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Kortney Ziegler: Transitions – This is Me

  • Duende 468 19th Street Oakland, CA, 94612 United States (map)

Please join us on Thursday, May 25 for 'Transitions - This is Me,' a conversation with entrepreneur, filmmaker, and scholar Dr. Kortney Ziegler, as he navigates the topics of gender identity, mental well-being, and the critical need for coalition building. The evening features open dialogue with audience members. We invite you to share this program on your pages and within your circles.

Dr. Kortney Ziegler is the first person in history to hold the Ph.D. of African American studies from Northwestern University. His artistic and academic work focus on queer/trans issues, body image, racialized sexualities, gender, performance and black queer theory. He is currently the founder of Trans*H4CK, an organization that provides support and visibility for trans technologists and co-founder of ZamLabs, a tech company that designs collaborative tools for education. Dr. Ziegler is also the writer/director of STILL BLACK: a portrait of black trans men, the only documentary that centralizes the lives of black transgender men. He resides in Oakland, California with his tiny dog named Dough.

Dr. Kortney Ziegler was born in Compton, California. 

He was the first in his family to attend post-secondary institution. In his first year, he took an introductory course in race and women studies, this shed light and gave him the knowledge and inspiration to reject those messages. He went on to pursue his Masters at San Francisco State University. During this time, he slowly began his transition and when he began his doctoral program he checked female. In his third yeah he began to identify as "gender queer" and started taking hormones. In 2011 he began to defend his dissertation on queer, black and Latino filmmakers.

From 2003 to 2006, Ziegler maintained a popular black queer feminist blog, blac (k) ademic. The blog tackled topics such as gender and sexuality from a young black queer academic perspective, eventually becoming one of the top blogs in the feminist blogsphere.

Ziegler endured much controversy due to his radical stance that positioned the experiences of women of color as the locus of his feminist analysis. Ziegler shut down the blog due to the many negative comments he was receiving. Blac (k) ademic went on to receive the award for Best Topical Blog in the first annual Black Weblog Awards in 2006. It relaunched in November 2012 and was nominated for a Transguy Community Award and GLAAD Media Award.

Premiering in 2008, STILL BLACK: a Portrait of Black Transmen was conceived during the years Ziegler was a doctoral student in the department of African-American studies at Northwestern University. The film explores the theme of female to male transgender transition in the African American community. Ziegler and his producer, Awilda Rodriguez Lora, provided the initial financial investment to get the project off the ground. They employed a grassroots fundraising method, using social networking to secure funds to complete the project. 

Upon release to the queer film festival circuit, the film became one of the most sought after and talked about films representing the trans man-of-color experience, showing to sold-out crowds in cities such as Los Angeles, Toronto, Seattle, Chicago, and Tel-Aviv. The film received an Isaac Julien Experimental Award from Queer Black Cinema International Music Festival and an Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary in the ReelOut Queer Film + Video Festival.