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The Lies We Have Been Told:

Queering Gender and Sexuality

The Identities we are familiar with seem unchanging and permanent. It is easy to assume that identities like lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc. are universal truth (see LGBTQ+ dictionary). Queer identities are a part of all cultures and are relative to their values and understanding of gender and sexuality. They are complex and changing. Even the word 'queer' has layered meanings. Queer is a former slur that was reclaimed and is now an umbrella term for gender and sexual expression that are outside the Euro-Western norm. 'Queer' can also be used as a verb. To 'queer something’ is to question something and look at its underlying assumptions.


Queerness is associated with sexual behavior and gender roles, but it can be expressed through clothing, art, music, dance, and performance. The Lies We Have Been Told: Queering Gender and Sexuality will look at queerness in performance, rites of passage, colonialism, and alternate roles to expand our understanding of queerness. It takes an anti-colonial lens and examines how oppressed and colonized peoples have had their queer identities suppressed, and how they persist and change.

Gender as Performance

Negotiating gender through dance, music, clothing, etc. 

Rites of


Queerness explored in transitional life events

Colonialism as Anti-Queer

Colonial oppression of queer histories and lives



Non-normative gender and sexual roles

Questions To Consider

Were you already aware of these identities/roles/practices? Why were you (un)aware of them? 

Has your idea of what is queer changed?

How do your identities fit into this exhibit?

What lies have you been told?

Curated by 

Quinn Tahon'21

With support from

Lisa Anderson-Levy

Nicolette Meister

Manuel Ferreira

Exhibit title inspired by

Thabo Msibi (2011)

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