Intimate Architectures of Queer and Trans Childhood

Co-conveners: Lua Girino (New York University) and Annie Sansonetti (New York University)

Abstract: How are queer and trans kids sustained in the intimate architectures that support them despite the unforgiving conditions of being queer and trans in cisgender and heterosexual cultures that wish these children dead? This working group looks to art and performances in the Americas that center the needs and desires of queer and trans children and actually bases their care on that knowledge. For if childhood is already a very precarious time and space for children, then how do queer and trans children—and, much more specifically and explicitly, black queer and trans children and queer and trans of color children, low-income queer and trans children, disabled queer and trans children, and undocumented queer and trans children—live to narrativize and perform the stories of their selves and communities? And if the child is a dependent and dehumanized social form, the property of adults and the product of historical, legal, medical, and political processes of infantilization that shape their experiences and limit their abilities to act, then how do children propose new modes of language and unprecedented knowledge that embrace their queer and trans histories and futures outside situations of enforced confinement and without reiterating the exhausted closure of humanism? In accordance with the theme “Intimate Architectures,” this working group will map the intimate and architectural modes of queer and trans children’s kinship and care in collaboration with artists, scholars, and activists across the Americas who are willing to abandon the abrasive adultocentric, biomedical, and state-sanctioned protocols for childcare and let queer and trans children grow in their own light. Our goal is to disturb foolish attachments to a racialized, adult innocence about queer and trans childhood and its normative, colonial delusions. We invite academics, artists, and activists to join us in bringing children and their own childish selves and communities with them to our shared and co-authored study of the intimate architectures of childhood and childcare in queer and trans art and performance.

Application: To apply to this working group, please complete the general application here.