Please join us for an exciting two hours of conversation on the intersections of Blackness and queerness: 

A Life That’s Good: Queer Perspectives on “Blood,” Sex and Health, featuring Marlon M. Bailey, OmiSoore H. Dryden and Jeffrey Q. McCune


When: Thursday, October 25, 2018, 4 – 6 PM

Where: JHB100A, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street

Who: Everyone interested in thoughtful and respectful dialogue welcome.



“POST-DL Clean Up:  Addressing the Suspect to Criminal Pendulum”

-Jeffrey Q. McCune

I ended Sexual Discretion discussing the development of the “sexual suspect” within black communities; embodies in any man who crossed the threshold of normative gender roles. Today, in lieu of HIV-Criminalization, it seems that communities corroborate with not only the criminalization of HIV, but the criminalization of all those who are seen as more vulnerable to its impacts. I am interested in a discussion about the implications for community treatment around HIV, which is tethered to HIV-positive subjects, as well as those who are understood as pollutants by nature of their sex or queer gender. How might we have a more comprehensive treatment plan, which cares for physical health, as well as cultural health?

 “Our Blood Is Sacred: Afro-phobia, the “Grammar” of Donation, and Black Life”

-OmiSoore H. Dryden

In my research project #GotBlood2Give / #DuSangÀDonner, I explore the experiences of Black gay and bisexual men (cis and trans) with blood donation. I seek to understand the afro-phobic specificities of “gay blood,” and the “grammar” of donation. Since the first Canadian public blood donor clinic in 1940 until May 2018, the blood of Black people (transnational and diasporic – African, Caribbean and Black) has been banned from (refused for) donation. The fantasies of racial contamination and xenotransfusion undergird and enliven these blood donation practices. This paper reflects on our Black lives (our selves, health, and kinships) as determined through these narratives of blood.

“’Leave My Keys on the TV!’: The Impact of Family Dynamics on the Sexual Selfhood of Black Gay Men”

-Marlon M. Bailey

 This paper is drawn from a qualitative study that examines the role of families in the sexual development of young, gay black men; the development of their sexual selfhood, and the barriers to a healthy sexual development. Family dynamics play a critical role in the sexual selfhood development of gay, black men. Thus, I argue that affirming the sexual identity of these gay boys and young men holds the key to reconciling disruptions in sexual-selfhood development that occur during the formative years and may support self-acceptance and affirmation of a gay sexual identity and expression within an anti-Black and heteronormative society.

Speaker Bios

Marlon M. Bailey is an associate professor of Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University and the Distinguished Weinberg Fellow in the Department of African American Studies and the Programs in Gender and Sexuality Studies and American Studies at Northwestern University. Bailey is also a former associate professor of Gender Studies and American Studies at Indiana University, and visiting professor at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) at the University of California, San Francisco.

Marlon Bailey’s book, Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2013. In 2014, Butch Queens Up in Pumps was awarded the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize by the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Book Award in LGBT studies. Bailey has published in SignsFeminist StudiesSoulsGender, Place, and Culture, the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, AIDS Patient Care & STDsLGBT HealthGLQ (forthcoming) and several book collections. His essay, “Black Gay (Raw) Sex,” was just published in No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies, edited by E. Patrick Johnson.

 OmiSoore H. Dryden, PhD, is an interdisciplinary scholar who examines the queerness of Blackness, symbolics of blood and the “social life” of blood donation. Engaging with Black queer diasporic analytics, Dryden’s research interrogates the narratives about Black life, health, illness and belonging that are embedded in the systems and tools of blood donation, including screening questionnaires. She also explores national and international constructions of the ideal blood donor (who gives life) alongside the pathologized tainted “other” (who brings death). Dryden is the principal investigator of a two-year research project that seeks to identify the barriers African/Black gay, bisexual, and trans men encounter to donating blood in Canada. Funded by the Canadian Blood Services’ MSM Research Grant Program, #GotBlood2Give / #DuSangÀDonner also analyzes how anti-black racism, colonialism and sexual exceptionalism shapes the debates of “gay blood” and the blood system in Canada. Dryden has published in peer-reviewed journals and has an edited collection (with Dr. Suzanne Lenon) titled Disrupting Queer Inclusion: Canadian Homonationalisms and the Politics of Belonging (UBC Press, 2015). Dryden’s forthcoming monograph examines Canadian Blood Services’ blood donation questionnaire and how the blood stories assembled within this document, and in the larger blood system, intersect with and depict Blackness, queer sexualities, health equity and Canadian (homo)nation-making. 

Jeffrey Q. McCune is an associate professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and African and African American Studies at Washington University, St. Louis. His first book, Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing (University of Chicago Press, 2014), combines media studies, literary analysis and ethnography to explore the relationship between Black masculinity and queer sexuality. An edited collection entitled Black Sexual Economies: Race & Sex in a Culture of Capital is forthcoming with University of Illinois Press. His current project, Read!: An Experiment in Seeing Black, focuses on Black gay men’s vernacular use of “reading”— an interpretation/critique of embodied performance centered in one’s love and/or proximity to a Black object — as a new way to theorize and analyze blackness.

The event is funded by the New College Initiatives Fund (NCIF), the Women and Gender Studies Institute and the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. 

Date: October 25th, 2018
Start Time: 4:00pm