.

Photo of a group of people crowded onto an ourdoor stage, singing karaoke. Some hold rainbow flags or are wearing rainbow garlands

CHASI at the Qmunity Peers Open House

CHASI was honoured to host a table at the inaugural Qmunity Peers Coffee and Open House event as part of B.C. Seniors Week. The event, for members of the LGBTQ+ community aged 55 and older, brought together community organizations and the people they serve.

Photo of Dr. Martha Dow standing at CHASI's table Photo of CHASI team members speaking at a table with a rainbow tablecloth.Photo of a person standing behind a table with a rainbow flag tablecloth, holding a flag, and in front of a sign that reads "Qmunity." There are brochures and signs on the table. Photo of a person from another community organization standing behind another table, also with a rainbow flag tablecloth Photo of a person from another community organization standing behind another table, also with a rainbow flag tablecloth Photo of a person from another community organization standing behind another table with Fraser Valley Regional Library branding and a selection of books Photo of a person from another community organization standing behind another table with Friends of the Abbotsford Libraries branding Photo of two people from Archway Community Services standing behind another table with a rainbow pattern

Queer Media Recommendations

Every Week in June, members of the CHASI Team have shared their favourite queer media! You can see all of our suggestions below.

Week 1

Queer Media: CHASI Staff picks Every week in June a couple of our research assistants are going to share their queer media recommendations! These recommendations may be based on personal impact or, as an ally, anything that has been impactful throughout their ongoing learning about the queer community and queer experience. This week our recommendations come from Ekat and Andrea! Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Recommended by Ekat Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a masterpiece of cinema that is a visually stunning and emotionally powerful portrayal of female desire and its use of the female gaze. The film tells the story of a young painter named Marianne who is commissioned to paint a portrait of a young woman named Héloïse, who is about to be married off to a wealthy nobleman. As Marianne spends time with Héloïse, the two women begin to develop a deep and intense connection that leads to a (bittersweet) romance. What really sets this film apart is its exploration of love, desire, and the power dynamics that exist between men and women. The film is a powerful feminist statement, showing how women can find strength and agency in their relationships with each other, even in a world that seeks to control and oppress them. Overall, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a stunning achievement in cinema that deserves to be seen and celebrated. It is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll, and one that will leave you feeling deeply moved and inspired. Music Recommendations Artists from Ekat: Zemfira & t.A.T.u “Zemfira walked so girl in red could run” (I don’t care they’re “fake lesbians. Sorry not sorry!) Songs from Andrea Sweet Diana by Willowbrook She by Dodie The One I Love by Ellen Krauss Space Girl by Frances Forever Girls by girl in red Ekat’s Reading Recommendations (continued) Queer Phenomenology (2006) by Sara Ahmed A groundbreaking work that challenges traditional ways of thinking about sexuality and identity, Sara Ahmed explores how our experiences are shaped by our sexuality, and how this orientation can be both limiting and liberating, and by social norms and expectations, which can be challenged and subverted through queer phenomenology. Ahmed drawing on her own experiences as a queer woman to illustrate her arguments, making this a must-read for anyone interested in the intersections of sexuality, identity, and phenomenology, and a testament to the power of critical thinking and intellectual curiosity. Notable Mentions: Tender Buttons (1914) by Gertrude Stein Tendencies (1993) by