Elena Elías received their Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University in 2014.

Their research centers around transgender music performance. They currently hold a position as Assistant Professor of Women Studies at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

The Art of Saying “No,” A Practical Guide

The Art of Saying “No,” A Practical Guide

April 2, 2019

Saying “no” is hard. Before I started saying “no,” I hadn’t thought much beyond the actual moment of just saying “no.” I am now realizing that saying “no” can be a thing of beauty. These days, I try & think of saying “no” as an art form. Like any creative act, how you say “no” should look unique to you. I know from experience that it takes practice, an openness to spiritual transformation, but the pros I have received in return are HUGE. If you are exhausted a lot, if you feel like you never get enough done, if you wish you had more downtime, and/or if you wish you had more time for the things that really matter in your life, I hope these suggestions are helpful and, most importantly, motivating for you. This is part a step-by-step guide, part thought-work around saying-no. A word about power/identity. People of color, queer people, women, and especially people at the intersections of these positions are often underrepresented and bear the brunt of representing the entire community of which we are a part, being in/formal mentors to others, and other aspects of minority stress. Despite a repudiation of “identity politics” (a term … Read More

​An Ode to Femmes

May 27, 2018

A “femme” is anyone who makes of femininity a ritual and practice of everyday life, through dress, makeup, energy, and/or affect, whether they use that term for themselves or not. You are my greatest inspiration. You are some of the most talented healers of the world. You teach people to be better and you do it lovingly. You have such vitality that the world moves around you to let you through. You are femininity on wheels, dancing this world in a pair of heals or sneakers. When you laugh, you share it like an aural bouquet that floats above heads for all to smell your joy. It is in large part because of your nurturance, because of you lovingly schooling me when I regurgitated femmephobia, who helped me come in to my identity as such. Through you I learned that authentic beauty and sexiness is as wild as the flowers in a grassy field, and born of the sun, earth and water that is the makeup of your life. Our vital energy, like air, water, and life, is a resource. People sometimes honor us by bearing witness, by saying “my god, YOU.” People can be with us and let us … Read More

Read Elena's Published Work (selections)

“The New ‘Queer’ and the Old Racism”
Women and Music (2018)

“Is Transmisogyny Killing Trans Women of Color?”
Transgender Studies Quarterly (2017)

“‘Who's the Crack Whore at the End?’... Sonic Borderlands in the Music of Yva las Vegass.” Text and Performance Quarterly (2015)

Contours through Covers: Voice and Affect in the Music of Lucas Silveira
Journal of Popular Music Studies (2013)