Genderfest is a two week festival that has many diverse events for and by queer and gender-variant people to showcase their uniqueness. Genderfest’s goal, as described by organizer Johnny Mexico, “Is to provide a platform for voices that are muted or silenced by main stream ideology, discourse or way of being.”
The festival kicks off with an opening party on Saturday January 31, featuring Sissy Nobby, a Bounce artist from New Orleans, at the Pyramid. Throughout the two weeks you can expect diversity in the events because each one focuses on the multiple issues in the queer community that are not frequently discussed. Some events include a coffee house with performances by queer artists and an open mic night focusing on the QTPOC community in Winnipeg, hosted by Queer People of Colour (QPOC).
You can also check out Eli Clare, who will be speaking on disabilities and queerness. This year, Genderfest is hosting their events at venues that are all physically accessible so that more people can participate.
OutWords will also be hosting a panel discussion through Genderfest that focuses on the portrayal of queer people in the media. On February 14th, Genderfest will host its closing event of this year, a dance party at Club 200 with a theme of “pin ups and sailors.”
Genderfest started out as a collaboration with the University of Winnipeg’s “Gender week.” They continue to work closely with the members of the GLBT student group at the university and have been able to expand to two weeks.
Genderfest is the network for hosts that are looking to set up queer and gender-variant events. It also supports local organizations and community so they can have a platform to express themselves. Genderfest is an inclusive network; all events are held at accessible venues. They also have free or “by donation” events so that more people can attend.
More information about the group and the events they have planned for this year are available on their Facebook page.
“I guess my favourite events at Genderfest are the ones where we really celebrate the nuances and minutia of our communities, and the depth and breathe of talent that we have,” says Mexico.
All events are engaging, inclusive, unique and diverse, so if it’s your first time checking it out, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re a returning participant, we at OutWords and Genderfest wish you the best Genderfest!