What is Queer Rising?
Queer Rising is an overnight student retreat geared towards exploring the commonalities and diversity of the LGBTQ community–of being “queer.” It is also an opportunity for queer Trojans to connect with their peers and other members of their community in a safe, accepting space. Every year the theme rotates: the 2016 theme is violence and criminality in and against the queer community. This year’s retreat dates are November 11th, 12th, and 13th, with participants staying overnight at the retreat center on the 11th (Friday) and 12th (Saturday) and leaving in the afternoon of the 13th (Sunday).
What happens at the retreat? Who attends?
This retreat is open to any USC student: undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students are all welcome. Twenty-spots are available completely free of charge. Retreat participants will attend a variety of discussions, lectures, and workshops led by USC faculty/staff, community members, and other USC-affiliated speakers. The topics revolve around the yearly theme, but they all focus on building relationships, knowledge, and understanding of diversity among the participants. Alumni, faculty, and other members of the Trojan family commune with the participants during the provided meals and share their “Wisdom from Our Elders.” There will also be time to go outside and enjoy the area surrounding Echo Lake Park.
Where is the retreat held? What are the facilities like?
The retreat is held at the Retreat Center at the Cathedral of St. Paul’s.* The center is equipped with 14 rooms and 26 beds, and plenty of meeting rooms. Most people will have to share a bedroom with one or two other people. Food will be provided, but the church’s downtown location also allows for ample dining options. The center also has a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking Echo Lake.
*Despite the location, this retreat is not religiously affiliated in any manner.
What workshops/events are offered at the retreat?
We are currently in the process of organizing 2016’s speakers, but here is a taste of our programming from previous years:
- Trans Day of Remembrance | When our retreat falls during TDOR (November 20th) we hold a memorial vigil for the members of our community that we lost this year due to discriminatory violence.
- Loni Shibuyama and Kyle Morgan | Archivists with the ONE Archives – LGBTQ History
- Christopher Freeman, Ph.D. | Explorations of a Gay LA: Paul Monette
- Jack Halberstam, Ph.D. | Renowned author, gender and queer theorist
- Ian McKinnon | LA-based queer performance artist and creative workshop leader