The Legacy of Kate Bornstein

Thu, Nov 20, 2014 | 7:30 PM | Livingston Student Center, Livingston Hall

Free and open to the Rutgers University community and the general public. Click here for directions to the Livingston Student Center.

Parking for non-Rutgers visitors is available in Lots 105 and 112, and the Yellow Lot without permits. Special event parking does not include free metered parking. Rutgers faculty, staff, and students must park only in their authorized designated lots. Click here for directions to Lot 105, and click here for the Yellow Lot.


In observance of Transgender Awareness Week, the Tyler Clementi Center and its university partners host a screening and discussion of the documentary film Kate Bornstein is a Queer & Pleasant Danger (2014; 72 min). Directed by Sam Feder, the film portrays the remarkable life and achievements of Bornstein—a self-described trans-dyke, reluctant-polyamorist, sadomasochist, and recovering Scientologist—who has been instrumental in raising transgender visibility. She is a role model for a generation of people who are learning how to define their gender and sexuality, and how to survive in a world that frequently greets them with hate and hostility. The film reminds viewers that our ability to watch Laverne Cox regularly on the popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black, or to root for writer Janet Mock resisting Piers Morgan’s transphobic narrative on his CNN talk show, is largely a consequence of Bornstein having paved the way as a pioneering gender outlaw. Click here to learn more about Kate Bornstein is a Queer & Pleasant Danger.


Sam Feder is a Brooklyn-based, multidisciplinary artist exploring interpersonal power dynamics and the politics of media-driven identity. Their directorial debut, the award winning feature, BOY I AM, is cited as one of the 10-must-see gender documentaries. Feder’s work can be seen internationally at film festivals, universities and colleges, museums, and libraries. They have received national grants, fellowships, and residencies from the Jerome Foundation Grant, the RFA Excellence in Filmmaking Grant, Frameline Completion Fund, Crossroads Foundation, Funding Exchange, Astraea Foundation for Social Justice, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Feder was granted a 2013 Yaddo Artist Residency, and a 2013 MacDowell Colony Fellow Residency. Click here to learn more about Sam Feder, and click here to learn more about their film.

Vanessa Gonzalez is a junior majoring in Women’s & Gender Studies and minoring in Social Justice. She is the senior office manager at the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities. She is also one of the first open and visible transgender women at Douglas Residential College.

Kyla Schuller is an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, where she teaches and researches the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, and the sciences. Her areas of focus include histories of eugenics and reproduction, nineteenth-century American Studies, popular culture, and critical race and queer theory. She is currently at work on her first book project, The Sentimental Politics of Life: Race, Sexuality and Biopower in the Nineteenth-Century United States. Click here to learn more about Professor Schuller.

Avatara Smith-Carrington is a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University and a Peer Mentor for the Livingston Social Justice Learning Community. As a queer person of color, Smith-Carrington seeks to learn of ways to create sustainable change but also take part in, facilitate, and create spaces for the discussion of inequity, oppression, identities, and privilege. As an individual navigating through spaces of both marginalization and privilege, Smith-Carrington knows that the price of diversity is a cost that often weighs heavy in the pockets of the unjustly disadvantaged. Smith-Carrington is currently the creator and director of a mini web documentary series titled “To Queer Things Up,” a miniseries dedicated to queer people defining queerness in their own words.



Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs | Department of Women’s and Gender Studies | Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities | Department of American Studies | Department of English