Rainbow Center Symposium

The Rainbow Center is excited to announce the hosting of the inaugural Rainbow Center Symposium during LGBTQIA+ History Month.  The symposium is confirmed to be held on Friday October 15, 2021

Registration for students, staff, and faculty has closed as we are at maximum capacity! 

The morning segments including Amy Griffin’s presentation, Mick Powell’s keynote performance, as well as some of the workshop sessions will be available virtually on the Webex platform.  Please refer to the links to the right of their respective titles.

 

Below is the schedule for the day.  Check in, Welcome/Opening and Keynote will all be hosted in Student Union 304.

 

                                    8:30-9:15am: Coffee/Tea & pastries/free t-shirt pickup

                                    9:15-9:30am: Land Acknowledgment and Welcome Remarks (virtual link  Passcode: Rainbow2021)

                                    9:30-10:00am: Opening, Data Presentation, CT LGBTQ Community Survey by Amy Griffin (virtual link  Passcode: Rainbow 2021)

                                    10:15-11:45am: Session Block A, 90 min. choice of 4 presentations (see below for choices)

                                    11:45-12:00pm: Break

                                    12:00pm-1:00pm: Lunch [on your own]

                                    1:00pm-2:15pm: Keynote Performance by Mick Powell, Assistant Professor in Residence, UConn Stamford (virtual link  Passcode: RC2021)

                                    2:15-2:30pm: Break 

                                     2:30-4:00pm: Session Block B, 90 min. choice of 3 presentations (see below for choices)

                                     4:15-5:15pm Session Block C, 60 min. choice of 3 presentations (see below for choices)

 

A BLOCK 

Growing Up Trans (virtual link   Passcode: RC2021)

Presenters: Micah Heumann (he/him/his)

Session: A1, Student Union 304

Format: Speaker Presentation (presentation with Q&A)

Level: Beginner

Length: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives:Better understanding of raising a transgender identified child.Identifying as transgender is just one piece of many that make up each of us. Learning how to empathize with families in the QUEER community.

Summary: Parent discusses their family’s experience in raising a child that identifies as transgender. Allow participants to get an inside look around the challenges and most importantly the rewards of raising a transgender child.

Queer Pedagogy is a Thing with Feathers

Presenters: Barb Gurr (she/her/hers)

Session:  A2, Student Union 310

Format: Workshop (audience participation)

Level: Beginner

Length: 90 minutes

Learning Objectives: 

1) Attendees will be able to demonstrate an understanding of queer pedagogy; 2) attendees will be able to explain the necessity of queer pedagogy in the Higher Ed (or any) classroom; 3) attendees will be able to apply queer pedagogy to their teaching and/or administrative role

Summary: Although queer theorists have frequently debated the utility of the future, queer pedagogy is unabashedly hopeful. Relying on the theoretical work of J. Halberstam, Jose Munoz, and Wilson and Laing among others, this workshop will lead attendees through core practice tenets of a hopeful queer pedagogy. Attendees will develop: a (brief) queer pedagogical statement, queer course meta-objectives and ways to scaffold these into course development and ways to queer assessments of student learning.  Any course can be queer, and it’s possible that every course should be; we will debate the curricular merits and challenges of queer pedagogy, and of hope.

 

Identity and the College Experience

Presenters: Liza Boritz (she/her/hers)

Session: A3, Student Union 403, Rainbow Center Program Room

Format: Workshop (audience participation)

Level: Intermediate 

Length: 90 minutes

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore the influence of college student identity development on retention and student success.
  2. Conduct a critical analysis of current models of student retention.
  3. Create goals for more completely incorporating identity and intersectionality theories into practice.

Summary:  College student success (graduation rates, academic achievement, student integration, and satisfaction) have long been viewed through the lens of curriculum and instruction and/or student academic preparedness. However, studies show that these are fairly ineffective predictors of college student success. While the role of identity and intersectionality has become more prominent in the student development conversation in recent years, research is slow to contribute practical tools for professionals working with college students. In this workshop, I plan to share an overview of my dissertation research on the influence of identity on college student success, utilize hands-on activities to increase mastery of the content, and facilitate a discussion to identify practical, real, actionable behaviors and practices to improve the experience for all students.

 

Recovering an Early Lesbian-Queer Novel: Aimee Duc’s Are They Women? A Novel of the Third Sex (virtual link   no passcode)

Presenters: Margaret Breen (she/they)

Session: A4, Student Union 421, Women’s Center, Virtual Platform, WebEx

Level: Intermediate 

Length: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives: To contribute to an understanding of LGBTQIA+ Literary History. To explore/consider the necessarily shifting/changing terminology for LGBTQIA+ people. To understand the ways in which lesbian-queer history has been forgotten and to consider some of the motivations for that erasure. To advocate for the recovery of queer literature.

Summary:This talk will focus on a German lesbian novel published in 1901. In contrast to conventional understandings of pre-Stonewall queer literature, this text, one of the earliest lesbian-queer novels, has a happy ending. Why has this novel been all but forgotten? In attempting to answer this question, this talk will describe both the novel and its author, Aimee Duc. It will also explore the term “third sex,” which Duc uses to describe her characters. The term in its historical context may be understood as operating at the intersection of lesbian and trans.

 

B BLOCK

Combating Fatphobia in WLW (Women-Loving-Women) Communities (virtual link  Passcode: RC2021)

Presenters: Beck Cyr (they/them/theirs)

Session: B1, Student Union 304

Format: Speaker Presentation (presentation with Q&A)

Level: Intermediate

Length: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Increase participant knowledge on the intersections of fatphobia and queerness with a focus on WLW. This includes topics of body image, relationships, sexuality, the influence of the male-gaze and patriarchy.
  2. Encourage participants to share relevant lived experiences in a safe setting to enhance learning.
  3. Brainstorm allyship-based and community-centered action steps to combat problematic beliefs centered around fatphobia.

