Oscar Nominated Documentary Continues to Make News

Even though the Oscar-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague” (by David France ’81) did not win the Oscar, it continues to garner a great deal of attention. ABC Studios has bought rights to France’s film with the idea of potentially making it into a dramatic miniseries.

France, who co-wrote and directed the documentary, would prepare the adaptation, which could go broader and deeper into the subject of his documentary, he said in an article in the Hollywood Reporter.  France also was recently interviewed about his work on National Public Radio’s Here and Now. His film has been widely honored, receiving awards for the best documentary film of 2012 from the Gothic Independent Film Awards and the Boston Society of Film Critics.

The documentary frames the early years of the AIDS epidemic in the United States and the efforts of activists to call attention to the disease and mobilize appropriate treatment and prevention responses by the government and health care establishment. These efforts were mounted in the face of withering and hostile anti-gay sentiment and general public indifference. France collected footage and documented stories of activists and veterans from the revolutionary era.

If you missed the film or the articles on France’s work, you’ll have a chance to see it and speak with him. France will visit K’s campus for a public screening and director talk-back on May 5. A 7pm screening in the College’s Dalton Theatre is free and open to the public.

Dragging Out Conversation

Six Kalamazoo College representatives at Stetson Chapel
(Left to right, top row) Candido ’00, Finan ’14, Stutz ’14, Wedding ’12 (bottom), Isser ’13, and Epperson ’13. Photo Credit: Elaine Ezekiel ’13

By Elaine Ezekiel ’13

“Reclaiming Crystal Ball: What Drag Means for Us” was the theme of the Week Eight (May 18) Community Reflection in Stetson Chapel. Sponsored by Kaleidoscope, members of the campus’ LGBT organization offered perspectives on drag and the annual Crystal Ball dance.

Chaplain Elizabeth Candido ’00 recalled her experiences attending Crystal Ball as a student, when the event was much smaller and more private.

Elinor Epperson ’13 discussed her experience filming a documentary about Crystal Ball 2011 and the status quo of male attire: “Women have fought hard to earn the right to wear pants, but men wearing skirts is considered abhorrent.”

Caitlin Finan ’14 spoke about choosing her first Crystal Ball costume: a surprisingly comfortable men’s suit. Kaleidoscope co-president Max Wedding ’12 described reclaiming his feminine side through drag. Craig Isser ’13, dressed in rainbow suspenders and matching platform wedges, described his pre-Crystal Ball routine: “Drag shows us how much fun, how different, how okay life can be when we start to lose the limitation of gender.”

Kaleidoscope co-president Hailey Stutz ’14 spoke about her daily struggle with identity though clothing, not just preparing for Crystal Ball.

Finally, Candido offered the audience advice on how to react to the anti-gay protester on campus throughout the week. “The protester is here not to reason with you,” she said, “Don’t allow your anger or your emotions to amplify his voice.”

Following the reflection, attendees signed a poster with an inclusive religious message, which now hangs in Biggby’s coffee shop.

Community Reflection offers a unique forum for discussion, worship, performance, and community expression each Friday at 10:50 AM (refreshments at 10:30) in Stetson Chapel. The entire campus community and general public are invited. The Week 10 (May 25) and final Reflection of the 2011-12 academic year will be devoted to Student Commission Community Awards, in which the K Student Commission honors the accomplishments of students, faculty, and staff. The new Stu-Com Executive Board will also take the oath of office.

Jamie Grant Co-Authors Gender Article in LGBTQ Policy Journal

Jaime Grant, executive director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, has coauthored an op/ed in the May 15 Huffington Post that describes “A Gender Not Listed Here: Genderqueers, Gender Rebels, and OtherWise,” an article she and her coauthors recently published in the Harvard Kennedy School’s LGBTQ Policy Journal.

Grant and coauthors Jack Harrison and Jody L. Herman present new research focused specifically on genderqueer people and describes the risks and resiliencies of those who identify outside the male/female gender binary. Their Policy Journal article shows that genderqueer people have unique demographic characteristics and experiences of discrimination and violence when compared to transgender people who identify as “male” or “female.”