Chris VanderStouwe (he/him), Current COZIL Chair

Archie Crowley (they/them), COZIL Member, 2021 COZIL Chair

In a time of increased attacks on gender- and sexuality-based rights in the United States, from the reversal of Roe v Wade to the proliferation of anti-trans legislation and calls to remove same-sex marriage rights, it is more important than ever to work hard to protect those marginalized in our society for reasons based on gender and sexuality. One way to work on fighting back in the present day is to look back on what has already been achieved and what fights have already been fought to honor the legacy of those who have been working on these issues in and out of academia for the last several decades, and learn from their example for ways that we can continue to fight for progress in the face of discrimination and a continued need for visibility, dignity, and respect. 

Many major milestones for projects, organizations, and journals related to Language, Gender, and Sexuality have been taking place recently or will be taking place soon, including the 10-year anniversary of the Journal of Language and Sexuality (2021), the 30-year anniversary of the 1992 Berkeley Women and Language Conference (2022), which lead to the creation of the International Gender and Language Association and the prominent journal Gender and Language, which featured a 30-year retrospective in their 2021 issues, and the upcoming 30-year anniversary of the Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conference (2023), which began in 1993 at American University in conjunction with the LGBT March on Washington that saw an estimated 1,000,000 attendees at the march. In addition, this month marks the 35th anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington, which we now celebrate every year as National Coming Out Day on October 11. 

In celebrating these milestones and accomplishments within the ever-growing field of language, gender, and sexuality research, COZIL wanted to continue the reflection on the changes and progress made over the last several decades by recognizing some of the queer scholars who paved the way in linguistics. For this LGBTQ+ History Month, we present to you a series of interviews with William Leap, Robin Queen, and Arnold Zwicky, scholars who have all been foundational in developing communities for LGBTQ+ linguists and linguistic research. Each of these established scholars was interviewed by an emerging queer scholar (from high school to Masters students)! 

It is our hope that these interviews will illuminate the important contributions that queer linguists have made over the years to the LSA and the broader field of language, gender, and sexuality. We also hope to continue this tradition in coming years to continue to reflect on the legacies of queer linguistic research as the field grows and upcoming scholars forge new directions for research and understanding about the role language plays in understanding concepts like gender and sexuality. 

Research in language, gender, and sexuality is as important as ever, and increasing visibility of queer scholars in academia - and the public - is crucial to broadening minds, fighting discrimination, and breaking from the damaging discourses seen in our media and political arenas today.

Please enjoy these interviews, and stay tuned for future iterations of this project in upcoming years. Happy LGBTQ+ History month, and Happy Coming Out Day!

➤  Read the Interview with Arnold Zwicky

➤  Read the Interview with Bill Leap

➤  Read the Interview with Robin Queen