Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2013

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Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2013

Katy Pyle was trained in ballet as a child, then moved toward modern dance while in college. Yet she didn’t stop there, and her creative curiosity lead her into multimedia and performance art. This year, Pyle debuted “The Firebird, a Ballez” at Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church in which a lesbian princess meets a tranimal  Firebird  part bird, part prince. “Firebird, Ballez” was inspired by the original 1910 production of “The Firebird” by Michel Fokine with music by Stravinsky. Pyle's production used an all transgender and lesbian cast, and garnered critical attention by the The New York Times.

10) "Grace Under Pressure" – Joo-Hyun Kang, community organizer / activist / executive director

The controversial program, “Stop and Frisk,” run by New York Police Department has systematically racially profiled people of color for potential criminal activity. The policy had been in effect in the city for over a decade. But, in recent years, community leaders have brought this practice into the public discourse, making it one of the key issues in the City’s choice for a new mayor. Joo-Hyun Kang has been one of the outspoken leaders on this issue as the current Executive Director of the Communities United for Police Reform. CPR just won the Community Safety Act, a landmark piece of legislation to end police discrimination and thus setting a standard for other urban centers dealing with racial discrimination.

11) “The art of Gaman” – Tina Takemoto, visual studies scholar / performance artist

Former Rutgers University graduate student Tina Takemoto has focused her work on issues of race, ethnicity, queer identity, memory, and grief. As a visual studies professor at California College of the Arts, Tina continues to capture that attention in the arts and queer societies through her current works on Japanese American internment campus during WWII and other pieces. In May 2013, Takemoto was featured at San Francisco’s Spirit: A Hundred Years of Queer Asian Activism Performance, where she joined over 23 queer Asian artists and cultural activists  a collaboration that showed the diversity of queer Asian and Asian American perspectives and experience. Her works have been shown both nationally and internationally, receiving grants from multiple resources such as Art Matters, James Irvine Foundation, and San Francisco Arts Commission. Other accolades include winning Best Experimental Film Jury Award at the Austin LGBT International Film Festival (Looking for Jiro) and having articles published in Afterimage, Art Journal, Performance Research, and more. At the moment, Tina serves as the board president of the Queer Cultural Center and co-founder of Queer Conversations on Culture and the Arts.

12) “The Punk Writer” – Imogen Binnie, novelist

This is quite possibly the breakthrough year for transgender novelists. With the launch of Topside Press — dedicated to publishing transgender narratives  the diversity of fresh voices are flooding into queer culture. Topside earned honors this year at the LAMDA Literary Awards in the category of transgender fiction for their anthology, The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard. Included in The Collection is Imogen Binnie who was also Topside's first novelist published. In her work Nevada, Binnie’s narrative avoids all the tropes that we’ve become used to in the portrayals of transgender folks and instead has brought a full, authentic, raw, humorous voice into the literary world.

13) “The Critical Darling” – Lisa Kron, actress / playwright