2013 Keynote Speakers
Thursday June 13 8:45-10:05AM
I'm humbled and honoured to present to this remarkable conference Thursday morning. I've been asked to speak from my experience as a healer. I'll address ways that holistic traditions and practices can support the health and wellbeing of trans communities, and how what we call holistic and alternative medicine is uniquely suited to recognize the many intersecting layers of who we are and what we need to live and thrive.
I'll speak to the ways that shifting power and privilege impact our access to care. I’ll also address strategies to challenge the pathologization of our bodies - both the stigma placed on our bodies from without through the medical industrial complex, and the internalized messages we carry inside.
Healers all need healing, too. I’ll share how my own experience as a fat, queer, working class Latina/o transperson living with illness and chronic pain has impacted my work, and the great need to create healing systems that support individuals doing healing work in community.
Each of us deserves health care with respect and compassion, reflecting the transformational justice we're working toward in the world - and we enrich that work when we do it side by side.
Ready to link arms with you *
Geleni Fontaine, Brooklyn, New York
I'm a fat, queer, Latina/o transperson raised and thriving in Brooklyn, New York. I’m a graduate of the Swedish Institute School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine where I studied Classical Chinese Medicine with Jeffrey Yuen, Taoist priest and healer. I’m also a registered nurse with a public health and HIV-counseling background. Today I use my knowledge of Western allopathic medicine to support my holistic East-Asian practice, helping individuals navigating both healthcare systems.
I’m a proud cooperative member and practitioner at Third Root Community Health Center, a worker-run holistic health care center providing transformative, accessible, and empowering care to LGBT, people of color, and all communities in Flatbush, Brooklyn. As a member of the Rock Dove Collective I work with other healers and activists to coordinate a radical community health exchange in NYC. I’m also a former board member of the Audre Lorde Project, the first queer people of color center for organizing in the U.S., and have worked with them recently to develop the Third Space Healing Project.
I’m committed to challenging the pathologization of people of color, queer, trans, disabled, and fat bodies in the allopathic healthcare system, and am a former board member of NOLOSE, an organization dedicated to ending the oppression of fat people and creating vibrant fat queer culture.
As a former anti-violence educator with the Center for Anti-Violence Education I’ve worked with thousands of youth and adults from queer, trans, people of color, disabled, and other communities facing systemic oppression to challenge institutional and interpersonal violence. That’s been a major component of my healing journey.
I believe that healing isn’t something we do alone, but in community - and it must include our minds, bodies, and spirits creating radical responses to the institutional oppression we face as communities. We all deserve respectful care!
Friday June 14 12:45-2:05pm
Decolonizing Gender, Building Alliances: An Asegi Manifesto
"Two-Spirit" is an umbrella term being used in Indigenous communities for people who live outside of colonial gender categories. Two-Spirit people are currently engaged in a process of continuing our lifeways through (re)claiming Two-Spirit identities and imagining decolonial futures. One of the terms in Cherokee that falls under the term "Two-Spirit" in English is asegi udanto, or "strange heart." Within current colonial realities on this continent, calls for decolonization and reimagining gender are rendered "strange" and unimaginable. Blending poetry, performance, and manifesto, this talk argues for decolonization and alliances with Indigenous struggles as central to the liberation of Two-Spirit people, Trans people, and our allies.
Qwo-Li Driskill is a Cherokee Two-Spirit & Queer writer, activist, performer and educator. S/he is the author of Walking with Ghosts: Poems (Salt Publishing) and the co-editor (with Chris Finley, Brian Joseph Gilley, and Scott Lauria Morgensen) of Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature and (with Daniel Heath Justice, Deborah Miranda, and Lisa Tatonetti) of Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature, both published by the University of Arizona Press. Sovereign Erotics received a 2012 Pathfinder Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, a 2012 Silver Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Qwo-Li is an assistant professor in the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies program at Oregon State University. dragonflyrising.com
More info coming soon...