Larry La Fountain-Stokes was at Hofstra last week and he gave a fabulous talk in the Cultural Theatre on the topic of queer history, specifically about his book “A Brief and Transformative Account of Queer History.” A topic that for some can be controversial or confusing, but I think the confusion spawns from a lack of understanding or knowledge about the topic. That’s why I think it is so amazing that Larry La Fountain helped make a book for younger audiences to understand these topics that can be complex. I actually want to buy the book now to add it to my collection. I think it is important to have materials like “A Brief and Transformative Account of Queer History,” because the topic doesn’t have to be complex. Simple language can be used to explain areas that may be confusing to children and adults who haven’t necessarily experienced it themselves. Expanding your perspective of the world is important and I think Larry La Fountain’s talk really contributes to spreading knowledge for the progression of LGBTQ rights.
Informing people about the queer history is very important because I think it allows people to see that this has been an ongoing fight for rights and equality in the queer community. It isn’t a recent thing that people are upset about, in fact it has been happening throughout history. Specifically, Latinx queer history is important because as Larry La Fountain discussed, in Spanish there aren’t necessarily accurate translations for certain English queer terms, like gender nonconforming or transgender, instead there are words that don’t really explain the identity of the person it just kind of labels them. Queer history doesn’t translate into a universal language, instead cultures use slang terms like “pato” in Spanish or the use of “fairy” in English. These slang terms tend to pick up a negative connotation because they are generally formed from a place of ignorance instead of a place of understanding. If Latinx queer history is made known perhaps new terms that accurately represent these groups will be able to develop in the language.
Larry La Fountain brought along paper dolls to help him tell the stories of powerful figures that shaped queer history, like, Oscar Wilde, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera to name a few.
I think Latinx queer history teaches us that it should be a right to have control of your own identity and be who you want to be, but in history and even today that’s not always the case. That’s another reason why it is important to spread the stories of Latinx Queer history because the more people know the better they can understand another’s perspective and in my experience expanding your perspective leads to positive change.
You can find “A Brief and Transformative Account of Queer History” at https://enciclopediadeiknumena.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/queer-history-is-on-the-way/