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Queer studies go tabloid


Lori Yetman is working against time to get dykes on-line and talking openly about lousy doctors and living alone in rural Newfoundland.

“A lot of lesbians are staying in the closet because of adverse reactions from doctors and nurses,” says Yetman, one of the women who runs the tabloid Heterosexism Enquirer, a screamer of a website that tries to mix the deadly serious with a sense of fun.

“It’s pretty serious content… but at the same time, when you go on the web, there’s a part of us that wants to be entertained.”

And Yetman, gender theorist who teaches at the Memorial University Of Newfoundland, is trying to be a populist. “I don’t want something academic. The academic community is exclusionary. And a lot of the lesbian community does not identify with feminism or academia.”

Yetman will present a paper on the Heterosexism Enquirer project this weekend in Hamilton, at the third annual Queer Studies Symposium.

The event is organized by Adrienne Wasik, a student finishing up her degree in philosophy and anthropology. She’s a 23-year-old who grew up in Kitchener – and fled her hometown for Steeltown. “Hamilton’s just grown on me,” she says.

But she’s also looking forward to leaving. “I’ve had little support in planning this,” she says. “It’s a one-woman show. It’s very indicative of Hamilton. I just want a fresh place. Where communities would stick together a bit more. I’m a bit bitter now.”

She’s planning on breathing in the sea air – in Halifax or Vancouver – within the next few months.

Wasik has 23 speakers lined up, who’ll talk about their work to attendees, each paying a grand total of $5 – for the whole day.

Speakers range from academics to community organizers, and a special lunchtime forum on racism in the gay community. Other topics include law, philosophy, religion and health.

The website Yetman designed went up in November with a $30,000 grant (covering everything from salaries to travel) from the Maritime Centre For Excellence In Women’s Health.

The cash runs out in three months. “The project is scheduled to die in April. So we’re going after more funding.

“We need people to participate. The forum’s going pretty slow right now. There are 16 registrants, saying very little!”

Those who sign up are guaranteed anonymity, and can live outside of Newfoundland, though that’s the target audience.

“Most of Newfoundland is rural. It must be extremely bad for lesbians living in rural areas… it must be horrific for gay men, too,” says Yetman.

“We want to begin sharing experiences of heterosexism.”

Yetman’s talk is scheduled for 2pm on Sat, Jan 15. The Heterosexism Enquirer is at http:/ www.mun.ca/the.

 

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