Out To Lunch (OTL) Lecture Series

The Out to Lunch Gender, Sexuality and Community Lecture Series (OTL Lecture Series) is a weekly academic lecture and discussion series with guest scholars and community activists from various disciplines examining a variety of topics related to gender identity, gender expression and sexuality. Each semester offers a broad sampling of the existing research and current activism on topics that may include public health, religion, spirituality, business, military, science, K-12 education, families, immigration, literature, politics, law, community organizing, history, violence, race & ethnicity, age, counseling, therapy, sports, romance, policy and many other areas.

Out to Lunch is a interdisciplinary lecture series that focuses on queer studies. All lectures are scheduled for Wednesdays at noon at the Rainbow Center, Student Union 403, unless otherwise posted. Undergraduate students have an option to take the lecture series as a credit-bearing class UNIV 2500, “Gender, Sexuality and Community: Queer Studies in an Interdisciplinary Approach.” One does not have to be enrolled in the class in order to attend any or all of the lectures.

A listing of previous Out to Lunch Lectures can be found here.

Spring 2018 roster

January 24: Amanda Denes; “Communication from Parents and Friends: Exploring Experiences Coming Out to Parents and Social Support for LGBQ Victims of Hate Speech”

Synopsis:  This presentation will discuss two research studies focused on communication processes among LGBQ individuals and their parents and friends. First, research on individuals’ experiences coming out to their parents and the effect on future parent-child communication will be discussed. Specifically, the study explored whether some individuals feel the need to come out to their parents a second time, reasons for coming out again, and strategies used to do so. Second, a current study exploring the influence of supportive messages on health recovery for LGBQ victims of hate speech is discussed. This study aims to understand the types of supportive communication from family and friends that are most beneficial to LGBQ victims of hate speech, and the results will inform interventions that aim to build resiliency and foster social change.

Biography: Amanda Denes is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on communication in various types of interpersonal relationships such as romantic relationships, parent-child relationships, and friendships. Much of her work looks at the association between communication in interpersonal relationships and people’s physiological, psychological, and relational health. In particular, she is interested in why individuals disclose information about themselves to others, how they disclose that information, and the effects of such disclosures on individuals and their relationships. Her research looking at the relationship between communication, hormones, and sexuality has been funded by such organizations as the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.

January 31: Erin Waggoner; “#LGBTQFans Deserve Better: Pros and Cons of LGBTQ+ Television Representation”

Synopsis: While much better than even ten years ago, there are still problems that exist with the current LGBTQ+ representation on television. Social media and streaming technologies have changed previous story restrictions, fan reactions, and storytelling initiatives, but is this enough? During this lecture, we will discuss the history, community reactions, tropes, stereotypes, and representation of LGBTQ+ characters on scripted and non-scripted television. We will also discuss the recent successful social media campaign, #LGBTQFansDeserveBetter, which helped raise money for the Trevor Project and jumpstarted a national conversation about harmful television tropes for LGBTQ+ characters and those who watch.

Biography: Erin B. Waggoner, PhD (ABD), is head teaching assistant for COMM 2310W: Media Literacy at UConn, where she focuses on television production, representation and identity, and social media community. She has published previous works, including Sexual Rhetoric in the Works of Joss Whedon and a recent article on the Bury Your Gays Trope, LGBTQ Representation, and Communitarian Ethics, published in the Journal of Homosexuality. Additionally, she has presented numerous research and rhetoric papers and posters in the LGBTQ+ and Mass Communication divisions at National, International, and Local conferences in Communication, English, and Popular Culture.

February 7: Micah & Sara Heumann; “Our Family’s Transition: The perspective of parents raising a transgender child”

This lecture was cancelled due to a weather-related closure at the University of Connecticut.  It will be rescheduled for the Fall 2018 semester.

