CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Student Art Contest for Symposiums Honoring Randall Kenan – 3 Award Prizes of $333 Each Due May 18th @ 5pm

Call for Proposals Due Immediately! 

Art Contest for next year’s symposiums honoring Randall Kenan  

The Sexuality Studies Program supported by the Provost’s Committee on LGBTQ Life 

is offering three UNC students 

$333 Awards 

Deadline Extended: Tuesday, May 18th by 5p.m. 


In the spring of 2021, the English and Comparative Literature Department hosted the first of a series of events honoring the legacy of the late Randall Kenan. Two Wings Take Flight featured a panel of scholars, writers, and artists discussing the impact of Kenan on African American Literature and Southern Studies and particularly Black Southern gay literary traditions. In the coming year, American Studies and Sexuality Studies will continue looking at Randall Kenan’s legacy with events on Kenan’s impact on the fields of Black Geographies and LGBTQ Studies. In doing so, we want to feature the creative work of students on all event promotional and program materials honoring Kenan.   


We will award three UNC undergraduate or graduate students $333 for a winning proposal to produce a piece of visual art for next year’s symposiums hosted by American Studies and Sexuality Studies honoring the late Randal Kenan. The art will be used on event programs, flyers, and websites. 


We are soliciting proposals for art with themes from Kenan’s novels and short stories (particularly: A Visitation of Sprits, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century, The Fire This Time) from students. In particular we ask that your work depicts what it means to carry on the legacy of critically and creatively engaging with Southern Black Queer Geographies in North Carolina. The awards will be chosen by the end of May with the final artwork due by the end of August.   


We are asking for a QUICK TURNAROUND: Please go to this link and fill out this form by Tuesday, May 18th at 5p.m.  


If you have any questions, email Jacob Lau, Director of Sexuality Studies:  

UPCOMING EVENT: Lavender Graduation 2021 – May 9th @ 4pm

Lavender Graduation 2021

Please register by the end of Sunday April 18th. See link below.

Carolina’s sixteenth annual Lavender Graduation celebrating LGBTQIA+ and allied student contributions will be held on Sunday, May 9th, 2021 at 4:00 pm.

Lavender Graduation is a commencement ceremony honoring graduating LGBTIQA+ and allied students. It is a cultural celebration that acknowledges the achievements and contributions that students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions have made at Carolina. Recipients of the LGBTIQA+ Advocacy Awards and Sexuality Studies Awards are announced during the ceremony. This year’s ceremony is hosted co-presented by the LGBTQ Center, the Program in Sexuality Studies, the Provost Committee for LGBTQ Life, and Student Life and Leadership.

Keynote Speaker

We are honored to welcome K. Tajhi Claybren (UNC 2014) as this year’s keynote speaker. K. Tajhi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the field of community health-supporting youth and young adults (ages 12-24); black, indigenous, and communities of color; transgender and non-binary communities; LBGQ communities, and people living with HIV. They are committed to supporting the healing (individual and collective), self-actualization, and liberation of TNB/LGBQ communities of color at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. While at Carolina, she was a Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar, a program assistant for the LGBTQ Center, and the student leader of the Gender Nonspecific Housing Coalition from 2011 to 2013. K. Tajhi earned their Master of Social Work and Social Work Administration from the University of Chicago and is now part of the Integrative Empowerment Group (IEG) therapy collective in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Graduate Gift Box

Since we cannot hold Lavender Graduation in person this year, we are offering graduating participants the option of having their gifts shipped. This year’s gift bundle includes a 2021 rainbow graduation tassel, a copy of Pauli Murray’s Song in a Weary Throat, purple decorations to adorn your space during the ceremony, a certificate of participation, and a ceremony program. To protect participant privacy (particularly those who live in unsupportive households) gifts will be shipped in plain USPS boxes.

Participation Details 

The ceremony will be held live via Zoom. Registered participants will be given a link to share with their guests. Participants can register with a legal or chosen name, customize how they are honored during the ceremony, and designate the amount of visibility they are comfortable with.

Key Dates

  • The LGBTQ Center will accept participant registrations until Sunday, April 18th at 11:59 pm.
  • The audience invitation and registration link will be released by Friday, April 30th.
  • The 2021 Lavender Graduation ceremony will be held virtually on Sunday, May 9th at 4:00 pm. 

