In spring 2022, student, Marissa Haynes (she/her), launched a new podcast in conjunction with WGS. What IFF? is dedicated to sparking discussion about making change in our campus community and beyond by centering intersectional feminist thought and uplifting members of our community who are actively moving toward justice, and inspiring those of us who want to learn more.
Today we’re revisiting What IFF?’s initial episode where Marissa interviews fellow CofC student, Denver Tanner (they/them). They discuss activism, trans rights and mental health, and so much more. Read a brief excerpt from the episode, and click over to What IFF? to listen to the entire interview!
MH: How do you feel like the classes that you’ve taken, or the work that you’ve done has prepared you for the life that you dream of?
DT: I think it definitely has . The College has provided me so many great opportunities. I’m actually this year, joining the gardening club, so we’re circling back to the learning how to grow your own food with that one. But academically, one of my favorite projects was my anarchy capstone with Dr. McGinnis for my political science end of the year project. I wrote a thesis paper called Be Gay, Do Crime: An Analysis of Queer Anarchy.
MH: Okay, wow, love that. Queer anarchy? Can you expand on that.
DT: Yes, definitely. So, queer anarchy is, in essence, studying how your identity as a gay person or a trans person, is an act of rebellion against the state. So, for example, in my research for this paper, I learned that the City of Charleston, back in the seventeenth century, used to outlaw dressing of an opposite sex, which obviously is transphobic inherently but even racist as it dates back to origins and not allowing people of a different socioeconomic class to dress as if they were wealthier.
MH: Wow! I love that, too, because what you’re talking about is that this innate just being and walking in life is activism, right? Like, walking and existing as a queer person. That in and of itself is activism. I wanted to ask you: What does it mean to be an activist? What does it take to be an activist?
DT: What a great question! Because if you asked me that a couple weeks ago I would have said, “Oh, I don’t know. I’m not an activist.” But now that I sit here and have this dialogue with you and think about my college experiences and what motivates me every day. I realize: to be an activist, you really just have to care about something. You have to have an identity with something and a passion. And I think activism is much simpler than we perceive it to be, and it really can be a part of your everyday life, just like Women’s and Gender Studies.