Synopsis: Raising a child who identifies as transgender presents many different challenges than raising a cisgender child.  Micah’s son Daniel invited his parents in that he is transgender when he was seven years old (although Daniel knew this much earlier).  Through this, the Heumanns, as a family, have overcome many obstacles, and learned a lot along the way.  Please come to this discussion on raising a child who identifies as transgender, and hear their family’s story and ask your questions about the whole process.  This will be an opportunity for attendees to ask the questions they have always wanted to ask, but have not had the appropriate forum to do so.

NB: The Heumann family was highlighted in the “Growing Up Trans” installment of the PBS’s show, Frontline.  To view that episode, visit https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/growing-up-trans/.

Biographies: Micah Heumann, Master of Arts in Psychology, has previously served as president of Homestead Corporation, a non-profit creating affordable housing for low-income families and individuals, and Uniting Pride Center, a non-profit multi-service agency of the LGBTQ community of Champaign County, Illinois.  He has collaborated in research identifying and bringing attention to microaggressions committed against domestic students of color in the Academic Advising environment and currently serves as an Academic Advisor in the Academic Center for Exploratory Students at UConn.

Sara Heumann, holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois, where she went on to work as a school social worker and house parent for teenage girls experiencing emotional difficulties. More recently Sara continued her work supporting others in child labor as a doula, gestational surrogate, and then later returned to school to pursue her interest in skin health. She happily takes care of her clients’ skin as a licensed esthetician at Hope and Wellness. Sara enjoys yoga, nature and spending time with her family, friends and animals. She and Micah have been married since 2002, and enjoys going to hear music together and taking hikes.

February 14: Chris Rodriguez; “Transgender Health: A Look at Gender Sensitive Healthcare”

Synopsis: In an ever-evolving society, it is imperative that clinicians adapt to the needs of our population. In 2011, 0.3% of the population identified themselves as transgender and in 2014, that statistic doubled, whereby 0.6% of the population now identify as transgender (Flores et al., 2016). Despite such a statistic, there continues to be significant barriers concerning access of health care services due to the lack of knowledge that complicates the clinical management and treatment of trans patients, the informed consent vs. the gatekeeper model, as well as access to care when referring trans patients. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the importance of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and its effects on the transitioning individual, an in-depth look at gender-affirming surgeries with estimated costs, as well as the provision of gender-sensitive care across healthcare settings.

Biography: Chris Rodriguez is a Family Nurse Practitioner who currently works for Student Health Services at the University of Connecticut and is an adjunct faculty for the University of Connecticut’s School of Nursing. Chris completed a Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Connecticut, whereby their specialty track was as a Family Nurse Practitioner. A former healthcare chaplain, Chris also completed a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, as well as a Master of Divinity from Liberty University. They are currently enrolled in the University of Connecticut’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, where their research focuses on developing and implementing an evidence-based educational program that will assist clinicians and their medical staff in meeting the healthcare needs of transgender patients in primary care settings. Chris has lectured on the importance of implementing trans healthcare in medical curriculums and uses the informed consent model for the initiation and maintenance of hormone replacement therapy in healthcare settings. Chris is interested in all aspects of primary care, with a strong focus on transgender health.

February 21: Laurel Davis-Delano & Elizabeth Morgan; “Public Displays of Heterosexual Identity: What They Reveal About Heteronormativity, Heterosexism, Bisexuality, and Gender”

Synopsis: In this lecture, we explore the phenomenon of heterosexual marking, which we define as behaviors believed to indicate heterosexuality. Drawing on findings from several research projects we recently conducted, we will first describe three main types of heterosexual marking behaviors. Then, we discuss four topics related to heterosexual marking: how heteronormative and heterosexist social context impacts this marking, ways this marking obscures bisexuality, the relationship between gender and marking behaviors, and how marking occurs following suspicion of being a sexual minority. We conclude by discussing some implications of our findings.

Biographies: Laurel R. Davis-Delano is a Professor of Sociology at Springfield College (in MA). Laurel’s research is focused on inequality based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. Four topics covered in Laurel’s publications are Native American nicknames/logos in sport, development of women’s same-sex relationships, public displays of heterosexual identity, and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Elizabeth M. Morgan is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Springfield College in Massachusetts. She received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research is on adolescent and emerging adult sexual and romantic relationship development, with a primary focus on sexual identity formation, especially heterosexual and bisexual identity development.