Eligibility Requirements

Participants must be approved to graduate in the most recent Fall semester or the current Spring semester.

Participants must be one of the following at UNC-Chapel Hill:

  • Undergraduate student
  • Graduate student
  • Professional student
  • Doctoral candidate

How to Register as a Graduate

Register at to be included in the ceremony. For more information please visit the LGBTQ Center’s Lavender Graduation page.

UPCOMING EVENT: Celebrate Holi with Poet Rajiv Mohabir – March 24th @7:30pm

On March 24th at 7:30pm  Indo-Carribean Poet Rajiv Mohabir will give a reading and discuss his book I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara (Kaya Press, 2019), Mohabir’s translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s 1916 book of poems. The only known literary work by an indentured servant in the Anglophone Caribbean, this book captures the hardships of life as an island “coolie” worker.
Tyree Daye (UNC Chapel Hill, author of Cardinal) will then join and interview Rajiv about his poetic career and upcoming projects.
This event is hosted by the Asian American Center. Please register here:

UPCOMING EVENT: Two Wings Take Flight: Writers, Poets, Scholars and Artists Reflect on Randall Kenan’s South

On March 31st at 5pm the Department of English and Comparative Literature (in partnership with American Studies and Sexuality Studies) will host “Two Wings Take Flight” a roundtable and veritable who’s who of writers, poets, scholars and artists engaging with the legacy of Randall Kenan’s work and Black Southern literary traditions.

See the attached flyer for details and to register. This is one event you do not want to miss!

Two Wings Take Flight Flyer

UPCOMING EVENT OCT 21: Stephanie Burt in conversation with Jacob Lau – Advice from the Lights Event: Ackland Art Museum NEA Big Read Series

On October 21st the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will kick off a year of events reflecting LGBTQ+ lives and experiences with a conversation between Literary Critic, Poet, and Professor Stephanie Burt (English, Harvard University) and Dr. Jacob Lau (Women’s and Gender Studies, UNC at Chapel Hill). Burt will be reading from and discussing her poetry collection Advice from the Lights (2017), which “weaves together extraordinary sequences, including Stephanie poems about the poet’s imagined girlhood; poems on particular years of the poet’s early life, each with its own memories, desires, insecurities, and pop songs; and versions of poems by the Greek poet Callimachus, whose present-day incarnation worries (who doesn’t?) about mortality, the favor of the gods, and the career of Taylor Swift.”

Though attendees must register, the event is free and begins over Zoom at 7:30. For more information and to register:

Free virtual book discussions about Advice from the Lights will take place after the event from October – December. Once registered participants will receive a free copy of Burt’s collection. For more information on discussion dates and details see the link below.

The series and event is part of the Ackland receiving a National Endowment for the Humanities Big Read Grant and has been organized in partnership with Chapel Hill Public Library and Carolina Public Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UPCOMING EVENT OCT 9 & 13: Queer MiniCon 2020

Sexuality Studies has partnered with the LGBTQ Center and Honors Carolina Pride to host Queer MiniCon. QMC will be two days of online presentations, scheduled for October 9th and 13th, during Carolina’s ten-day observance of National Coming Out Day from October 6th to 16th. Dr. Antonia Randolph, Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies, will present the keynote address. Presentations will be open to the public via

In it’s first iteration, Queer MiniCon will feature seventeen presentations chosen by representatives from sponsoring UNC-Chapel Hill departments on LGBTQIA+ affirming research, lived experiences, passion projects, and creative expression. UNC System students, faculty, staff, and postdocs will queer, (that is to say, deconstruct or question assumptions around) everything from social network mapping technologies, in Katelyn Campbell’s “Lesbian Connections: Critical Social Network Mapping and Queer Archival Methods;” to self-perception and dream environments in Sergio Jiminez’s “blue-light-being;” and conventional ideas about masculinity within both dominant and Black culture in Antonia Randolph’s keynote “Wayne Loves Baby: Queering Intimacy in Hip-Hop Culture.”

For more information and a link to the virtual event please visit:

UPCOMING EVENT: Queer MiniCon 2020 – Call for Academic and Creative Proposals

The LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill is partnering with Sexuality Studies, UNC SAGA, Student Life and Leadership, and Honors Carolina Pride to host Carolina’s first-ever Queer MiniCon on October 9th and 13th.

This convention honors National Coming Out Day by showcasing LGBTQIA+ research and expression in NC.