Eve Sedgwick The Price of Salt (1952) by Patricia Highsmith Nightwood (1936) by Djuna Barnes Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982) by Audre Lorde and the poetry of Sophia Parnok, Elizabeth Bishop, & Emily Dickinson. Ekat’s Reading Recommendations If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (2002) (translated by Anne Carson) Sappho of Lesbos (l. c. 620-570 BCE) is known for her lyrical poetry, which explores themes of love, desire, and the beauty of the natural world. Her work has been celebrated for centuries, making her the O.G. lesbian. Carson's translation brings Sappho's words to life in a way that is both accessible and faithful to the original, making this collection a true treasure for anyone who loves great literature (& lesbians). Love as a Hollow: Merleau-Ponty’s Promise of Queer Love (2017) by Megan Burke Burke's essay is a thought-provoking and insightful exploration of the concept of love, drawing on the work of philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty to offer a new perspective on queer love. Her paper is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersections of philosophy, feminism, and queer theory. Anne of Green Gables (1908) Book Recommended By Andrea Although Anne Shirley was not written as a queer character, not surprisingly considering it was published in 1908, Anne is clearly in love with her "bosom friend" Diana Barry. Their passionate and romantic friendship is just as intense and real as her later romance with Gilbert Blythe, making Anne the bisexual icon we all need. This novel, along with the seven others that complete the series, also feature a number of other queer-coded characters. One of my favourites being Miss Lavender, the "old maid" who Anne and Diana befriend in book two: Anne of Avonlea. “Indeed I will,” sobbed Diana, “and I’ll never have another bosom friend—I don’t want to have. I couldn’t love anybody as I love you.” “Oh, Diana,” cried Anne, clasping her hands, “do you love me?” “Why, of course I do. Didn’t you know that?” “No.” Anne drew a long breath. “I thought you liked me of course but I never hoped you loved me. Why, Diana, I didn’t think anybody could love me. Nobody ever has loved me since I can remember. Oh, this is wonderful! It’s a ray of light which will forever shine on the darkness of a path severed from thee, Diana. Oh, just say it once again.” “I love you devotedly, Anne,” said Diana stanchly, “and I always will, you may be sure of that.” “And I will always love thee, Diana,” said Anne, solemnly extending her hand. “In the years to come thy memory will shine like a star over my lonely life, as that last story we read together says. Diana, wilt thou give me a lock of thy jet-black tresses in parting to treasure forevermore?” L.M. Montgomery Andrea’s Book Recommendations Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (2017) by Taylor Jenkins Reid One of my favourite books of the past couple of years; I read it in two sittings, never wanting to put the book down. This book is an interesting look at the queer experience in Hollywood in the 1950s. Bisexuality is represented and validated throughout this story. Evelyn Hugo at one point remarks; “I'm bisexual. Don't ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box.” We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir (2019) by Samra Habib Samra Habib shares their incredible story of growing up as an Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan, arriving in Canada with their family as a refugee, and then facing racism, bullying, and a looming arranged marriage, all as a closeted queer person. Their journey through faith and identity makes for an incredible, thought-provoking read. One Last Stop (2021) by Casey McQuiston This sapphic romantic comedy with a touch of magic fulfilled my desire for a queer book where the main conflict is not about the characters being queer. One Last Stop is a fun read that radiates queer joy. Kiss Her Once For Me (2022) by Alison Cochrun A well-written, feel-good, sapphic holiday read with both interesting character arcs and some classic romcom tropes

