Former U of W prof returns to campus for trans genres keynote

Dr. Trish Salah closes out trans solidarity event series

Dr. Trish Salah’s free lecture on March 22 will close out the 2SLGBTQ+ Solidarity Collective’s series. - Supplied photo

Celebrated poet and former University of Winnipeg (U of W) women’s and gender studies professor Trish Salah will deliver a keynote talk, titled “‘After T-Day it got worse’: trans genres for the interregnum,” on Friday, March 22 at 5 p.m. in Riddell Hall.

Salah’s keynote is the final event in the Building Trans Solidarity series hosted by the U of W’s 2SLGBTQ+ Solidarity Collective, a group of faculty and students “formed in 2023 with the goal of protecting and advancing trans rights on campus,” according to the collective’s webpage.

“I will be talking about the trope of ‘gender apocalypse’ in some recent and not so recent trans lit(erature), and how that might speak to the world we are currently living in,” Salah said in comments emailed to The Uniter.

The talk’s title is a reference to Gretchen Felker-Martin’s 2022 horror novel Manhunt, told from the perspective of two trans women fighting for survival after “a virus turns anyone with enough testosterone into a feral, cannibalistic beast,” according to an NPR review.

Salah says she will also reflect on two conferences “focused on trans people’s literary and cultural production” that she helped organize at the U of W: Writing Trans Genres in 2014 and Decolonizing and Decriminalizing Trans Genres in 2015.

Her keynote will pick up on themes central to the 2015 symposium to explore “cultural/ aesthetic work that may enable liberatory and decolonial possibilities,” she says.

Prof. Roewan Crowe was a colleague of Salah’s during the latter’s tenure at the U of W. Crowe says the Trans Genres conferences were “huge and significant” historical events, not just for trans scholarship and cultural production, but also for Winnipeg.

“The organizing and community labor to bring people together, to fundraise, to hold space so that trans cultural productions, trans thinking, trans community can flourish, that often gets lost,” she says. “Dr. Salah creating space for trans folks to comment on their own lives and theorize? Hugely important.”

Crowe says the talk’s focus on trans and gender studies shouldn’t dissuade those lacking familiarity with gender theory from attending, as theorizing about gender is already “something that everyone does.”

“The really restrictive and limiting ideas about gender that are being mobilized right now have an impact on everyone, because, well, we all have a gender,” they say.

She says the talk is an opportunity for non-trans folks to develop a “political understanding about how these words that we take for granted are being mobilized against others and also have implications for everyone.”

Salah says her intended audience centres on trans and trans-adjacent people while also including cisgender people who are “open to considering the violent effects of contemporary anti-trans panics and thinking about their relation to other manifestations of reactionary, even fascist thought.”

Crowe says the kinds of cultural production enabled by Salah’s work provide artists and audiences with opportunities to build solidarity and “taste a little bit of liberation.”

“We can have those moments where we feel free witnessing art or reading a poem or a good scholarly article,” they say. “These expressions of what decolonization and liberation can look like, (they) help us feel it for just a moment, so that we have that in us to remember.”

Register to attend Dr. Salah’s free keynote at

Published in Volume 78, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 21, 2024)

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