reviews of speaking engagements & trainings

Pauline Park in the Japanese Garden in Portland

Pauline Park has spoken at hundreds of events, and here are some reviews of various speeches, workshops and trainings that she has done over the years.

Eva, in an unsolicited comment sent to Pauline Park about her appearance on a panel on the topic of transgender rights at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (10.27.10):

“Hi Pauline, I was at the panel discussion at UMass Amherst on Wednesday, and I just wanted to thank you so much for coming to our campus to speak. Your talk was moving in many ways–not the least of which being your admirable ability to make theory downright sexy! But also, you reminded me that one can address controversial topics in a nonviolent way–I thought of Mandela, Dr. King, and other peaceful advocates while listening to you speak. This was a good reminder for me, to be powerful and gentle. In any case, thank you again for coming to our university and for all the work you do…”

Steven Amarnick, co-coordinator, Safe Zone Program & associate professor of English, Kingsborough Community College (City University of New York):

“Kingsborough Community College, if I may say so, is quite an excellent two-year school in a lovely setting (we’re right on the beach).  In some ways, though, we’ve been stuck in the past.  Only in the last few years has there been any kind of visibility in terms of lesbians and gays, and we have had almost no discussion of transgender issues…until last week, October 19, 2010, when Pauline Park came to the school for a showing of the film “Envisioning Justice: The Journey of a Transgendered Woman” and a talk about it afterward.  It was an extraordinary event, as I could tell from the response of the many, many people in the room, the response of the smaller group who gathered with Pauline for lunch afterward, and the honest, admiring written accounts of my own students.  Pauline is an ideal speaker: forthright, eloquent, generous, humane.  She got all of us — students, faculty, administrators — to think, and to think hard.  Yet somehow we all had a great time doing so!  It was an absolutely wonderful afternoon.”

Jennifer Hayashida, Director, Asian American Studies Program, Hunter College, The City University of New York (CUNY):

“The Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College, CUNY, greatly appreciated Pauline’s engaging and thoughtful talk in conjunction with an April, 2010 screening of ‘Envisioning Justice: The Journey of a Transgendered Woman.’ Her vast body of knowledge concerning LGBTQ histories and experiences, coupled with a respectful and at the same time rigorous approach to audience questions, made for a thought-provoking afternoon that resonated with everyone long after the day had passed. She provided our students, faculty, and staff with a precious opportunity to discuss everything from state and city LGBTQ policies to the local issues facing students on our campus.

Pauline’s gracious attitude, coupled with her fierce intelligence, clearly moved everyone in the room, and long after the event was over, I encountered students in the halls who thanked me for inviting Pauline to Hunter, and I am still fielding inquiries from students who want to invite her back for the upcoming academic year. Pauline’s generosity and intelligence as an activist and speaker clearly inspired our students to continue the discussions that began during her campus visit, and I am just thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet and talk to such a dynamic and dedicated activist and scholar.”

Amanda Moras, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of sociology, Central Connecticut State University:

“I think your talk was fantastic, and the general care and concern you showed for the students was really wonderful. So rarely do our students have the opportunity to interact with activists who are so knowledgeable, kind and accessible. We loved having you here, and our students learned quite a bit~! I cannot express enough how appreciative I am of your contribution to our campus. Your graciousness was moving…”

– Amanda Moras on Pauline Park’s appearance at Central Connecticut State University on 26 April 2010 on a panel with another transgender activist as part of a forum on transgender rights organized by Prof. Moras.

Jesus A. Diaz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Kean University:

“I teach Philosophy at Kean University in New Jersey.  Moral Problems in Medicine and Health Care is one of the courses I teach each  Spring semester. Almost all students who take this course are registered nurses working full-time. They have associates degrees and come to Kean to earn their Bachelor of Science. My course ends with a section titled Patients Who Are Different. The section deals with LGBT and intersex patients. Speakers I invite do all presentations in this section. Three speakers come in: one or two from SAGE, an intersex woman, and Pauline. On her or his day, each speaker lectures for the entire two hours.

“For over ten years I have asked Pauline to be the guest speaker who explains to the nurses what the transgender experience is and what that experience means in the health care context. On every occasion, Pauline has done a superb job, which is why I keep calling her. My assessment of Pauline’s performance derives from my observations and from the students’ reactions in the teaching evaluations at the end of the semester. If you need a presenter for your event, rest assured no one is better than Pauline.”

Kerry Kay, MD, MPH, physician:

“I had the pleasure of attending Pauline Park’s lecture this past spring at the Pacific School of Religion (“Transgender Identities & Spiritual Traditions in Asia and the Pacific: Lessons for LGBT/Queer APIs,” 4.2.13).  Pauline’s talk about the history of transgender identities in Asian culture was both fascinating and thought-provoking. Most importantly, in helping us discover a history of LGBT identities, Pauline’s ideas help us argue against those who say that API LGBTQ people are only copying Westernized ideas and that our experience is only a phase that will pass.  By giving our experience a historical context, we are able to gain strength, guidance and legitimacy within a dominant LGBT culture that continues to marginalize queer API people.  Pauline was able to combine both academic ideas and practical applications in a talk that was accessible and entertaining.  It was important to me that Pauline spoke at the Pacific School because it was empowering for me to know that there are religious institutions that embrace LGBTQ people. As I continue in my work to improve health care for LGBTQ people in Alameda County, it is great to know that there are people like Pauline Park and the Pacific School who I can go to who support my work.”

Travis Stevens, Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University:

“I was privileged to hear Pauline Park’s engaging and insightful talk earlier this year (“Transgender Identities & Spiritual Traditions in Asia and the Pacific: Lessons for LGBT/Queer APIs,” Pacific School of Religion, 4.2.13). Her erudition and the remarkable breadth of her research on “proto-trangenderal traditions” exposed the ignorance of those who claim that Asian trans people can have no history, and that gender normativity is historically and authentically Asian. Her groundbreaking historical work impacted me personally, and allowed those in attendance the ability to counter a powerful ahistorical mythology that has been so damaging to the API queer community.”

Itala Rutter, writer & former member of the board of Queens Pride House:

Pauline is simply extraordinary: original in her approaches to fundraising, public outreach, community service and advocacy. Pauline is highly respected and visible as spokesperson and public mover for international human rights. She is compelling both in person, as communicator and as essayist and scholar. Queens Pride House is very fortunate to have a leader of her caliber. (10.14.12)

Max Niedzwiecki, principal, Daylight Consulting Group:

Pauline was a wonderful teacher for me when I was first trying to grasp the complexities of the transgender community. I was writing National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans’ political platform for the last presidential election, and she helped me to understand how issues pertinent to the APA transgender community could be integrated with sections on health, immigration, and other policy areas. She always patiently answered my questions and made herself available to me on several occasions. I’m very grateful for her mentorship, and hope we have the opportunity to work together again. (2.25.12)