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Meet Marcie Bianco: Queer Public(s) Intellectual, PhD

MarcieBy Mallorie DeRiggi

An “understudy” of Kate Bornstein, lesbian columnist and professor, Marcie Bianco has received widespread recognition for her work as she continues to be a fearless advocate of queer rights and the modern feminist movement.

Marcie Bianco is currently a columnist for AfterEllen.com and Lambda Literary and is an adjunct professor at both John Jay and Hunter Colleges in New York City.  Marcie has worked as an editor for Cherry Grrl and Velvetpark and her writing has been featured by a multitude of lesbian and queer media outlets.  She has been a panelist on Huffington Post Live and she has become a respected voice on lesbian, queer and feminist issues related to pop culture and within the media.

An academic at heart, Marcie self-labels herself as a queer public(s) intellectual; a role that she aspires to achieve on a grander scale in the future.  The woman who has an opinion on any topic, Marcie takes a bold and entertaining approach to discuss today’s most talked about issues. She is an emerging media personality who you will definitely see sitting at the forefront of our community for years to come!

My conversation with Marcie Bianco:

So tell me about who Marcie Bianco was in college and what were some of the driving forces behind the work that you have done?

MB:  I am a profoundly different person than I was in college.  I was a political science major at Harvard.  I envisioned myself going into politics one day.  In my sophomore year, I joined the Harvard College Democrats and soon after I became the President of the organization.  I found that being the President of the Harvard College Democrats brought with it a lot of opportunities.  I was invited to join the Gore Campaign in 2000.  I got the chance to work with Al Gore and led student canvassing efforts for the campaign in the northeast.

What changed for me was when I saw political positions being compromised by Gore and others during the campaign.  I knew that was a reality in politics and I realized it was not something I could do.  I also saw the fraud in the election results; this disillusioned me as far as politics go.   On a conference call, Donna Brazile said that her mother was turned away from the polls in the south.  The dark side of politics bothered me very much.  So after the campaign, in my junior year I decided to sit in on a Shakespeare course, which opened my eyes to a new passion.  At Harvard, Professor Heather Love opened up my world.  My world changed senior year.  I realized maybe I wasn’t this asexual robot that I thought I was.  I wanted to mold myself into a public intellectual.  A role in our society that does not really exist in the same way as it did throughout history.  My dream job is to do what Melissa Harris Perry does.

Did you want to become an advocate for our community or did you just realize at one point that you were one?

kate-bornstein

Kate Bornstein

MB:  I don’t think I intentionally wanted to become an advocate, I just fell into it.  When I first moved to New York, I met Kate Bornstein and she went out of her way to offer her assistance in helping me get settled and progress in my career.  I feel like as a professor, I can lend a positive yet critical voice on today’s issues.  I have experienced privilege in my career in a sense that I have platform to share my opinions.  I want to harness the privilege I have in productive and positive ways.  If I can do what Kate Bornstein does, that really is my goal.

What do you enjoy doing the most: writing, teaching, and lecturing?

MB:  All of them have the common thread of being a human.  I like to live in my head and think about how we all can be better human beings.  I love doing all 3 equally.

Who are some people out there today who inspire you?

MB:  Kate Bornstein without a question.   She has led the way for what I do today.  Janet Mock, I believe is one of the leading feminist voices today and she is one of the biggest trans advocates also.  I have to admit every time I see her, I get heart palpitations.  I feel sorry she has to deal with my crush on her!

Elizabeth Grosz is the person who inspired me the most, above all others.  She’s the greatest living feminist philosopher and I worked with her throughout my graduate studies.

Marjorie Garber, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Sarah Schulman, Barbara Johnson are among some other names of people who inspire me.

Within the LGBT community, what are some stories in the news in 2013 that you feel have not received enough media attention?

MB:  Anything queer is generally neglected by the news…marriage has been the primary story, but I do wonder where the movement will go after marriage equality has been achieved.

As far as any celebrities you have met, what has been your most interesting interview or conversation that you have had?

MB: Well, one of my first interviews was with Sandra Bernhard and I couldn’t stop fawning all over her; she’s so amazing. But I’d have to say my favorite interview–in terms of intellectual stimulation and pure enjoyment–was with Anna Margarita Albelo, who is the best lesbian filmmaker, particularly in terms of offering incisive lesbian cultural critiques, out there today. Her films set the bar for lesbian cinema.

tumblrI know that you are a big fan of the show GIRLS and you cover the show on AfterEllen and in other projects, which of the 4 main characters on the show do you identify with most?

MB: Yes, I love the show; probably my favorite character is Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah Horvath.  Her character is very relatable for many people I think, and I think it’s an amazing show.

What are your thoughts on the new show, “Orange Is The New Black”?

MB: I devoured the show.  I think it’s fantastic!

When did you come “out” and do you prefer to identify as lesbian or as queer?

MB:  I never really came out, I just one day had a girlfriend and everyone else just put the pieces together after that.  I identify as a lesbian as far as my sexuality goes; however, I am a feminist above all others…feminist, lesbian, queer is probably the order in which I identify.

Do you think LGBT history pre-Stonewall deserves more attention and discussion?

MB: Yes, queerness has been documented through time, but mostly within the confines of academia. The challenge is to understand and include discourses of queerness outside of the modern identity labels LGB and T.

Do you have a type of girl you usually like?

MB: I typically date andro/butch girls.  I’m much more feminine now than I was in the past.  It’s interesting to experience the different dating dynamics that are played out within gender expressions.

What else are you working on right now? Future projects?

MB: I am writing a memoir about lesbian affairs in academia with a few notable Shakespeareans…I am also writing a piece on political correctness and feminism in GIRLS for an edition to be published by Cambridge.

More Information on Marcie Bianco:

Please read Marcie Bianco’s column at AfterEllen.com and at Lambda Literary.

You can also follow Marcie on Tumblr which she updates daily as well her Twitter.

Guest Blogger – Mallorie DeRiggi
TeamMallorieMallorie DeRiggi is a 20 something marketing manager and communications professional who moved to Chicago over 3 years ago at the start of her career.  Mallorie works in the software/internet marketing space and possesses a strong creative ability to communicate ideas and develop strategy to make those ideas persuasive to others.  She loves to travel and has had a passion for learning new things about the world ever since she was little.  She speaks Italian and Spanish and is working on learning another language in the future.  She loves to write and is in the process of writing a novel.  She has passion for LGBT advocacy, politics, fashion, technology, cooking and following her favorite hockey team.  In her free time, she’s often out and about at different restaurants and bars hanging out with her friends or going out dancing on occasion. – See more at: http://thelstop.org/2013/06/will-michelle-chamuel-win-it-all/#sthash.5SemkKgy.dpuf

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