Queer and Trans Students of Color Resource Guide
The Pennsylvania State University is committed to creating a safe and respectful campus for all members of our community including those of all races and ethnicities. The following information provides general resources and media for queer and transgender students of color.
- Community Organizations
The Center for Hispanic Excellence: La Casa Latina promotes greater awareness of Latinx issues, culture, and identity at Penn. La Casa Latina works closely with the Penn community to offer a supportive environment where all students are welcomed and engaged in programs, events, and dialogues that address important issues affecting Latinxs/Hispanics locally, nationally, and internationally.
The Urban Creators was founded in North Central Philadelphia 2010 by a diverse group of young people, unified by a vision to bridge the gap between isolated communities and transforming a 2-acre garbage dump into a farm. We spent our first year organizing door-to-door to gauge the interest and ideas shared by community members and stakeholders, and designing our theory of change. We spent our second year clearing away debris and planting the first seeds of our movement to remediate the polluted soils of injustice in North Philly. Our third year saw the transformation this land into LIFE DO GROW; our urban farm, Community Resource and Innovation center, and our home.
Founded in 2006, TMAN is a grassroots organization based in Philadelphia, PA dedicated in its efforts to uplift people of color along the transmasculine spectrum. TMAN provides extensive networking and referral services that address the unique and underrepresented vocational, educational, legal, social, familial as well as mental and general health care needs of its members through weekly gatherings, special events, and directed activities.
New Voices Pittsburgh promotes the complete health and well-being of Black women and girls in the Greater Pittsburgh Region, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Reproductive Justice is our innovative framework to engage Black women and girls in local, national and global movement-building for Human Rights, Racial and Gender Justice. Through the leadership development, community organizing, policy advocacy, and culture change, New Voices Pittsburgh amplifies the voices of Black women and girls to advance Sexual & Reproductive Health, LGBTQ Rights, Health Care Access, Ending Gender-Based Violence, Ending Mass Incarceration and Environmental Justice.
New York City
This organization based out of NYC is all about bringing up youth leaders in the LGBTQ community. This organization seeks to develop youth of color in the LGBTQ community to be politically conscious leaders, through many different outlets of expression and is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of leaders in the social justice movement.
By virtue of the mission, GMAD is working to improve quality of life within the New York City black gay community by effectively fight the triple threat of AIDS, homophobia and racism through education, advocacy, health and wellness and social support. It was incorporated as a 501 (c ) (3) in 1990 and moved into a larger office space in Harlem in 2001 after spending several years in Chelsea and the West Village.
In honor of the Icon Legendary Princess Janae Banks. A housing facility for people of Trans experience. Providing shelter, mental health, medical, legal, job placement, and general support services. As they transition from homeless to independent living. By helping people of Trans experience maximize their full potential providing residential, educational, clinical and recreational services that create and nurture connections to the community and the natural world.
Tarab NYC, a non-profit, fosters an inclusive and safe community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and/or gender non-conforming Arab, Middle Eastern, and/or North African people in the greater New York City area.
The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area. Through mobilization, education, and capacity-building, we work for community wellness and progressive social and economic justice. Committed to struggling across differences, we seek to responsibly reflect, represent and serve our various communities.
TWOCC is a grass-roots funded global initiative created to offer opportunities for trans people of color, our families, and our comrades to engage in healing, foster kinship, and build community. We strive to educate and empower each other through sharing skills, knowledge, and resources as we build towards the liberation of all oppressed people.
- Written Works
Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where “Black” Meets “Queer” – Karyn Bond Stockton
Stockton asserts that there is no clear, mirrored relation between the terms “black” and “queer”; rather, seemingly definitive associations attached to each are often taken up or crossed through by the other. All of the thinkers Stockton considers scrutinize the social nature of shame as they examine the structures that make debasements possible, bearable, pleasurable, and creative, even in their darkness
Black Girl Dangerous – Mia McKenzie
In this collection of her work from BGD (now available only in this book), McKenzie's nuanced analysis of intersecting systems of oppression goes deep to reveal the complicated truths of a multiply-marginalized experience. McKenzie tackles the hardest questions of our time with clarity and courage, in language that is accessible to non-academics and academics alike.
Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna – Samarashina
This passionate and riveting memoir is a mixtape of dreams and nightmares, of immigration court lineups and queer South Asian dance nights; it reveals how a disabled queer woman of color and abuse survivor navigates the dirty river of the past and, as the subtitle suggests, "dreams her way home."
Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics – Jose Munoz
José Esteban Muñoz looks at how those outside the racial and sexual mainstream negotiate majority culture—not by aligning themselves with or against exclusionary works but rather by transforming these works for their own cultural purposes.
Even This Page is White – Vivek Shraya
Poems that range in style from starkly concrete to limber break down the barriers that prevent understanding of what it means to be racialized. Shraya paints the face of everyday racism with words, rendering it visible, tangible and undeniable.
Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures – Gayatri Gopinath
By bringing queer theory to bear on ideas of diaspora, Gayatri Gopinath produces both a more compelling queer theory and a more nuanced understanding of diaspora. Focusing on queer female diasporic subjectivity, Gopinath develops a theory of diaspora apart from the logic of blood, authenticity, and patrilineal descent that she argues invariably forms the core of conventional formulations.
Queer Race: Cultural Interventions in the Radical Politics of Queer Theory – Ian Barnard
Queer Race understands race as inextricably sexualized, as sexuality is always racially marked. The book critically and playfully explores intellectual and political deployments of the term queer, gay pornographic videos about South Africa, contemporary literary representations of interracial gay desire, the writings of Gloria Anzaldua, and Jeffrey Dahmer's criminal trial. Through these explorations, Queer Race charts a framework for understanding the race of queer theory that both tests queer theory's limits and suggests its future inter-relations with anti-racist work.
Sister Outsider – Audre Lorde
These essays explore and illuminate the roots of Lorde's intellectual development and her deep-seated and longstanding concerns about ways of increasing empowerment among minority women writers and the absolute necessity to explicate the concept of difference—difference according to sex, race, and economic status.
The Queer Art of Failure – Jack Halberstam
The Queer Art of Failure is about finding alternatives—to conventional understandings of success in a heteronormative, capitalist society; to academic disciplines that confirm what is already known according to approved methods of knowing; and to cultural criticism that claims to break new ground but cleaves to conventional archives.
Walking with Ghosts – Qwo Li Driskill
Written from a contemporary Cherokee, Queer and mixed-race experience, these poems confront a legacy of land-theft, genocide, and forced removal, and resist ongoing attacks on both Indigenous and Gay/ Lesbian/ Bisexual /Transgender communities. Tender, startling, confrontational and erotic, this book honors the dead and brings the survivors back home.
- Films, Video, and Shows
Against a Trans Narrative (2008) – Jules Rosskam
Blending fiction, nonfiction, and experimental film genres, against a trans narrative employs a gender-busting combination of intimate diary footage, stylized dramatic scenes, spoken word performance, faux audition tapes, and roundtable interview footage to explore and initiate a dialogue between feminists, queers, and transfolk about the way we construct personal and historical narratives. Careful attention is paid to the ways generation, race, class, and culture impact our understandings of gender.
Arrival (2016) – Alex Myung
Written, Directed and Animated by Alex Myung, this 2D-animated film explores one boy's struggle to face the truth of his life and love, and reveal it to the person he cares about most. Arrival delves into the often unexamined ripple effect that hiding your true self has on loved ones around you.
Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin (2002) – Nancy Kates & Bennett Singler
Brother Outsider: the Life of Bayard Rustin combines rare archival footage — some of it never before broadcast in the U.S. — with provocative interviews to illuminate the life and work of a forgotten prophet of social change
Call Me Kuchu (2012) – Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Call Me Kuchu is a 2012 American documentary film directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright. The film explores the struggles of the LGBT community in Uganda, focusing in part on the 2011 murder of LGBT activist David Kato.
Mala Mala (2014) – Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles
This film shows several stories of the transgender community in Puerto Rico, including April Carrion, well-known drag queen who participated in the reality show RuPaul's Drag Race. Mala Mala also includes the historic victory of the LGBT community with the approval and signature of Law 238-2014 (in Puerto Rico), which prevents discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Moonlight (2016) – Barry Jenkins
The film presents three stages in the life of the main character. It explores the difficulties he faces with his own sexuality and identity, including the physical and emotional abuse he receives as a result
Naz & Maalik (2015) – Jay Dockendorf
Two closeted Muslim teens hawk goods across Brooklyn and struggle to come clean about their sexuality, as their secretive behavior leads them unknowingly into the cross-hairs of the War on Terror.
