Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2013

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Velvetpark's Official Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2013

Ajuan Mance is a much-beloved professor at Mills College teaching African American literature, 19th-century American literature, U.S. popular culture, the oral tradition in U.S. literature, Black feminist thought, and African American art. She is also a life-long artist who actively inspires other women of color to pursue the fine arts. Last year, Mance began a series of portraits entitled 1001 Black Men, in which she illustrates a portait a day. Mance has said, "I am inspired by the faces I sees in Oakland every day, and by my memories of the family, friends, and neighbors I grew up with." 1001 Black Men was on view at California Institute of Integral Studies this summer.

23) "Raised by Wolves" – Julie Tolentino, performance artist / activist / dancer

Julie Tolentino is one of the most prolific artists in one of the most endurance-driven genres of art, extreme performance. With a career spanning over two decades, things are not slowing down, but only ratcheting up of her. Tolentino began her career in New York City as an ACTUP AIDS activist and founder of the legendary Clit Club. Today, her curriculum vitae includes museum and gallery shows all over the world, with performances that include collaborations with artist such as Meg Stuart, Ron Athey, Madonna, Catherine Opie, David Rousseve, Gran Fury, Rodarte, and many others. This year alone, Tolentino was featured at Performa13and the New Museum in New York, and Commonwealth & Council in Los Angeles (to name only a few.) Tolentino divids her time between L.A. and Joshua Tree, where she has a sustainable living studio and is currently the Provocations editor for The Drama Review/MIT Press.

24) "The Live Wire" – Sini Anderson, filmmaker / performance artist / poet

In 2013, Sister Spit’s Sini Anderson debuted her documentary on riot grrrl, Kathleen Hanna, after three years in the making. The Punk Singer first graced crowds at Austin’s SXSW Festival in March and has since reached wider audiences in New York and Los Angeles, along with a digital release via iTunes. It has earned solid reviews all along the way. The revealing and highly personal work traces the lines of Hanna’s life from her early performance days through her more recent battle with late-stage Lyme disease, a disease Anderson is also battling. Anderson has said of her motivations for the film that “Anyone making progressive motions towards change within art, feminism or interpersonally is gonna be moved by her story. It's not hard to be drawn to Kathleen Hanna's story.”

25) "The Scene Stealer" – Laverne Cox, actress / reality TV star / advocate

When Orange Is the New Black debuted earlier in 2013 on Netflix, viewers all gravitated to their own favorite characters choosing between Piper, Alex, Taystee, Crazy Eyes, and others. But pretty much everyone immediately adored Sophia Burset, the transwoman character brought gloriously to life by transwoman actress Laverne Cox. While Cox had previously earned fans and accolades through her appearances on I Want to Work for Diddy, TRANSform Me, Law & Order: SVU, and others, she has gone big with OITNB, bringing not only the visibility of transgenders, but also their accompanying issues, into the mainstream through a beautifully nuanced and truly lovable character.


Our deepest gratitude and respect goes out to you. Keep doing what you do.
- Velvetpark