February 28:  Tom Long; “Queer Resistance, or, No One in America Gets What They Deserve Just Because the Deserve It”

Synopsis: This presentation engages both national history and personal history. It will begin with a historical survey of resistance to civil government and social injustice in North America, from the Colonial era to the present, with special attention to race and gender. Then it will focus on queer resistance in the late 20th century and early 21st century, including personal experiences of Dr. Tom Long, who first engaged in queer community organizing and activism in 1976 while in graduate school.

Biography: Dr. Thomas Lawrence Long is associate professor in residence in the UConn School of Nursing and serves on the core faculty of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. A former Roman Catholic priest, he earned a master’s degree in theology from the Catholic University of America in 1981. A professor of English language and American studies, he is the author of AIDS and American Apocalypticism: The Cultural Semiotics of an Epidemic. He has contributed book chapters to The Male Body in Medicine and Literature (Liverpool University Press, forthcoming), Women’s Narratives of the Early Americas and the Formation of Empire (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), Routledge Handbook on the Global History of Nursing (Routledge, 2013), On the Meaning of Friendship between Gay Men (Routledge, 2008), Catholic Figures, Queer Narratives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), and Gender and Apocalyptic Desire (Equinox, 2005).

March 7:  Ryan Watson; “Results from the 2017 LGBTQ+ Youth National Survey: Intersectionality, Schools, and Health”

Synopsis: In 2017, the Human Rights Campaign, Dr. Ryan Watson, and Dr. Rebecca Puhl surveyed over 17,000 LGBTQ+ youth aged 13-17 across the United States. Youth responded about their sexual and gender identities, health, school experiences, transgender-specific issues, and much more. This presentation will reveal the findings from the 2017 survey and discuss the future of health, research, and priorities for best serving the LGBTQ+ youth population in the United States.

Biography: Dr. Ryan J. Watson is an Assistant Professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. He explores protective factors for vulnerable adolescents, with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Dr. Watson situates himself as a mixed-methods interdisciplinary family scientist and draws from life course and developmental frameworks. To further advance the scholarship of interpersonal relationships and sexual minority youth, Dr. Watson has used both population-based and non-probability datasets from the US, Norway, and Canada to examine how social support (friends, teachers, and parents) may attenuate the impact of risk factors such as victimization, homophobia, and stigma on well-being.

March 14:  No lecture due to Spring Break


March 21:  Lisa Eaton; “How stigma impacts healthcare use among Black gay/bisexual men: Implications for PrEP and HIV prevention”

This lecture is co-sponsored by the UConn Chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association.

Synopsis: Stigma is a multifaceted, complex phenomenon that has stymied HIV prevention and treatment work since the beginning of the epidemic. In this talk, I will review the various types and sources of stigma, and how these stigmas impact healthcare engagement. I will provide information on the development and testing of programs aimed at reducing stigma and improving health outcomes for Black gay/bisexual men, in particular.

Biography: Lisa A Eaton, PhD is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. She completed her PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Connecticut and her post-doctoral work at Yale University. She has worked in the area of social determinants of HIV for the past 12 years. A majority of her work is conducted in the Atlanta, GA area where rates of HIV prevalence are alarming. She works primarily in developing and testing individual and structural interventions to improve healthcare engagement among race and sexual orientation minority populations.

