Dear WiG members, conference panel organizers, and participants,
In collaboration with this year’s conference organizers, the Leadership Team of the Coalition of Women in German is writing to announce that we have decided to hold the 2021 conference virtually again this year. Based on the results of the conference format survey sent out by the conference organizers this spring as well as the uncertainty regarding the ongoing effects of the pandemic, reduced travel budgets, and other related concerns, we believe this to be the most responsible option. Making this difficult decision now will allow us to plan the best conference possible in this format.
The conference organizers will be reaching out to the individual panel organizers today to ask for their input on how they wish to run their sessions online. Once we have received all feedback, we will then begin creating a revised conference schedule. Conference registration information will be available this summer.
Although conference registration and WiG membership will be required to attend the majority of conference events, we aim to offer a reduced registration fee. We also plan to allow members to donate conference registration fees to cover the costs for graduate student and contingent faculty participation.
One positive effect of hosting the conference virtually is that many members who were previously not planning on attending due to cost of travel or prevalence of fall conferences may be able to join us. We welcome all to attend—and look forward to connecting with one another in this way. We also greatly look forward to being able to greet everyone in person again the following year.
If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.
The WiG Leadership Team and the 2021 Conference Committee
In light of recent legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ people, especially trans and nonbinary people, we, the leadership of the Coalition of Women in German, reiterate our full support for the rights of all. We celebrate the vast array of gender identities and sexual orientations in our organization and in our communities.
The Coalition of Women in German was founded to foster a space for people identifying as women in the field of German Studies to gather and share ideas freely within a supportive, feminist community. Today that space has expanded beyond a single gender identity. As so-called TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) have become more vocal, it is crucial for feminist organizations such as WiG to push back against this understanding of what feminism means and who is included. The Coalition of Women in German does not support any feminism that excludes trans and nonbinary people.
WiG also stands adamantly against all recent legislative efforts to curb the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Trans and nonbinary people deserve accessible healthcare at any age. It is absolutely unacceptable to normalize discrimination against trans and nonbinary people and to enshrine it in our laws. By even proposing this legislation, lawmakers deliberately endanger the lives of LGBTQ+ people. The Coalition of Women in German has signed this collective statement in support of trans and nonbinary people. We will not turn our heads to this violence. At our upcoming May leadership meeting we intend to vote on a change to our by-laws that would require us to “evaluate all conference locations with regard to how welcoming and accessible they are to all members of our community.”
As discussed in our community agreement, we recognize the need to evaluate all aspects of our organization to ensure that they align with our values. (For example, it is impossible to write this statement without mentioning the fact that our name, while representing a deeply meaningful and long-standing history, is not as inclusive as it could be.) The leadership of WiG calls on our members to share their thoughts with us about how we can and should take action within our organization to affirm and support both our current members and those who might be members, if they felt more welcomed. Please use the GoogleForm located in the email version of this statement to share any thoughts that you have regarding actions WiG might want to consider moving forward.
Resources on trans and nonbinary people and language in a Germanophone context:
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