Claiming and Reclaiming LGBTQ+ Communities
The vast array of LGBTQ+ communities is often hidden under an umbrella of limiting, all-encompassing queerness. These authors explore difference within difference and look to expand our understanding of queer life.
About the authors
JEFFREY DALE LOFTON hails from Warm Springs, Georgia, best known for Roosevelt’s Little White House. He calls the nation’s capital home now and has for three decades. During those early years, he spent many a night trodding the boards of DC’s theaters and performing arts centers. He even scored a few television appearances, including a residuals-rich Super Bowl halftime commercial, which his accountant wisecracked “is the finest work of your career.” Ultimately he stepped away from acting and landed at the Library of Congress where he helped war veterans tell their stories, their accounts then housed in the library’s permanent collection. At the same time, he pursued post-graduate work, being awarded Master’s degrees in both Public Administration and Library and Information Science. Today, he is senior advisor at the Library of Congress, surrounded by books and people who love books—in short, paradise. READ MORE ABOUT JEFFREY
NEEMA AVASHIA is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and was born and raised in southern West Virginia. She has been an educator and activist in the Boston Public Schools since 2003, and was named a City of Boston Educator of the Year in 2013. Her first book, Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place, was published by West Virginia University Press in March. It has been called “A timely collection that begins to fill the gap in literature focused mainly on the white male experience” by Ms. Magazine, and “A graceful exploration of identity, community, and contradictions,” by Scalawag. The book was named Best LGBTQ Memoir of 2022 by BookRiot, and was one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2022. She lives in Boston with her partner, Laura, and her daughter, Kahani. READ MORE ABOUT NEEMA
RAFAEL FRUMKIN is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Medill School of Journalism. His first novel, The Comedown, was published by Henry Holt in 2018 to critical acclaim. His Collection, Bugsy & Other Stories, is forthcoming. He lives with his partner, two cats, and one dog in Carbondale, Illinois, where he is an assistant professor of creative writing at Southern Illinois University. READ MORE ABOUT RAFAEL
About the Host
Ana de León is the Director of Development at the Interactive Resource Center, a day center in Greensboro that serves people who are experiencing homelessness. She has also worked at Triad Health Project to bring community awareness to the stigma surrounding access to sexual health resources and the root causes of HIV. In 2016 she co-founded the Quaker Cupboard, a drop-in food pantry on the Guilford College campus where she is currently finishing an MBA in ethical leadership. de León proudly comes from a restaurant family, and she began her career as a meat cutter, a trade in which she worked for 19 years before transitioning formally to nonprofit work. This working-class background informs all her community strategy work from philanthropy to base-building. A storyteller at heart, she is likely to have the strangest ice-breaker response at the meeting. …The empty energy drink cans and Slim Jim wrappers in the office wastebasket are probably hers.