An annual night of queer performance and community dialogue, Gender Fusions offers up a luminous, tantalizing, mind-stretching spectacle of drag, burlesque, spoken word, theater, dance and song within a context of creative and critical thought.
The mission of Gender Fusions is to produce an annual performance event that creates a queer cultural space and celebrates the multiplicity of gender and sexuality, thus helping to forge a strong and vibrant queer community at Columbia College Chicago. Our core principals are to create visibility of the queer and trans community at CCC and to build bridges and dialogue between queers and their allies on campus and in the larger queer community in Chicago.
Since the mission of Gender Fusions is to create community dialogue within a queer spectacle, each year the event tackles a new theme relevant to queer identity, culture and social thought. In past years, the themes were as follows:
Gender Fusions 1: “A Divine Extravaganza of Transmutation”
Gender Fusions 2: “A Spectacle of Splendid Queer Body Languages”
Gender Fusions 3: “Gender Go-Round on the Playground”
Gender Fusions 4: “Busting Up the Binaries!”
Gender Fusions 5: “Freak Parade Extraordinaire”
Gender Fusions 6: “Our Temple of Transgressions”
Gender Fusions 7: “Super Queer-O Spectacle!”
In addition to prominent headliners from across the nation and a host of Chicago’s performers, Gender Fusions features Columbia College Chicago’s students, staff and faculty. GF has featured author Dorothy Allison, performance artist & theorist Guillermo Gomez-Pena, transgender activist and writer Leslie Feinberg, performance poet Lenelle Moise, photographer Del La Grace Volcano, queer comedian Marga Gomez, drag king and theorist Johnny Mozzarella, and indy camp pop band, Leslie & the LY’s.
Performers from CCC and across Chicago have included: About Face Theatre, Peter Carpenter, Darrell Jones, La Dulce Palabra, Kingz of Kolor, Girlie-Q, Matthew Hollis, Kay Barrett, Sarwat Rumi, Tamale, Jessica Hudson, Mercedes Bone’t, Hot Toddy, Cabaret of the Nameless, Misty DeBerry, Nikki Patin, Tristan Silverman, Ames Hawkins, Lott Hill, E. Patrick Johnson, Ni’Ja Whitson, Joan Larkin, Samuel Park, Red Tremmel & more.
Gender Fusions is produced by the LGBTQ Office of Culture & Community through the Multicultural Affairs Department. Through the years, the event has been co-sponsored by a number of key departments on the Columbia College Campus—Critical Encounters, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, the English Department and Common Ground, CCC’s queer student org. This inter-departmental collaboration serves to generate the fusions central to the event.
GF Taskforce: A taskforce of CCC staff and faculty works in conjunction with the LGBTQ Office as a sounding board and think-tank on key issues such as the theme and the changing format of the event. The GF Taskforce also serves as the curatorial board for the student talent in the event.
Every year the proceeds benefit a different cause, such as a locally directed film about black transmen, a trans youth who was a recent victim of a hate crime and non-profit organizations such as About Face Theatre, Broadway Youth Center and Rape Victims Advocacy.
In 2005, writers and cultural organizers K. Bradford and Kathleen McLaughlin--co-founded Gender Fusions via the LGBTQ Office. At the time, Bradford was Adjunct Faculty in the English Department at CCC and McLaughlin was the Coordinator of the LGBTQ Office (then called the Office of GLBT Student Concerns). Bradford is currently the Coordinator of the LGBTQ Office and producer of Gender Fusions.