Week 2

Week 3

Comics and Graphic Novels Recommended by Jeff and Danielle As The Crow Flies (2017) by Melanie Gillman "Melanie Gillman's webcomic about a queer, black teenager who finds herself stranded in a dangerous and unfamiliar place: an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp." (Goodreads Description) Moonstruck (2018) by Grace Ellis, art by Shae Beagle and Kate Leth "Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it's up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it's too late." (Goodreads Description)           Comics and Graphic Novels cont. Recommended by Jeff and Danielle Bingo Love (2018) by Tee Franklin, art by Jenn St-Onge and Joy San "Bingo Love is a story of a same-sex romance that spans over 60 years. A chance meeting at church bingo in 1963 brings Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray together. Through their formative years, these two women develop feelings for each other and finally profess their love for one another." (Goodreads Description) Snapdragon (2020) by Kat Leyh "Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon is a magical realist graphic novel about a young girl who befriends her town’s witch and discovers the strange magic within herself." (Goodreads Description)Miranda's "To Read" Recommendations History of Canadian Pride This webpage covers the history of queer identities spanning criminalization, decriminalization, removal from the DSM, protests, pride, and celebrations across Canada. Queer resilience and joy are displayed in free, accessible formatting for a comprehensive but not overwhelming informative site to learn about queer history in Canada. Communion: The Female Search for Love (2002) by bell hooks While not explicitly queer media, this book helps to deconstruct heteronormative and patriarchal structures of love as being women's work consisting of emotional labour, subservience, and care. Rather, bell hooks offers an insightful guide to dismantling internal systems of belief that both acknowledge the harms of this way of thinking while offering an alternative to create genuine, authentic, sustainable love.Gender Queer: A Memoir (2019) by Maia Kobabe Recommended by Jeff and Danielle "In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere." (Goodreads Description)Miranda's Music Reccomendations Party Favours by Sir Chloe <COPINGMECHANISM> by WILLOWJeff and Danielle's TV Series Recommendations What We Do In The Shadows (2019 - present) In addition to being one of the funniest shows currently airing, this vampire-centric mockumentary has evolved from early seasons to have some really charming queer relationships, handled in a normalizing manner — in so much as vampires are “normal.” Survivor (2000 - present) Reality TV can be really hit or miss when it comes to queer representation, but in its recent seasons, Survivor has done an excellent job of casting interesting queer contestants of a wide range of identities (at least compared to many other TV casts). Most critically, the show has moved past the era where being queer is presented as a contestant’s entire personality — we get to see some great conversations comparing experiences like growing up and coming out across cultures, but there are also many contestants whose identity is not a focus whatsoever, and we get the chance to learn about other facets of their being.Jeff and Danielle's Movie Recommendations Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) We watched this after a year of hearing hype and praise, but even with those high expectations, we both loved it. At the core of this incredibly weird yet accessible movie is a story about a mother and daughter seeking to understand one another when the daughter brings her girlfriend to meet the family. While there are many other relationships and dynamics to the film, this theme of intergenerational understanding and acceptance runs throughout. Zero Patience (1993) I had the opportunity to watch this 1993 musical comedy in a UFV class on anarchist cinema several years ago, and it was one of the most memorable movies from that class. This Canadian film revolves around the ghost of the man accused of bringing HIV to North America and, while not perfect, it’s incredibly campy, filled with catchy music, and handles a tough subject matter in a way that feels both authentic and approachable.

