Debra Davis

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Gender, Sexuality Issues Explored in Lawrence University Conference

Former high school librarian Debra Davis, now the executive director of the Gender Education Center, a Minnesota-based advocacy and education organization that promotes understanding, acceptance and support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, will deliver the keynote address at a day-long conference examining gender identity and sexuality issues Saturday, April 3 at Lawrence University.

The conference, “Who are the People in Your Neighborhood? Recognizing the ‘T’ and ‘B’ in GLBTQ,” will feature Davis’ address, a series of workshops, a documentary film and a drag show/dance.

Attendance at the conference is open to the public, however registration is required to attend the workshops. Interested participants can register the day of the conference ($15), beginning at 8:30 a.m. April 3 in the Science Hall Atrium on the Lawrence campus. Registrations will be accepted throughout the day until 5:30 p.m. The conference is open to Lawrence faculty, staff and students free of charge.

Highlighting the conference will be Davis’ keynote address, “Reading Rainbows: An Evening with a Transgendered Librarian,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. Unlike the rest of the conference, there is no charge to attend Davis’ lecture.

The conference will feature morning and afternoon workshop sessions conducted in Briggs Hall and Wriston auditorium led by Lawrence University faculty and students. Workshop topics scheduled include:

• Gender 101, led by Davis.

• What a Lesbian Looks Like: The Problems and Promise of Picturing Identity, led by Alexis Boylan, assistant professor of art.

• Rejecting Labels, Embracing Ambiguity: Challenging Gender and Sexual Binaries, led by Lawrence seniors Courtney Doucette and Erin Knapp.

• Boys in Skirts: Cross-dressing and Fluidity of Desire in Shakespeare, led by Gina Bloom, assistant professor of English.

• Putting a Queer Cast into a Straight Past, led by Edmund Kern, associate professor of history.

• Connecting the Personal, the Political and the Academic, led by Monica Rico, assistant professor of history.

• Conceptualizing No Gender: Buddhist Views of Sexual Identity, led by Dirck Vorenkamp, associate professor of religious studies.

• What Does Biology Have to Do With It?, led by Nancy Wall, associate professor of biology.

Other conference activities include a screening of Joelle Ruby Ryan’s documentary film, “TransAmazon: A Gender Queer Journey” at 3:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium and a drag show/dance at 9 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Additional conference information can be found at

The conference is sponsored by the student organization GLOW, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Class of 1965 Student Activities Grant.