Gavin Grimm is a 19-year-old recent high school graduate from Gloucester, Virginia. He is transgender. As part of his medical treatment for severe gender dysphoria, Gavin and his mother notified administrators of his male gender identity at the beginning of his sophomore year so that he could socially transition in all aspects of his life. With permission from school administrators, Gavin used the boys’ restroom for almost two months without any incident. But after receiving complaints from some parents and residents of Gloucester County, the school board adopted a new policy banning Gavin from using the boys’ restrooms on December 9, 2014, by a vote of 6-1, despite warnings from the ACLU. The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on Gavin’s behalf and filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking the court to rule in time for Gavin to be able to use the same restroom as other boys at Gloucester High School when classes resumed for the 2015-16 school year. The lawsuit argues the bathroom policy is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment and violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools. [...] Gavin graduated high school in June 2017—still unable to use the same restroom as other boys. On May 22, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied the school district's request to dismiss the case, agreed with the ACLU that the school violated the rights of transgender students under Title IX, and ordered a settlement conference. Gavin is now waiting to find out whether the school will try to appeal or settle the case.
KIKI follows seven characters from the Kiki community over the course of four years, using their preparations and spectacular performances at events known as Kiki balls as a framing device while delving into their battles with homelessness, illness, and prejudice as well as their gains towards political influence and the conquering of affirming gender expressions. In KIKI we meet Twiggy Pucci Garçon, the founder and gatekeeper for the Haus of Pucci, Chi Chi, Gia, Chris, Divo, Symba and Zariya. Each of these remarkable young people represents a unique and powerful personal story, illuminating the Kiki scene in particular, as well as queer life in the U.S. for LGBTQ youth-of-color as a whole.
Francisco Gonzalez Jr., better known as "Mother Chi Chi Unbothered Mizrahi," is a stakeholder and community advocate for the House and Ballroom Community. Born on January 31, 1987 in Brooklyn, NY, he is the youngest of 4 brothers and sisters. He has been an active member of the Kiki scene and Ballroom scene for over 10 years. He entered the HIV Prevention Field at the age of 19; his work with youth affected by HIV and youth advocacy has provided him with many opportunities such as appearing in an Adidas Campaign, Paper Magazine's "Night Life" issue, the AMFAR Gala opening act, and as a principal dancer Icona Pops’ “All Night” music video. He recently traveled to Belfast, Ireland to introduce the House and Ballroom culture to the LGBTQ community. After getting his professional start as a community health specialist at FACES NY, Inc, he is currently a program coordinator for Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Peter Krueger Clinic, located in Manhattan. Chi Chi continues his work with the House and Ballroom Community and the Kiki scene. His selfless dedication to the youth and the community hasn’t gone unnoticed. He is the founding mother and creator of the House of Unbothered-Cartier and Empress of the Legendary House of Mizrahi. He is looked on as a mentor to many in the Ballroom Community. Chi Chi’s Ballroom Category is Vogue Fem, and his Kiki scene category is runway. He has dominated the Voguing category from state to state, as one of the most popular voguers. His playful personality, endless love, and nurturing ways are a representation of how he keeps the youth of his community safe. "Live In Your Truth " is his life-long motto for himself and for those with whom he's affiliated.
Caleb Luna is a writer, activist, teacher, performer, fat babe, and Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, where their work broadly explores the intersections of fatness, desire, white supremacy, and colonialism from a queer of color lens. Their current project focuses on the mutually constitutive relationship between (fat) bodies and discourse. You can find more of their writing on Black Girl Dangerous, Everyday Feminism, and The Body Is Not An Apology.
Cyree Jarelle Johnson is a writer and librarian living in New York City. His first book of poetry, SLINGSHOT, will be published by Nightboat Books in 2019. He is currently an Undergraduate Creative Writing Teaching Fellow at Columbia University, where he is also a candidate for an M.F.A. His work has appeared recently in The New York Times and WUSSY. He has given speeches and lectures at the White House, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, Tufts University, and Mother Bethel AME Church, among other venues. His work has been profiled on PBS Newshour and Mashable. Cyree Jarelle has received fellowships and grants from Culture/Strike, Leeway Foundation, Astraea Foundation, Rewire.News/Disabled Writers, Columbia University, and the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund. He is a founding member of The Harriet Tubman Collective and The Deaf Poets Society.
Mary Lambert isn’t your typical pop artist. Inspired by confessional folk singers as well as spoken-word performers, she is a brutally candid writer who deals directly in her art with her past traumas. Lambert was raised in an abusive home, attempted suicide at 17, turned to drugs and alcohol before being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and survived multiple sexual assaults throughout her childhood. With a past of horrors, you wouldn’t expect Mary to be disarmingly joyful, but she charms effortlessly, and the effect on her audience is bewitching. She describes her performances as "safe spaces where crying is encouraged; [her] entire prerogative is about connection, about being present, and facilitating true catharsis. Also, fart jokes." Mary Lambert’s latest EP, Bold, is her first release since leaving Capitol Records, and was fully funded through a Kickstarter campaign that met its $70,000 goal in three days, a testament to the passionate communities she represents. Lambert’s latest project is a poetry collection called “Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across,” a witty and heartbreaking exploration into childhood abuse, sexual trauma, and mental illness. Published by Macmillan, the book [was] released and available worldwide in October of 2018.
Performers from the Imperial Court of Western Massachusetts, Performers from ChiBi Con: The Traveling Cosplay Show, and more!