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From the Archives: Kit Yan

by Dan Froid

Last month, October, was LGBTQA+ history month, and we’re remembering last year’s visit from slam poet Kit Yan, who has been vigorously involved in Prairie Schooner activities. Every year, the LGBTQA+ Resource Center on the University of Nebraska’s Lincoln campus hosts a banquet celebrating the history of sexual and gender diversity as well as diversity within the campus and community. This year’s banquet took place last week, featuring a keynote speech by comedian Gloria Bigelow, an out lesbian and black woman who places issues of gender, sexuality, and race at the forefront of her work, tackling the ridiculousness of racism and what she calls “low lesbian esteem.”

Both the university and Prairie Schooner have a history of celebrating diversity.  In “Queer Activism,” episode 46 of Air Schooner, hosts Stacy Waite and Scott Winter speak with writers whose work demonstrates a commitment to queer activism  Kit Yan is a queer, transgender, Asian-American slam poet based in New York. His work seeks both to entertain and to educate, using a unique voice that is funny and touching to relate his personal experiences and raise awareness of social justice issues. Kit Yan performs all over the country and has been featured in programs on HBO and PBS.

In this episode, Kit Yan performs a poem inspired by his little brother Edwin. Essayist Katie Hogan discusses nature and queer ecology. Writer Sassafras Lowrey talks about writing as activism and how the sharing of stories becomes a form of political activism. Listen to the episode here, and to find more episodes visit its page on our website. To find out more about Kit Yan, including a biography, videos of his performances, and a calendar of recent and upcoming events, visit his website.