Call for Academic and Creative Proposals

Queer MiniCon will be an opportunity for undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, faculty, postdocs, and staff from all North Carolina institutions of higher education to share research and creative work affirming the experiences of LGBTQIA+ communities and individuals.

We’re looking for 5 to 10-minute proposals for everything from polished academic presentations to early research explorations, to the results of obscure deep-dives and personal expression. We encourage submissions of existing works and early explorations of new work; including that which has previously been presented or exhibited elsewhere.

Considering mini-proposals in the following categories:

  • Academic Paper/Presentation
  • Lived Experience Presentations
  • Creative Performance or Recording
  • Visual Artwork (Static Images)
  • Written Poem or Short Story
  • Category-defying works

The call for proposals will close at 11:55 pm on Sunday, September 20, 2020.

The LGBTQ Center will contact selected presenters and exhibitors by Friday, September 25 to confirm participation and schedule live-streamed sessions.

Click here to learn more or visit for submission notes, frequently asked questions, and accessibility details.

UPCOMING EVENT: Sexuality Studies Program Open House


Please join the Program in Sexuality Studies for an Open House in our newly-revamped lounge space in Smith Building.

We have redesigned the space to be more inviting and to house our fledgling library, donated by alum, Phillip Poovey. We will have good food and drinks and even a few door prizes.

Event Details:
Location: Smith Building, Third Floor
Time/Date: Tuesday, October 8, 4-6PM

Upcoming Event: The ‘challenge of the century’: transnational LGBTQ activism and the birth of Britain’s radical HIV/AIDS movement, from Thatcher to the 1990s.

 The ‘challenge of the century’: transnational LGBTQ activism and the birth of Britain’s radical HIV/AIDS movement, from Thatcher to the 1990s.

The Triangle Global British History Seminar of the Carolina Seminars presents:

George Severs, U. Cambridge, and U California, Riverside

Oct. 11, 4-6pm, National Humanities Center

From Mr. Severs:

This paper examines the history of Section 28 of the UK Local Government Act 1988, which forbade local authorities in the UK from ‘promoting homosexuality’. Section 28 was spoken of in the gay press as the “challenge of the century,” sparking the largest movement of lesbians, gay men and their allies in British history. Despite this, very little scholarly attention has been paid to Section 28, and that which has is often blinkered by assumption.

I take on two major misunderstandings about the Section’s history: that it was the brainchild of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and that Section 28 had no impact. Though many people in the academy and the media speak of Section 28 as “Thatcher’s Clause,” my research shows that, in fact, Thatcher had no part in its drafting and in its passage through parliament. Her broad assaults on left-wing Labour-controlled councils have been confused with direct support for Section 28, which has served to blind us to the wider cast of actors at work in this story. Moreover, because no council was ever charged with contravening Section 28, many have written it off as an ineffectual piece of legislation. I argue, however, that looking at the last rung of the legal ladder is not a fit model for determining the impact of the law. Instead, I demonstrate that Section 28 was implemented across several councils, with lesbian and gay groups stripped of their funding and ostracised from the local council. Yet the main impact Section 28 had was in creating a large, diverse movement of resistance to it. I chart the history of this international movement, and show how it directly spawned the radical HIV/AIDS movement of the 1990s.

To request a copy of the pre-circulated paper, please write to Prof. Susan Pennybacker (

This event is co-sponsored by The Triangle Legal History Seminar, The Transnational and Global Modern History Seminar, Department of History (UNC-CH), Program in Sexuality Studies (UNC-CH), and the Center for European Studies (UNC-CH).

FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY: Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship Program

RYE 2019 Fellowship

The Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship Program, hosted by the statewide LGBTQ non-profit organization Equality North Carolina, is seeking applicants for their 2019-2020 Fellowship cohort. The deadline for all applicants is 11:59pm on Monday, September 23, 2019.


    • Applicants are between 18-28 years old;
    • Living in rural NC;
    • Strong interest in developing a community-based social justice project serving their communities.

Equality North Carolina is committed to cultivating a diverse cohort of fellows. As such, they especially welcome applicants from underrepresented backgrounds, including but not limited to: black and brown folks, people with disabilities, DACA or undocumented folks, individuals from lower income backgrounds, first generation college/community college students and recent graduates, and/or people living with HIV/AIDS.

For more information, please visit their website here. The application link can be found here. If you have any questions, please email