‘Rewriting Homosexuality’ symposium scheduled for April 19 at Wake Forest University

The ‘Rewriting Homosexuality’ symposium, sponsored by Wake Forest law school as well as the Provost’s Office, the Humanities Institute, Women and Gender Studies, Office of Multicultural Affairs,  the LGBTQ Center, and ZSR Library is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 19, 2013, in the ZSR Auditorium.

“Rewriting Homosexuality,” edited by Marc Spindelman,  Hassan El Menyawi, and Wake Forest University School of Law Professor Shannon Gilreath (JD ’02), is an anthology of essays written by gay men on gay male sexuality, including its forms, politics, histories, and theories, along with its pleasures and harms. Contributions will not always be rosy in outlook, as authors pierce the surface politics of conventional gay sexuality debates, sharing truths about gay life that gay men rarely publicly discuss, along with some ideas never actually heard said aloud before.

Other symposium contributors will include, the Moroccan novelist Abdellah Taia; Francisco Valdes (Miami Law School); Russell Robinson (U.C. – Berkeley); Zvi Trger (Haim-Striks School of Law, Israel); and the American playwright Adam Thorburn.

Topics will include some that ordinarily escape critical attention: from prostitution to pornography to rape, as well as the racism, sexism, and classism and other forms of social violence that interrelate and produce gay sexuality as it is commonly experienced.

Other topics, equally urgent, will be engaged. These will include the virulent forms of homophobia and anti-gay brutality encountered in various state regimes as “gay visibility” has risen worldwide, violence that, in its particulars, provides alternative ways of grounding sexuality, sexual politics, and theorizing about them, that have not yet begun to be fully processed or scaled up.

Directly and indirectly, some contributions to the volume will engage distinctions between the politics of survival and the politics of flourishing, as well how sex-based practices and identities have formed and are forming and where they might go, say, in the Middle East.

Deeply grounded in critique, “Rewriting Homosexuality” challenges with the hope of precipitating change — in consciousness, in politics, in sex, and so in society, and in ways that can travel the globe. Contributions arc in multiple directions, but they all speak to a yearning for homosexuality to be or become a new way of being in the world—a way of being dedicated to living and loving in ways that are both equal and just.

As one of “Rewriting Homosexuality” editors, Gilreath is also a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies. Nationally recognized as an expert on issues of equality, sexual minorities, and constitutional interpretation, Gilreath’s books include “Sexual Politics: The Gay Person in America Today” (2006) and “The End of Straight Supremacy: Realizing Gay Liberation” (2011) (Cambridge University Press).  His innovative casebook, ”Sexual Identity Law in Context: Cases and Materials,” published by Thomson-West (2007) (2nd ed. with Lydia Lavelle, 2011) is designed to put the law concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into a social context.

An advocate of interdisciplinary study, he regularly teaches Constitutional Law, Sexual Identity and Law , Freedom of Religion, and Gender and the Law  in the law school, as well as various other topical seminars in the law school  and in the university’s Women’s and Gender Studies department, where he enjoys an appointment as core faculty.  He is an active speaker for gay rights causes, frequently consults on cases, and has been widely cited in journals and the popular press.