As we enter another pride season, the Committee of LGBTQ+ (Z) Issues in Linguistics (COZIL) is excited to continue sharing blog posts by members of the LGBTQ+ community to share work and thoughts on current events and issues relevant to queer linguists of all backgrounds. Last year, we shared several blog posts during a time of great unrest and uncertainty, with a pandemic having emerged and ongoing racial inequity and violence more prominently featured in media and everyday discussions. The fervor around both has waned in the United States, to the point that support for Black Lives Matter and racial justice has reportedly dropped to levels lower than in the time prior to George Floyd’s murder. Since last summer, we’ve seen a transformation of many aspects of our lives, including an election season, insurrection, new presidential administration, vaccine rollout, and for many a return to a more social life as places begin to loosen restrictions and open up.

For many in America, a return to ‘normal’ has pushed aside the important issues and struggles that minoritized groups continue to face. As linguists and language experts, we must not allow ourselves to revert back to a time when these important issues were brushed under the rug and ignored. Recent calls within the field have included highlighting the racist legacies of linguistics as a field and calling for more concerted efforts to seek racial justice. We feel this is long overdue, and want to encourage all of us to continue to think intersectionally on the ways that issues of race are also issues of gender and sexuality – and work to combat the white supremacy and heteropatriarchal roots that too often guide the way we must navigate the world around us. In many ways, LGBTQ+ issues in Linguistics have also been relegated to the margins in our field, with many queer linguists also finding themselves in sociocultural programs and finding their work is often more valued and more accepted in other related fields than it is within Linguistics. Our goal is to help increase the visibility of queer linguists, and to highlight the important work that queer linguists do within the field, whether directly related to LGBTQ+ topics or not.

This year, as Americans begin celebrating in-person pride events again, we hope you will all remember that we are immensely privileged to be in a county that has had a substantial vaccine rollout in order to hold in-person events again and recognize the struggles many other countries are facing as the pandemic rages on globally. None of us are truly free until we are all free, and we hope to continue working toward anti-racist, anti-trans, and anti-homophobic sentiments, policies, and macro- and microagressions that still surround us, and affect the most marginalized among us.

For this year’s blog posts, we are highlighting topics including violence against Asian Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals in the military, and trans activism.

Other goings on during this month include a Pride Month Wikipedia edit-a-thon! Come join COZIL to expand Wikipedia pages on queer linguistics, linguists, and pages on langauge and gender! Those of you who are new to Wikipedia editing, as well as those who already have experience, are welcome to join. The Edit-a-Thon will be organized as a Zoom event on June 12. Experienced Wiki editors will be available during this time to answer questions, help troubleshoot and help new editors get started. Besides helping to correct systemic biases in the topics and people represented in Wikipedia, joining the edit a thon is a fun way to work with a community of linguists to spread linguistics knowledge to the public! Read more and register for the Edit-a-Thon. We hope to see you there!

In June, COZIL is hosting a pop-up mentoring session based on the work done by the Committee on Gender Equity in Linguistics (COGEL, formerly COSWL) to create a platform for mentoring sessions during the Annual Meetings, which will take place in mid-June during the Lavender Languages Institute. For information on becoming a mentor or finding a mentor, contact our COZIL chair Archie Crowley at [email protected]

We are also excited to announce that a new LSA award will be offered this year to recognize influential work in Linguistics by LGBTQ+ scholars at any career stage. This award, the Arnold Zwicky award, is named for the LSA’s first known out President. Details will be shared through the LSA in the coming weeks, including guidelines and information on nominations. Look for that as awards season approaches!

Thank you for your interest in the work COZIL is doing to promote LGBTQ+ scholarship in Linguistics – we hope you enjoy the blog posts we are sharing this month, and encourage you to continue to learn more about queer issues in Linguistics and the important role language has for all understandings of identity and belonging.

In solidarity,

Chris VanderStouwe, Archie Crowley, and Tyler Kibbey (COZIL Chair team)