Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2011

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Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2011

After dedicating the past couple of years to her impressive writings in YA Literature, Jeanette Winterson has given us another emotional tour de force with her new memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, in which she mines old territory ( her troubled childhood raised by evangelist parents, then coming out at age 16) and brings the story into a fresh, stark, almost shocking relief. Author of such seminal lesbian books as Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Sexing the Cherry, and Written on the Body, Winterson is a writer of startling invention and originality, pushing the boundaries of gender, love and everything else in the most intoxicating ways. When so many writers are formulaic and predictable, she holds the mind completely captive, always seducing and luring it somewhere new.

21. The Feminist Evolution - Elizabeth Grosz, Queer Feminist Philosopher, Writer, Teacher

Arguably the leading queer feminist thinker of the 21st century, Elizabeth Grosz confirmed her status with the publication of her seminal Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism in 1994. She has tirelessly worked to reorient academic feminism away from trite discussions about the rhetoric and semantics of “identity” and towards a new frontier of thinking about and through the body—the very real materiality of the body—in relation to ethics. Grosz found her footing through Darwin with the recent publications of The Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution and the Untimely (2004) and Time Travels: Feminism, Nature, Power (2005) and has undeniably become the leading scholar on queering Darwin with this year’s publication of becoming undone: Darwinian Reflections on Life, Politics and Art (2011). Known for her humility and graciousness by her peers and students, Grosz's dedication to thinking through the body ensures the promise of new futures for us all.

22. Stand and Deliver - Krys "bLaKtivist" Freeman, Viral Media Strategist, Web 2.0 Evangelist

Krys "bLaKtivist" Freeman is a Masculine of Center writer, viral media strategist and activist, as well as founder of "The Definition," an online community and blog dedicated to promoting visible community for masculine of center women, transmen and allies. A child of the digital age, s/he likes to be thought of as a web 2.0 evangelist. In June 2011, Krys began working on her first startup, BettaSTOP, which is an SMS application that offers commuters the ability to give immediate feedback on their transit experience, whether they own a smart phone or not. "I want everyday revolution," says Krys. "And I want revolution every day. Some days that looks like creating space. Some days, it’s creating conversations. Some days, it looks like creating an app that ensures that low-income citizens, people of color… everyone can have safe transportation."

23. v is for victory - Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Performer, Author

2011 was a big year for Mx. Justin Vivian Bond. v released a full LP, entitled Dendrophile, which features titles like “Salome,” “Genet Song,” and “The Golden Age of Hustlers.” In September, Bond’s first book, the powerful mini-memoir out from Feminist Press, Tango: My Childhood, Backwards in High Heels, was released to great acclaim and adored for its frank exploration of childhood sexuality and reconsideration of “family.” In preparation for the book’s much deserved press, Bond bravely announced and claimed the terms of v’s gender identity in a finely-articulated and moving post on v’s blog “Justin Bond Is Living.” On the heels of this proclamation, Bond handled a tacky portrait of v in New York Magazine with dignity and just the slightest throw of shade. Time and time again this year, Mx. Bond has reminded us not merely to become—but also to confront, claim, and care for—ourselves.

24. Out on a Lim - Elisha Lim, Illustrator, Musician, Activist, Artist

Elisha Lim, who grew up in a Catholic convent in Singapore, traveled the globe in 2011, spreading gorgeous graphic art like Johnny Queer Appleseeds from Costa Rica to Houston back to their home city of Montreal and everywhere in between. You’ve likely been drooling over Lim’s 2012 calendar, “Sissies and the Femmes Who Inspire Us,” a follow-up to Lim’s breakthrough graphic memoir 100 Butches, which has been hyped by Alison Bechdel and is out from Magnus Books this month. The book explores the resonance of the term “butch” in a queer, politicized context; Lim’s subjects discuss how such language is useful or polarizing in defining themselves. Their line art is clean and sharp, accented with colors and as deliberate and delicate as the accompanying text.

25. Dressed for Success - Crystal González-Alé & Ivette González-Alé, Founders of Marimacho 

After years of trying to find clothing that fits, Crystal and Ivette González-Alé decided that it was time to create a clothing line that catered to the masculine center women who often had to painstakingly search at both men’s and women’s clothing stores in order to find the “right fit.” And Marimacho ("tom boi" in Spanish) was born. With the appropriation of this Spanish slang, the González-Alé’s have reclaimed the term. The clothing is a combination of menswear with female proportions. Crystal and Ivette were able to create quality clothing that is usually hard to find or too expensive to get tailored. Their boi bombers, blazers, and button ups are so well made giving a dapper dude a happy alternative to the ill-fitting disappointments in the men's department.

Comments [8]

Conlite's picture

I had forgotten about Hege

I had forgotten about Hege and Toril!  And such dyke heroes should not be forgotten!  Thanks for pulling this list together.

Tosha's picture

saw Pariah this afternoon

it was so good i wanted to stand up and cheer.  Moving, real, and real funny too.

Marcie Bianco's picture

got sidetracked the other

got sidetracked the other night but am definitely planning to see it this coming week! everyone's been raving about it! (we'll be running our own review of the film this Monday!)

Jess Glenny's picture

Good list.

I really enjoy this site, but I'd love to see more UK content in general. Do you need a UK correspondent?

Marcie Bianco's picture

Jess! yes! email me, please?

Jess! yes! email me, please? let's set this up!

Jess Glenny's picture

Will do later.

Off to teach now.

Steph's picture

Okey dokey, glad to see

Okey dokey, glad to see there's at least one Brit (that I know of) on the list!  I have mixed views on Jeantette but her memoir is a work of brilliance and she is a champion of the english language which can only be a good thing.

A belated happy christmas to everyone and here's to 2012!  Gonna be a biggie here - not only do we have the Queen's Diamond Jubliee (bring on the double bank holiday) it's also the London Olympics.  Me, gf and pooch are running off to France for the whole 2 weeks - it's gonna be hell on earth on the trains and tubes so we'll leave it for the tourists!

Marcie Bianco's picture

happy holidays, Steph! 

happy holidays, Steph!