March 28: Kaustav Bakshi; “Doing queer studies in India: Challenges in transforming pedagogy”

Synopsis: In this talk Dr. Bakshi shall address the interesting history of emergence of queer studies in India, which is still an extremely marginal discipline, confined to a very few metropolitan universities. Then, he shall move on to the changes in social and cultural environment of India, especially, after India opened its economy, which, enabled the development of a queer pedagogy, owing to the emergence of a number of cultural and theoretical texts. Nonetheless, ‘reading queerly’ and ‘queer sexualities’ are more often than not confused, and old-school as well as young academicians are wary of the term ‘queer’ or anything that dismantles the heteronormative way of interpreting/doing things. Sharing anecdotes, personal accounts, and classroom situations, this talk will try to provide an interesting picture of how ‘queer’, as a marker of wide range of sexualities and desires, irreducible to fixed identity categories, and ‘queer’, as a powerful critical tool to deconstruct canonical texts, are still to find a respectable place within a largely homophobic Indian academia. The talk will focus on literary texts in particular, while explaining the need and challenges in developing a pedagogy suitable to the Queer Studies discipline. This is because it is majorly through the Department of English that Queer Studies entered the higher education institutes of India.

Biography: Dr. Kaustav Bakshi is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. A Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow, his doctoral thesis, written with partial funding from the Trust, is entitled ‘Family, Sexualities and Ageing in Sri Lankan Expatriate Fiction: Kinship, Power Relations and the State’. He has published in South Asian Review (2012), Postcolonial Text (2015), New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film (2013), and South Asian History and Culture (2015/2017). A member of the editorial advisory board of Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture (Intellect Bks.), he writes regularly on queer cultures of South Asia; and, one of his recent publications include an anthology on the cinema of Rituparno Ghosh, a queer Bengali filmmaker. The volume entitled, Rituparno Ghosh: Cinema, Gender and Art, published by Routledge in 2015, is the first book length auteur study of Ghosh. One of his recent research papers, ‘In the Exigency of a National Cause: Bollywood’s Response to the Kargil War’ has been included in the Wiley- Blackwell Companion to the War Film (2016). He is currently working on three projects: the first is a book on Queer Studies with Orient Blackswan slated for publication in January 2018; the second, commissioned by Edinburgh University Press, is a monograph on Aparna Sen, a feminist Bengali filmmaker of repute; and the third, commissioned by Taylor and Francis, is a special issue of South Asian History and Culture, titled, Popular Cinema in Bengal: Stardom, Genre, Public Cultures. He recently convened an international symposium ‘Sexuality, Health and Cultural Narratives’ in association with Wellcome Trust, London, the proceedings of which are to be published by Jadavpur University Press in 2018. Another national conference, ‘Ageing, Ageism and Cultures’, organised with the sponsorship of UGC in September 2017, will soon have a conference proceedings volume published. His other published books include two co-edited anthologies, Anxieties, Influences and After: Critical Responses to Postcolonialism and Neocolonialism (2009) and Studies in Indian English Poetry (2008; rev. ed., 2012). He teaches postcolonial and diasporic literatures, gender and sexuality studies, literary theory, and popular culture at Jadavpur University.

April 4: Jen Manion; “The History of Female Husbands and the Future of Gender”

Synopsis: For over one hundred and fifty years, people who were assigned the female sex at birth, lived as men, and married women were known as female husbands. This talk will explore the lives of female husbands and their wives as well as the changing understandings of the category itself in England and the United States from 1746-1912. What can this rich history teach us about the future of gender?

Biography: Jen Manion is Associate Professor of History at Amherst College and author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) which received the 2016 Mary Kelley Best Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. Manion is co-editor of Taking Back the Academy: History of Activism, History as Activism (Routledge, 2004) and has published nearly three dozen essays and reviews in U.S. histories of gender and sexuality. Jen is the recipient of over a dozen fellowships, including one from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a current project on transgender histories in the long nineteenth-century. Manion received a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in history from Rutgers University.

April 11: Jama Shelton; “LBGT Youth Homelessness: Structural Barriers & Innovative Responses”

This lecture had been rescheduled from the Fall 2017 semester.

Synopsis: LGBTQ youth and youth of color are overrepresented in the population of youth experiencing homelessness. Service providers report that the LGBTQ youth they work with are more likely to experience physical and mental health issues, and are more likely to be homeless for longer periods of time than cisgender and heterosexual youth. The disparities are greater for transgender youth. What are the reasons for this disproportionality and what can be done to address it? Based on 9 years of direct practice experience with LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, 4 year of national organizing work to address LGBTQ youth homelessness, and current research projects conducted with transgender youth experiencing homelessness, Dr. Shelton will discuss the state of LGBTQ youth homelessness in America.