Pariah (2011) – Dee Rees
Teenage Alike (Adepero Oduye) lives in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood with her parents (Charles Parnell, Kim Wayans) and younger sister (Sahra Mellesse). A lesbian, Alike quietly embraces her identity and is looking for her first lover, but she wonders how much she can truly confide in her family, especially with her parents' marriage already strained. When Alike's mother presses her to befriend a colleague's daughter (Aasha Davis), Alike finds the gal to be a pleasant companion.
Paris is Burning (1990) – Jennie Livingston
Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. Some critics consider the film to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the "Golden Age" of New York City drag balls, and a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.
Sense8 (2015) – The Wachowskis
A group of strangers all experience a rebirth which inexplicably links them intellectually emotionally and sensually we are taken along their journey to discover exactly what they are going through witnessing their interactions from face to face conversations from opposite sides of the world without the use of any devices, using each other's skills and abilities, learning about each other, all the while being pursued by a secretive group that wish to lobotomise them in order to prevent an evolutionary path they do not wish to become humanity's future.
Shinjuku Boys (1995) – Kim Longinotto
"Through low-key cinéma vérité filmmaking, Longinotto and Williams provide insight into the professional and personal lives of the trio of onnabe [sic]".Sarah Cronin of Electric Sheep Magazine also notes that "Despite the fact that it's a cruder, more dated film, it's the strength of the interviews in Shinjuku Boys that makes it an even more arresting documentary."
Stud Life (2012) – Campbell Ex
JJ is a 'Stud' Lesbian. Together with her best friend Seb, a gay pretty boy, they work as wedding photographers. When JJ falls in love with a beautiful diva, JJ and Seb's friendship is tested. JJ is forced to choose between her hot new lover and her best friend.
Tangerine (2015) – Sean Baker
A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.
Tongues Untied (1989) – Marlon T. Riggs
Marlon Riggs, with assistance from other gay Black men, especially poet Essex Hemphill, celebrates Black men loving Black men as a revolutionary act. The film intercuts footage of Hemphill reciting his poetry, Riggs telling the story of his growing up, scenes of men in social intercourse and dance, and various comic riffs, including a visit to the "Institute of Snap!thology," where men take lessons in how to snap their fingers: the sling snap, the point snap, the diva snap. The film closes with obituaries for victims of AIDS and archival footage of the civil rights movement placed next to footage of Black men marching in a gay pride parade.
The Watermelon Woman (1996) – Cheryl Dunye
Cheryl is young, Black, and lesbian, working in Philadelphia with her best friend Tamara and consumed by a film project: to make a video about her search for a Black actress from Philly who appeared in films in the 30s and was known as the Watermelon Woman. Following various leads, Cheryl discovers the Watermelon Woman's stage name and real name and surmises that the actress had a long affair with Martha Page, a White woman and one of Hollywood's few female directors. As she's discovering these things, Cheryl becomes involved with Diana, who's also White. The affair strains Cheryl's friendship with Tamara. More discoveries bring Cheryl (and us, her audience) to new realizations.
- Penn State Resources
Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity - Located on the lower level of the HUB Robeson Center, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity is committed to serving students and their holistic student development. The Center also has discussion groups for students with multiple marginalized identities.
Multicultural Resource Center - The Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) provides individual counseling and educational services for undergraduate multicultural students at University Park and assists students in meeting the challenges associated with education and attaining a degree at a major research institution. MRC counselors work with students on a variety of issues, and the staff is dedicated to helping students succeed and graduate from Penn State.
Paul Robeson Cultural Center - The Paul Robeson Cultural Center provides programs and services that encourage the appreciation of the diverse perspectives, experiences, and cultures of many under-represented communities that comprise the student, faculty, staff, and community population of University Park and State College, Pennsylvania.
In each academic department, there are professionals dedicated to diversity and inclusion. Please see the Treasure student resource book for a comprehensive list of professionals and their departments.
A list of Multicultural Leaders is also available on our Explore Resources site.
There are student organizations that are open and affirming to students with intersecting identities and multiple marginalized identities.
Commonwealth Campus LGBTQ Organizations (by campus)
Sovereign Magazine - This magazine is Penn State’s first and only magazine produced by and for students of color. This free magazine is a resource for students to know of the goings-on of communities of color at this institution.