It was a hectic spring this year for Against Equality, completing ambitious book tours in Australia and New Zealand, followed by a three stop mini-tour in upstate New York. While we’re unpacking our bags and getting into the swing of things back home, we do have plans to present our work at one last event in Ottawa before we go on hiatus from traveling. As much as we love traveling, sharing our project, and learning from other activist communities, it will be nice to refocus on our collective archival work.
In Australia AE was hosted by the one and only Hares & Hyenas, a queer bookshop like no other. With nightly readings, performances, and parties from all stripes of queer life, this Melbourne bookshop anchors so much that is beautiful and sustaining about queer spaces. AE also had the opportunity to banter on air at Joy FM and duke it out with culty socialist gay marriage organizers before heading off to Sydney to present at Sydney Mardi Gras. While Mardi Gras itself was disorganized and disappointing, like most pride related events the world over, it was great to connect with rad folks like those running Dirty Queer magazine and bad ass feminist bioethicists while there. Conrad also had the opportunity to give a public lecture hosted by Fran Martin and Dion Kagan at University of Melbourne, and a graduate student workshop at LaTrobe University with Carol D’Cruz. Talk about brilliant and gracious hosts doing amazing work!
In New Zealand, or Aotearoa as the indigenous Maori people call it, AE was hosted by rad queer and trans folks in Auckland, primarily under the banner of the Petty and Vindictive collective. These folks were wonderful hosts, young and brilliant and fierce! Members of the group were also involved in the confrontation with uniformed police marching in Auckland Pride just days before Conrad arrived and which resulted in one trans activist having her arm broken by private security at the parade. It was a tense time to be in Auckland, but also such a beautiful time to see a strong radical community pull together to support one another despite the crushing weight of state violence and public vitriol.
Onwards to Wellington, AE was hosted by the wonderful folks at the anarchist infoshop called the Freedom Shop. Community discussions about AE’s politics and learning about new and old anarchist struggles in Aotearoa was a highlight, along with the beaches and rugged coastline of course!
Lastly to Dunedin, to what feels like the end of the earth. AE was hosted by the one and only Black Star Books in the university town to end all university towns complete with burning couches and drunk students falling out of trees. We held a community conversation at Black Star and Conrad went on to host a workshop discussion with queer and trans students at Otago about organizing on campus. Lastly, there was a visit to see pink eyed penguins in the dunes at sandfly bay and climb the steepest residential street in the world before doubling back and hitchhiking back north towards Auckland.
A few weeks after returning from tour Conrad set out for upstate New York along with Yasmin and Karma in tow digitally once again. In Poughkeepsie the Queer Coalition of Vassar College hosted a wonderful panel amongst Against Equality, the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, and In Our Own Voices discussing the limits of legal equality frameworks. Then on to Buffalo where AE was hosted by Burning Books and Rochester hosted by Rochester Red and Black. Both of these events were marked by great discussions of how sexuality fits in struggles for economic justice in post-industrial small sized cities, and particularly around counter-recruitment and the fight for living wages. And of course we kept running into amazing folks who have started up Black and Pink chapters all over the place!
While touring is incredibly fun and we get to meet all sorts of amazing people while we travel, it’s now time for a much needed break from the road. But stay tuned, new interviews and articles forthcoming from the collective in the near future!