Let’s look back to October 2022 from a linguistic point of view
If you are a lot online like me or if you have lots of contact to media and/or people in the US and UK or other countries using similar action months as those countries, you’ll have already realized that action months such as LGBTQ+ History Month happen in different months in different countries. What’s interesting about LGBTQ+ History Month is that it shares the date with Black History Month in the UK and in the US. When it’s Black History Month in the UK, it’s LGBTQ+ History Month in the US and the other way around. Living in Germany, I kinda get in touch with the action months in both countries, finding actions and articles by other German people about both.
LGBTQ+ History Month in February 2023
So, it’s February and that means we can find places where it’s LGBTQ+ History Month right now. I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about an interview that I conducted for the LGBTQ+ History Month in October 2022 with Arnold Zwicky, an amazing linguist! But first of all, I wanted to use your attention to point to a German article within the area of trans studies about the Middle Ages written by Dr. Alan Lena van Beek: “Trans* im Mittelalter?”. Dr. Alan Lena van Beek talks about the university class that they taught and shows data about people in the Middle Ages being described in a way as we would describe trans people nowadays. The article has been published in April 2022 on the Blog of the Queer Lexikon, a huge resource in German language about queer topics.
LGBTQ+ History Month in October 2022
Last year, I got the opportunity to be part of a beautiful project from the COZIL committee of the Linguistic Society of America. That’s a committee on LGBTQ+[Z] issues. It was a project for a blog post for the LGBTQ+ History Month in October 2022, consisting of an introduction text and several interviews with amazing linguists about Queer Linguistics (interviews with Robin Queen, Arnold Zwicky and Bill Leap). For the interviews, the organizers of that blog posts asked junior researchers if they could conduct one of those interviews and that’s how I got into the project.
The interview with Arnold Zwicky
As mentioned before, I interviewed Arnold Zwicky for the project, former LSA president and namesake of the Arnold Zwicky Award for LGBTQ+ linguists. This way, I got to know a brilliant person who shares parts of his thoughts very publicly (I really recommend reading the interview, and also visiting Arnold Zwicky’s blog). For the COZIL blog post, the interview got a bit shortened, the long version exists on Arnold Zwicky’s blog though.
The link for the interview: https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/interview-arnold-zwicky
The link to Arnold Zwicky’s blog and the long version of the interview: https://arnoldzwicky.org/2022/10/09/what-ive-been-writing/
After this experience, I really recommend doing some outreach actions to get in contact with linguists that stand out to you in some way (if you are interested in linguistics what I hope you do). On several occasions, I realized that the linguistic work that we are doing gets human by the contacts that are made on the way. Linguists are not only names on some morphology paper or names on reference or reading lists. Many are really happy to hear that there are people who are interested in their thoughts and who would love to give some advice.
At this point, I want to thank Arnold Zwicky for participating in the interview and being such an amazing interview partner, also thanks to the other two interviewees Robin Queen and Bill Leap, and I also want to thank the COZIL team, the editors, and the other interviewers for the wonderful project. In other words, thanks to Chris VanderStouwe, Archie Crowley, Montreal Benesch and Mingus Murray!
COZIL (2022): „LGBTQ+ History Month 2022“, in: COZIL blog posts (linguisticsociety.org). https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/cozil-blog-posts.
Gerdts, Martina (2022): „An interview with Arnold Zwicky“, in: COZIL, LGBTQ+ History Month 2022, COZIL blog posts (linguisticsociety.org). https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/interview-arnold-zwicky.
Van Beek, Alan Lena (2022): „Trans* im Mittelalter?“, in: Queer Lexikon. https://queer-lexikon.net/2022/04/18/trans-im-mittelalter/.
Zwicky, Arnold (2022): „What I’ve been writing“, in: Arnold Zwicky’s blog. https://arnoldzwicky.org/2022/10/09/what-ive-been-writing/.