|Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer and Allies Section|
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer and Allies (LGBTQA) Section exists to provide professional support for members of the American Folklore Society who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise queer. The Section also encourages research into specific aspects of LGBTQ culture and promotes the study of how LGBTQ issues are dynamically interrelated with the folk expressions of the greater human community. The Section serves as a folklore resource to researchers and teachers and maintains an open dialogue with academic and public sector folklore programs on issues of mutual interest and concern. Non-LGBTQ people (Allies) are also encouraged to join this section and participate in its activities.
To paraphrase the American Anthropological Association, studies of
LGBTQ culture are important to the advancement
of folklore as an academic discipline and to the well being of the
American Folklore Society. The LGBTQA Section was organized
in an era of LGBTQ academic stigma and cultural invisibility. It is
therefore committed to raising awareness of LGBTQ cultural
expression and research. The Section seeks to identify issues that
sexual minorities are facing now and have faced in the
past, while keeping abreast of LGBTQ-related trends and attitudes in
an ever-changing society. We will post an up-to-date bibliography of
LGBTQ folklore/folklife scholarship, including an inventory of LGBTQ
papers delivered at AFS over the past three decades, to this page in the
During the AFS annual meeting the Section holds an annual meeting to conduct Section business, promote communication among members, and discuss topics of importance in the arenas of academic and public folklore including career issues, research opportunities, and assessments of the field in relation to LGBTQ expressions.
The Section has an internet group for discussions of LGBTQ issues
relating to folklore. To join this American Folklore
Society interest-group section, please visit the AFS membership page
of this web site. You need not be a member of the
American Folklore Society to join its sections.
In order to encourage research and improve scholarship, the Section sponsors a student prize. One hundred dollars and society-wide recognition will be awarded to the best undergraduate or graduate student paper or production on LGBTQ traditional vernacular culture and/or on Queer theory and folklore. Submissions are eligible whether or not they have been published. They should be no longer than thirty double-spaced pages. To submit an entry for consideration, the author must be enrolled in a degree program as of the submission deadline. The winner is announced at the annual AFS Meeting in October.
The next submission deadline is October 15, 2011. Entries should be e-mailed to either of the conveners no later than that date. For submissions that include audiotapes, videotapes, DVDs or other media, please e-mail either of the conveners to describe the project and obtain a mailing address. Nominated authors or producers are not required to be members of the American Folklore Society.
The Section awarded Memorial University of Newfoundland PhD candidate
Sarah J. Moore its 2006 LGBTQ Student Folklore Prize
for her study, "Coming Out Stories: Personal Experience Narratives in
the Gay and Lesbian Community."
Faculty and students in the LGBTQA section have observed with keen interest the current political debate concerning gay marriage. Enacted across cultures in many ways, marriage is a rich subject for interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences, including folklore. A complex gender, family, community, and often spiritual transaction, marriage lends itself to folklore study as a rite of passage involving variable customs and beliefs. Humans continue to ask why marriage exists, how to perform it, and who is or is not allowed to participate. The study of marriage is a basis for people to understand others different from themselves. Legislative and other political expressions of intolerance for LGBTQ unions/marriages in the U.S. and elsewhere prevent significant numbers of citizens from acquiring legal recognition of unions and receiving associated social, political, and economic benefits. This includes members of the AFS.
Members of the American Folklore Society's LGBTQA Section therefore
1) urge scholars, particularly those within AFS, to
continue their efforts to understand marriage inclusively, critically,
and respectfully, in all its forms, especially forms
emergent in LGBTQ communities, and 2) object to all forms of exclusion
which deny LGBTQ persons the full range of human rights
and privileges, legal protections, and economic benefits available to
other persons in legalized domestic partnerships.