GALA Senior Essay Prize

In association with GALA (the Yale Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae Association), LGBT Studies awards an annual GALA Senior Essay Prize. Any senior essay or senior project, submitted to any department or program in Yale College, is eligible if it addresses a topic relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies. Essays or projects can be submitted through the online GALA Senior Essay Prize Application. Student’s name, address, phone number, UPI #, major(s), advisor(s), and residential college are required.  Please submit the essay saved as a PDF.  Submissions are due no later than Friday, April 21, 2017.

Recent GALA Prize Winners:

2016 

Sarah Giovanniello, “Marching Sideways: Queering Adolescence in Nadezhda Durova’s The Cavalry Maiden

and

Eliana Kwartler, “The Marked Body of Christ: Constructing a Queer Religion in the AIDS-Era Works of David Wojnarowicz and Ron Athey
 

2015

Jason Cyrus Mazella, “Queer Civil Society in Contemporary China: Understanding Variation in Success Across Gay and Lesbian Organizations”

and

Christopher John Mulvey, “Male Bodybuilding: Theorizing the Hyperbuilt Body”

2014

Gabriel Murchison, “Clinics, Cancer, and Children: Lesbian Health in the U.S. AIDS Crisis”

2013

Rachel Looff, ‘The “Dykes” Chapter: Response to “In Amerika They Call Us Dykes” as a Representation of Lesbian Participation in the 1970s US Women’s Health Movement’

2012

Joan Gass , “Queer Colonialism? International LGBT Funding in Bangalore, India.”  This paper analyzes the role of Western LGBT funding in the formation of working-class sexual subjects in Bangalore, India. To do so, this paper analyzes pivotal moments in the history of Sangama, a gender and sexuality minorities organization in Bangalore. In particular, this paper explores how Sangama both challenges dominant modes of Western LGBT activism, but also adopts a colonialist attitude toward its constituents. As Sangama evolves, it grows more disconnected from its constituents,  creating ruptures that lead to the emergence of a new political hijra subject and raising complicated questions about the responsibility for international funders to withdraw funds.

2011

Gabriel Seidman, “Is Safe Sex Queer Sex? Understanding Trends in HIV Transmission Prevention Amongst Men Who Have Sex With Men.”  With new HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) on the rise in the United States, the epidemic still represents a critical threat to this community. This essay considers how queer theory and queer ethics can contribute to HIV transmission prevention and safe sex discourses today.  Historically, many queer theorists have written off interventions coming from public health regimes while championing the grassroots organizing of gay men.  I argue that such critiques derive from a highly specific and possibly misguided reading of Foucault and that they actively prevent progress in HIV prevention work.  Indeed, many safe sex messages written by and for the gay community seem to have stagnated, often coming down to the overly reductionist and ineffective message to “use a condom every time.”  On the other hand, at least certain research agendas in the field of public health today might hold promising new strategies from preventing the spread of HIV while simultaneously promoting certain queer values.  In particular, the concept of seroadaptation- or various strategies besides consistent condom use designed to lower transmission risk- seem to have both health potential and queer potential. 

2010

Bradley K. Milam, “Gay West Virginia: Community Formation and the Forging of a Gay Appalachian Identity, 1963-1979.”  As the title denotes, the essay focuses on the development of stronger and more defined communities of and identities for gay men and lesbians. Most of them faced and feared religious-based hostility, violence and condemnation throughout this period and for decades before it, which delayed the establishment of gay bars and the emergence of a visible and defined gay community; nevertheless, they retaliated in these years by forming and frequenting their own gay bars for the first time, which they called “family bars,” and which became centers of gay life throughout the state — and later by filling the pews of a gay-affirming church in Charleston, West Virginia, in clear retaliation of their former oppressive religious experiences. As bars gave them a strong, well-defined and more visible community that encouraged many to “come out,” their time at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Charleston furthered that family bond and gave them a tremendous sense of legitimacy in such a religiously-focused region. These experiences enabled them to both sustain a gay community and feel welcome in their own facet of life in Appalachia.

2009

Kathryn Himmelstein, “Scared Straight: Institutional Sanctions against LGBTQ Youth”

Anna Wipfler, “The Making of ‘the Gay Ivy’: A History of Lesbian and Gay Student Organizing at Yale, 1969-1987”

2008

Michael Nedelman, for his film “Everyone Who Has Ever Lived Here”

2007

Matthew Busick, “Becoming a Yale Man: Intimacy among Yale Students in the Nineteenth Century”

Robin Pearce, “A House Divided: The Shifting Identity of the Black Church Navigated through the Discourse of the Lives of Men Who Have Sex with Other Men”