Biography: Jama Shelton, MSW, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Dr. Shelton’s research examines the needs and experiences of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and the service providers with whom they work. In particular, Dr. Shelton is interested in identifying and addressing systemic barriers rooted in hetero/cisgenderism that frequently constrain the successful transition out of homelessness for LGBTQ youth and young adults. Previously, Dr. Shelton served as the Deputy Executive Director of the True Colors Fund. In this role, Dr. Shelton was engaged in systemic change efforts directly informed by years of direct practice experience. Having worked in the areas of clinical practice with LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, as well as program development, evaluation, research, technical assistance and training, Dr. Shelton brings a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing both LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and also the service providers with whom they work. Most recently, Dr. Shelton co-edited the peer-reviewed text Where Am I Going to Go? Intersectional Approaches to Ending LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada and the US, published by the Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.

April 18: Michael Bartone; “Jack’d, a Mobile Social Networking Application: A Site of Exclusion Within a Site of Inclusion”

Synopsis: User-generated smartphone applications have created a new level of virtual connectivity for gay males, one in which users can create profiles and meet other users as nearby or as far away as possible. For those within close proximity, the other users can be considered their “virtual neighbors.” Although the applications are theoretically designed to be places of inclusion and not exclusion, where any gay male with economic means can download an application, many profiles have been created that exclude other users. Through an examination of profiles on one such application, Jack’d, exclusion is found in the way users celebrate and reinforce ideas of traditional masculinity and denigrate and reinforce stereotypic ideas of femininity embodied by some gay men. Jack’d, and other user-generated smartphone applications, can be read as virtual neighborhoods where one is excluded based on their gender performance.

Biography: Michael D. Bartone, PhD. is an assistant professor of elementary education in the department of Literacy, Elementary, and Early Childhood Education at Central Connecticut State University. His work focuses on the intersections of race and sexuality and youth come to know and understand these intersecting identities through schooling experience. Further, he examines what teachers know about these intersecting identities and how their instruction (in/ex)cludes these identities.

April 25: M. V. Lee Badgett; “Left Out? LGBT Poverty in the U.S. and What to Do About It”

Synopsis: Recent policy victories have moved LGBT people in the U.S. closer to formal legal equality, but evidence of continuing economic inequality persists. This presentation will present recent work providing new details on the risk of poverty for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The second part of the talk will address policies that could reduce poverty for LGBT and heterosexual people. In addition, the presentation will include a discussion of how the research on LGBT poverty has influenced the policy agenda-setting process through the LGBT Poverty Collaborative, a project of researchers, service providers, social movement organizations, and advocates working at the federal and state levels.

Biography: M. V. Lee Badgett is a professor of economics and the former director of the School of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a Williams Distinguished Scholar at UCLA’s Williams Institute and was the Institute’s first Research Director. Badgett received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California-Berkeley in 1990, and has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago. Her current research focuses on poverty in the LGBT community, employment discrimination against LGBT people in the U.S., and the cost of homophobia and transphobia in global economies. Her newest book is The Public Professor: How to Use Your Research to Change the World. Her book, When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage, analyzes the positive U.S. and European experiences with marriage equality for gay couples. Her first book, Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men, presented her groundbreaking work debunking the myth of gay affluence. Prof. Badgett’s work includes testifying as an expert witness in legislative matters and litigation (including as an expert witness in California’s Prop 8 case), consulting with development agencies (World Bank, UNDP, USAID), analyzing public policies, consulting with regulatory bodies, briefing policymakers, writing op-ed pieces, speaking with journalists, and advising businesses. She is quoted regularly in newspapers across the country, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. In 2008, Curve Magazine named her one of the twenty most powerful lesbians in academia, and she has appeared on The Advocate magazine’s “Our Best and Brightest Activists” list and Out Magazine’s “Out 100.”