Workshops, Conferences, Invited Talks & Lectures, etc.

February 8, 2024 @12pm EST (hybrid event)
University of Pennsylvania, Center for Korean Studies

Queer Throughlines in Family, Activism, and Kinship
Parents of queer and trans individuals have in recent years emerged as powerful, compelling voices for inclusivity and social change in South Korea. Beyond simply accepting their children’s identity and affirming support, the activist group PFLAG Korea (Parents, Families and Allies of LGBTAIQ+ People in Korea) offers new hopes and varied possibilities for repairing and transforming family relations and renewing a sense of belonging. This talk focuses on the independent documentary film, Coming To You (dir. Pyŏn Kyu-ri, 2021), and a series of screening events that took place in Southern California in 2023 to discuss the implications of this activism for theories of queer kinship. While the film depicts the protagonist mothers as empathic bystanders, willing witnesses, and enthusiastic allies in queer and trans activism, what also becomes evident is that heteronormative kinship structures are fragile and unstable, and they can be undone. I suggest that Coming To You presents queer kinship as a complex of pending relations that are forthcoming on the horizon rather than romanticize family or heroize mothers.