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Panel focuses on queer identity within the fantastical
by John Stadelman
2019-04-28

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On April 25, Chicago History Museum's OUT at CHM hosted "Out of This World"—a panel by LGBTQ speculative authors discussing how highly fictionalized worlds reflect and inform queer identity and history.

With Pride Action Tank Executive Director Kim Hunt as moderator, panelists included Ricardo Gamboa, an activist and creator of the web series Brujos; writer/producer Derek Lee McPhatter; Theatre School at DePaul University associate professor Coya Paz; and Cesar Torres, author of The Coil and How to Kill a Superhero books series, as well as owner and designer of LED Queens apparel.

The panel discussed the importance of speculative fiction, particularly science fiction, set outside of the heteronormative narrative. Panelists spoke about how engaging in radical imagination to create and enjoy fantastical worlds informs a rethinking of history beyond colonial bounds. They also spoke of their influences, from science-fiction mainstays like Octavia Butler and Star Trek to horror writer Clive Barker and the fantasy worlds of Prince.

Michael Anderson, the museum's director of institutional advancement, made introductions, and the panel was followed by a reception. The museum displayed archival materials of speculative fiction, including comics and pulp magazines with fantastical and queer elements.

OUT at CHM routinely puts together events at the museum highlighting Chicago's LGBTQ history. The next event, "Quiet as a Riot," will focus on the Stonewall Riots; it will take place Wed., June 12.


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