QTC Addresses Safety and Justice in Queer and Trans Communities

by Paul Chung '14
Julia Serrano
Writer, activist, and performer Julia Serano (pictured) held a workshop entitled "Sexualization and Marginalization" as part of this year's QTC.

The 2014 Queer and Trans Conference (QTC) recently convened at Swarthmore, with this year's theme "Resisting Violence, Building Queer Safety."

The conference posed a number of essential and overarching questions: What is safety? Whose safety is valued? At whose expense? What would real safety look like?

The 2014 QTC schedule included several lectures, performances, and workshops by prominent community activists, scholars, and performers like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, THEESatisfaction, the Icarus Project, and Julia Serano

Maria Elena Covarrubias '15, a member of this year's QTC planning committee, said that the aim of this year's conference was to start a conversation about timely and critical issues regarding justice and violence in queer and trans communities, and to envision communities and alternative justice systems that are safe for queer and trans people. 

"It turned out that most of us were interested in how the (supposed) justice system ends up creating injustices within queer and trans communities," says Covarrubias, a political science major from Portland, Ore. "As well, we were thinking about the higher rates of certain forms of violence (sexual violence, hate crimes) within queer/trans communities, which current justice systems haven't been fixing."

QTC, formerly the Sager Symposium until 2008, is an annual, student-run conference at Swarthmore College that "explores critical topics of queer and trans thinking, playing, working, organizing, and living." The conference, now in its 25th year, was first organized in 1989.