In Memory of Francine Ramirez, Feminist Studies posthumous BA
From Jennifer Tyburczy, Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, Director of the LGBTQ Studies Minor, and Francine’s professor in the course “Queer Theory:”
Francine Ramirez arrived to Queer Theory seminar, every day, a bright light and an emerging critical thinker of gender and sexuality, critical race studies, visual and online cultures, and LGBTQ Studies. In class, she offered concise and clear critique with an eye toward applying theories in practice. She is one of the few undergraduate thinkers I have encountered to write a nearly perfect final project, one in which applied what we learned in the course to one of the most sensitive and often untouched topics in queer theory, the question of desire, attraction, and online dating profiles. Francine understood profoundly that the world is not divided by the reductive binary terms so often sold to us as “truths.” Instead, Francine gently and respectfully went to sites of conflict within LGBTQ discourse, and believed wholeheartedly that these uncomfortable locations comprised the point of queer theoretical work.
Francine’s final paper, entitled, “No Fats, No Femmes, No Asians: The Impact of Racism, Exclusionism and Objectification on Romantic Kinship in the Gay Community” was a tour de force. To accompany her grade, I wrote the following to Francine:
“This is exceptional work. If you decide to pursue publishing, make all the revisions I suggest and take it to the writing center to receive help to polish it up before you send it out.
This would also be an excellent article--once it goes through one more revision and gets proofread several more times--for graduate school if you ever decide to pursue that. My colleague that you cite in the paper just relocated to UCSD if you ever want to study with him. Let me know if you do. He's a friend and colleague of mine, and I’d be happy to introduce you two.”
As you can tell from what I wrote, Francine was poised to pursue graduate study with a premier scholar in the field of critical race studies, queer theory, and visual cultures. I mourn the loss of Francine, not only because she was a beautiful person inside and out, but because she had so much talent as a writer, as a speaker, and as a critical thinker. The future was brighter with Francine in it, and I know I am not alone in feeling honored to have had the privilege of crossing paths with her in this life.
Francine also collaborated with me on a project with visiting Mexico City performance artist, Lorena Wolffer. The project, named Mapping Dissent, collected 66 testimonios from students, staff, and faculty at UCSB not in response to Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency, but in rejection to the normalization of its terms. Francine’s testimony, which I include here, was powerful and moving. She was also the only participant who emphatically asked that her full name be included with the testimony. In April 2017, Francine’s testimony, along with the other 65, were installed on campus for one month during a performance art walk we conducted with her colleagues, with faculty, and with staff, all led by Lorena Wolffer. Her words will live on in the book that we made of the 66 testimonies (and that has been collected by the university library) and that we collectively read from at the main bell tower at the center of the UCSB campus. The testimony exemplifies Francine’s strength, as well as her wit and sense of humor, and her brave and bold political stance.
Francine’s testimony read: “We will triumph. And no, it’s not because we believe love wins in the end and have rainbows and unicorns shooting out of our ass. It is simply because of our history. Our pain. We have garnered, through the torment and pain inflicted upon us, an immense and powerful strength. And our fortitude will overcome anything you throw our way.”
Francine Ramirez, 25
Favorite Book, The Kreutzer Sonata by Tolstoy, Favorite person in history, Lord Byron
Rest in power, Francine Ramirez. We will miss you, but we will carry on the fight.
Francine Ramirez, presente!
Francine's testimonio for Mapping Dissent: