Out to Lunch Lecture Series

The Out to Lunch Gender, Sexuality and Community Lecture Series (OTL Lecture Series) is an 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. When we are allowed to have in-person presentations, all lectures are scheduled for Thursdays at 12:30pm 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.

If you are curious about the rosters we have had in the past, please see our list of previous Out to Lunch Lectures.

Spring 2021 roster

As of March 18, 2020, all in-person presentations have been cancelled however enrolled students will have online instruction for the semester unless COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.  Several of this semester’s offerings will be made available on HuskyCT for those who have a UConn email address and who have registered for notifications of a particular presentation’s availability.  Recordings of the presentations will be made available one week after the actual presentation.

Please visit the OTL post-presentation registration page in order to receive notifications of the availability of recordings.

March 4:  M. Mick Powell (she/her/hers); “Flesh Into Blossom”: The Queer Poetics of Radical Pleasure

Synopsis: Over 40 years out from Audre Lorde’s formative essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” queer feminist poets of color continue to consider how we create new work about the erotic, the intimate, and the sensual; work that illuminates the beauties and complexities of loving others and ourselves in the bodies we inhabit.  In this lecture, we’ll explore how contemporary queer and trans poets of color decenter white, patriarchal, heteronormative, and cisnormative narratives around the body and intimacy through gurlesque, afrofuturistic, and liberatory aesthetics.  Mick will read from her chapbook chronicle the body (2019) and highlight other poets narrating from new spaces of sensuality and pleasure.

Biography: M. Mick Powell (she/her/hers) is a queer Black fat femme feminist poet based in Connecticut. She is an Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut.  Mick earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Southern Connecticut State University in 2018 and her Bachelor’s in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies from UConn in 2015.  Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, Tinderbox Poetry, Columbia Journal, Apogee Journal, Winter Tangerine, and elsewhere.  Her chapbook, chronicle the body, won Yemassee Journal‘s 2nd Annual Chapbook Contest and was published in March 2019.  You can find her at www.mickpowellpoet.com.

March 18:  Luz N. Burgos-López (she/her/hers/ella); Anti-Blackness and the Monolith Construction of Latinidad

Synopsis: In this lecture, Burgos-López will expand on the construction of Latinidad in higher education by offering a conceptual analysis to examine the erasure of Blackness and anti-Blackness with Latinx literature. Burgos-López will demonstrate how this literature often erases Blackness and/or does not address anti-Blackness and in so doing perpetuates anti-Black ideology. Lastly, Burgos-López will discuss how this erasure also impacts the work to support Queer, Non-Binary, and Trans Latinx students in higher education.

Biography: Luz is a Queer non-Black Puerto Rican who is passionate about anti-racism, racial justice, and equity within BIPOC communities. Luz has been working in higher education for 10+ years with a particular focus on centering the needs and experiences of historically marginalized communities. Luz has provided various workshops and professional development opportunities to faculty, administrators, and students of addressing issues of identity, equity, and the role of anti-Blackness, whiteness, white supremacy in higher education.  Luz currently is a doctoral student in the Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy program at the University of Connecticut.  Luz earned a Masters in Counseling Education from Central Connecticut State University and a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Wesleyan University.  Luz’s research focus is  on anti-racist practices and curriculum development, and antiblackness within the Latinx community specifically non-Black Latinx in higher education.  This past year Luz established a Facebook group called “Non-Black Latinx in Higher Ed: Addressing Antiblackness in Communidad,” a virtual space for non-Black Latinx to unpack and unlearn their anti-Blackness and to work towards accountability in dismantling anti-Black ideology within and outside our community.  In addition to her work in higher education, Luz has been organizing with a group of fellow Puerto Rican educators, activist, and artist and co-founded Colectivo Bámbula (CB). CB is a collective of Puerto Ricans community builders, storytellers, artists, and anti-racist educators on the journey of rediscovery and decolonization.  As parents, siblings, and community members we believe in the collective liberation of our people, specifically towards addressing the erasure of the Afro-descendant Boricuas.

March 25:  Lisa Bowleg (she/her/hers); “‘As A Black Man, I Got 99 Problems and I Sure Ain’t Thinking About HIV at the End of the Day’: Conceptualizing Stress and Resilience Intersectionally and Critically”

Biography: Lisa Bowleg, Ph.D. is Professor of Applied Social Psychology in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at The George Washington University (GW), Director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Core of the DC-Center for AIDS Research, and the Founding Director of the Intersectionality Training Institute at GW. She is a leading scholar of the application of intersectionality to social and behavioral science research, as well as research focused on HIV prevention and sexuality in Black communities. Her mixed methods research focuses on: (1) the effects of social-structural context, masculinity, and resilience on Black men’s sexual HIV risk and protective behaviors; and (2) intersectionality, stress, and resilience among Black lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. She has served as a principal investigator of four NIH-funded R01 studies. Her current projects include: (1) Strengths and Stressors, a NIDA-funded R01 to examine intersectional stress, substance use, co-occurring negative health outcomes, and protective factors among Black men at different intersections of sexual identity and socioeconomic position; (2) a NIDA-funded administrative supplement to Strengths and Stressors, designed to recruit and specifically focus on the experiences of Black bisexual men; and (3) PRISM, a NIMH-funded R21 to develop measures of multilevel intersectional stigma for Black gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in Washington, DC and Jackson, MS; and (4) the WK Kellogg Foundation-funded Intersectionality Toolkit Project to develop an Intersectionality Checklist, case studies and implementation manual to inform U.S. maternal and child health policy. She is an associate editor of AJPH and the editor of the Perspectives from the Social Sciences section of AJPH. In 2014, the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Psychology and AIDS awarded her its Psychology and AIDS Distinguished Leadership Award.

April 1:  michael munson (he/they/any); Trans/Non-binary survivors in the whirlwind of a triple pandemic: Resistance and Resilience

Synopsis: The existence of trans and non-binary survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking is not new. Cultural changes over the past several years have added layers of complication, challenge, as well as renewed commitment to shifting the gender-presumptive paradigms, reducing barriers to accessing care and services, and enhancing circles support and embodied resilience. Content will focus on:

  • Trans-specific statistics on victimization and harm
  • Trans-specific ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)
  • The implications of the triple pandemic
  • Barriers to accessing services
  • Practical steps anyone can take to improve the lives of trans and non-binary survivors

Biography: michael munson is the Executive Director of FORGE, an organization focused on improving the lives of trans and non-binary individuals by building stronger connections, providing resources, and empowering growth through knowledge. FORGE is a national training and technical assistance provider funded through the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women and the Office for Victims of Crime. Munson’s educational background is in psychology, with an emphasis on trauma-informed care and non-traditional healing modalities. His work on violence against trans and non-binary individuals stresses the intersectionality between complex components of identity, experience, and societal constructs that can both spur violence, as well as catalyze healing for individuals and communities. He is passionate about engaging professionals to embrace these complexities and learn key skills to better serve their clients/constituents.