Week 4

Queer Media: CHASI Staff picks Every week in June a couple of our research assistants have shared their queer media recommendations! Thank you to everyone who has participated and given their recommendations. To finish off our series, our recommendations this week come from Lynsie and Carlanna! TV Series: Queer Eye (2018 - 2023) Recommending by Lynsie Five incredible gay men advising people in the community, applying their expertise to help improve someone's life situation. Every episode makes me weep as you see these people break through barriers, learn about themselves, start building healthy habits, get more in touch with themselves, and learn about the queer community as each of these men shares their stories in different ways throughout the week. Carlanna's Book Recommendations It Came from the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror (2022) As a huge horror genre fan, I’ve always been struck by how often I identify with the ‘monster’ rather than the hero. Turns out I’m not alone- in this anthology, queer and trans writers consider the films that deepened, reflected, and illuminated their own experiences. Writes explore how they have read themselves into beloved horror films, looking for characters and situations that speak to, reflect, and parallel the unique ways queerness exists in the ‘real’ world. Annie on My Mind (1982) This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. The book has been banned from many school libraries and publicly burned in Kansas City. (Goodreads) Carlanna's Book Recommendations cont. Len & Cub: A Queer History (2022) Leonard "Len" Keith and Joseph "Cub" Coates grew up in the rural New Brunswick village of Havelock in the early 20th century. Their time together is catalogued by Len’s photos, which show that the two shared a mutual love of the outdoors, animals, and adventure. Photographs of Len and Cub on hunting and canoe trips with arms around each other’s shoulders or in bed together make clear the affection they held for each other. Their story is one of the oldest photographic records of a same-sex couple in the Maritimes. (Goodreads) Be Gay, Do Comics (2020) Be Gay, Do Comics is filled with dozens of comics about LGBTQIA experiences, ranging from personal stories to queer history to cutting satire about pronoun panic and brands desperate to co-opt pride. Brimming with resilience, inspiration, and humor, an incredible lineup of top indie cartoonists takes you from the American Revolution through Stonewall to today's fights for equality and representation. (Goodreads) Carol (2015) Recommended by Lynise Two women develop a fast bond that becomes a love tangled with many complexities. From the early 1950s, it is a five-star tale of forbidden love between two women. There was terrific chemistry between them, an emotional submissive and dominant dynamic, watchful and intimate. It is not threaded with comedy or irony; it is wholly focused on how these two women fall for one another, imagining a life together in a time when that seemed impossible. Queer Characters in Non-Queer Media: Callie Torres (Grey's Anatomy) Annalise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder) Kalinda Sharma (The Good Wife) Oberyn Martell (Game of Thrones) Carlanna’s Movie Recommendations But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) But I'm a Cheerleader is a 1999 American satirical teen romantic comedy film. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a residential in-patient conversion therapy camp to "cure" her lesbianism. At camp, Megan realizes that she is indeed a lesbian and, despite the therapy, comes to embrace her sexuality. The movie is a campy queer classic that celebrates the beauty of self-discovery, acceptance, and finding a supportive history. The Fear Street Trilogy The Fear Street Trilogy is an American queer-inclusive series of horror films. The films are based on R.L. Stine's book series by the same name. The overall story revolves around teenagers who work to break the curse that has been over their town for hundreds of years. In this series, queer women are not only the lead characters, but a lesbian romance propels the entire narrative. My personal favourite of the trilogy is Fear Street: 1994. Song of Achilles (2011) by Madeline Miller Recommended by Carlanna An adaptation of Homer’s Iliad, The Song of Achilles is told from the perspective of Patroclus, Achilles’ childhood friend, closest confidant, and rumored lover. I’m a huge Greek mythology nerd, but Miller’s book is first and foremost a love story between two men caught up in the tides of time and destiny. This novel beautifully captures the struggles of transitioning from young, innocent queer love to navigating the harsh realities of adulthood, responsibility, and societal pressures (with a side helping of bickering gods and magic). Lynsie's Television Recommendations Broad City (2014 - 2019) Broad City follows two women's daily life in New York, making mundane, everyday events hysterical and outrageous. Simple tasks turn into wild adventures in the Big Apple, with Abbi trying to make a career as an artist, and Ilana, seeking to steer clear of work of any kind. The two have such a funny dynamic as Ilana Glazer and Abbi Abrams explore this real-life friendship. We get to see the fluidity of both of their sexualities as they learn more about themselves and one another. It's the show I can watch again and again. Killing Eve (2018 - 2022) Killing Eve is a British spy thriller television series with Phoebe-Waller-Bridge as the head writer. (I'm a huge fan) The show captures the fluidity of sexuality and the main character, Villanelle, as she wrestles with her intense desires toward another character. It is a cat-and-mouse story, as they pursue each other differently. So much great sexual tension woven into each episode! Music Recommendations Lynsie's Song Recommendations: Honey by Kehlani Super Natural by Ruby Waters Does Your Brain Ever Get This Loud by St. South Free by Florence + the Machine Found You by Kasbo Mountains by Charlotte Day Wilson Waiting Room by Phoebe Bridgers Carlanna’s Song Recommendations: Pristine- Snail Mail PAIN- King Princess I’ll Call You Mine- girl in red Songs with 'Must Watch' Music Videos: Perfect For You- Peach PRC Silk Chiffon- MUNA Poem: Salt by Nayyirah Waheed Recommended by Lynsie She asked 'you are in love what does love look like? to which I replied 'like everything I've ever lost come back to me.' This is one of my favourite poems from this author. It took me many years to navigate my sexuality and understand what love looks like for me, and so this poem illustrates part of what that has felt for me. I've lost time to embrace this part of me and freely love without hesitation or shame. It has looked like having that lost time come back to me.