Diana Rhodes: Queer World Las Vegas

I grew up in Las Vegas and found my activist and academic voice and power in the city. As someone who, not only grew up in Las Vegas, but also as a daughter of an immigrant who has worked in the gaming industry for 30 years, my feminist lens originated in not only original, but unique. I currently live in Washington, DC, and work in the reproductive and sexual health/rights/justice field and work at the grassroots and grasstops levels of activism and public policy. Living in Washington for six years, the culture shock was difficult and challenging. As a sex positive feminist and queer-identified activist, I was under the impression that other communities would be similar to the chosen family I came from in Las Vegas. Six years later, in a national organization, I work diligently with young people across the county, especially in the deep south, to be radical activist in their red communities. My advice is often not to come to Washington or New York when they enter the field. I tell my youth activists how important the friendships and communities they are creating now are, and how those relationships will fuel you and make long-lasting social change. Besides social justice advocacy, I have spent over a decade organizing in the arts communities, both in Las Vegas and in Washington. I continue to build bridges between activism and the arts community and try to participate in the challenging environments of transient cultures, that both Las Vegas and Washington DC have. I plan to speak about organizing in both cities and environments, with feminist and queer friendships I’ve experienced in Las Vegas as the fuel that continues to ground me. The unique friendships and experiences I built in Las Vegas have become the foundation for the work I do and the lens I operate from.


Part of panel Queer World Las Vegas: Feminist Friendships as Resistance
October 2, 2016, 11:00–12:45