Summary: This program will consist of a 30-minute presentation on the intersections of fatphobia, body image, and patriarchy with the WLW community. WLW (Women-Loving-Women) includes folx that may identify as Lesbian, Bisexual, Pansexual and/or Asexual/Ace, and are attracted to others whom are not men. While fatphobia impacts more communities than WLW, this presentation will specifically address how fatphobia manifests for WLW. Following the presentation, there will be a roundtable discussion where participants can share relevant lives experiences and ask questions to each other to enhance learning. The group will brainstorm action steps to combat fatphobia and problematic language as allies and members of the LGBTQ community.

 

*Important Note: this presentation will discuss things that might be sensitive to some, such as dieting, body image, and relationships. While we aim to have a safe-space, self care is always encouraged.

A gay German movie director in Hollywood: Rosa von Praunheim’s “Can I be your Bratwurst, please” (1999) 

Presenters: Florian Kastner (he/him/his)

Session: B2, Student Union 310

Format: other

Level: Intermediate 

Length: 60 minutes 

Learning Objectives: LGBTQ + history in Germany: A primary goal of my contribution is to introduce the filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim, who has played a central role in the struggle for social acceptance of homosexuals in Germany since the 1970s. Von Praunheim fought for decades for the abolition of Paragraph 165, which was in force between 1871 and 1994 and initially criminalized “homosexual acts” in general and later, after revision, under certain circumstances.

Intercultural communication: The short film “Can I be your Bratwurst, please” also addresses the clash of German and American ideas in relation to homosexuality and desire and shows possibilities of intercultural dialogue and encounters in an artistic way.

 

Summary: This contribution is a combination of an introductory lecture (20 minutes) followed by a screening of the short film “Can I be your Bratwurst, please” (1999, 30 minutes) by the German filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim, concluded by a Q&A session (10 minutes). The lecture contains background information about the movie, its location (“The Highland Gardens Hotel” in Hollywood, CA), a brief overview of the history of the German LGBTQ + movement since 1970 and a portrait of Rosa von Praunheim. Von Praunheim is considered one of the most influential and productive gay film directors in Germany and a forerunner of the political LGBTQ + movement in Europe. In the course of his career, the United States has been an important place for his creative work. Here he got to know members of Andy Warhol’s “The Factory” and documented the LGBTQ + scene in New York City of the 1980s in sound and image. In 1999, his short film “Can I be your Bratwurst, please” was released. The main role is played by Jeff Stryker, a well-known American porn actor. In the movie, “the new guest” (Stryker) gets a room at a motel in Hollywood, CA and finds himself surrounded by the German owner of the hotel and his mother and other hotel guests who admire him. Are the residents’ cannibalistic fantasies just a dream or a reality?

Even more than 20 years after its appearance, this short film is fascinating, sometimes bizarre and with the artistic signature of Rosa von Praunheim, who brings together professional and amateur actors from various social backgrounds to show his very own version of what “camp” is.

Trigger Warning: This short film contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing, including (and not limited to) nudity, cannibalism and suicide.

 

Asexuality: A Guide

Presenters: Megan Graham (she/her/hers), Cristina Knowles (she/her/hers)

Session: B3, Student Union 421, Women’s Center

Format: Workshop (audience participation)

Level: Beginner

Length: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives: Education on the history of asexuality, an outlook on its future, and how someone can be a better ally to the community

Summary: This program will be exploring the asexual community as a whole by looking at the past of asexuality and how it has shaped the community today. Including examples of media representation, Acephobia, and ace appreciation that we see currently, we also plan on discussing what we may see in the community’s future through a positive and honest lens. We recognize that asexuality is an unfamiliar topic for many people so we plan on prefacing this with an introduction about the spectrum, identities, and the ranges of attraction people experience. This program will be rounded off with how someone can be a better ally to the ace community and highlighting actions that are deemed harmful to us. This workshop will be interactive with its audience including polls, individual activities, and discussion based questions

C BLOCK

Drag Expression and how it interfaces with Dragism, Coping, Resilience, and Generativity

Presenters: Laura Donorfio (she/her/hers), Brian Chapman (he/him/his)

Session: C1, Student Union 421, Women’s Center

Format: Speaker Presentation (presentation with Q&A)

Level: Beginner

Length: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives:

Participant’s will be able to:

  1. Identify key attributes associated with drag expression;
  2. Examine how drag expression serves as a healthy coping and/or resilience mechanism;
  3. Examine how drag expression interfaces with gender norms through the lens of societal expectations;
  4. Consider the impact drag expression has on individuals, their family systems, and the relationships around them throughout the lifespan;
  5. Reflect on personal feelings and values that underlie various aspects of what it means to be a drag queen.

Summary: This presentation will share the exploratory, qualitative findings of a pilot study (n=5) examining the lived experiences of older drag queens, age 50+. Drag queens are an “understudied population in the counseling literature, though they may possess unique characteristics as a subpopulation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community that are worthy of exploration” (Knutson, Koch, Sneed, and Lee, 2018, p. 32). Of particular interest is the unique expression of playing with and deconstructing gender and sexual categories. As Taylor and Rupp (2015) suggest, “… drag queens play with and deconstruct gender and sexual categories in their performances and the way this makes gender and sexual fluidity and oppression visible” (p. 2133). Research findings report that sexual minority youth experience bullying, anxiety and lower self-esteem at higher rates than their heterosexual and gender conforming peers (Jones, Robinson, Oginni, Rahman, & Rimes, 2017), however less data has been published related specifically to drag expression, and in particular, what it means to be an older adult drag queen. While it is documented that sexual minority youth report suicidal ideation at higher rates than heterosexual counterparts (Levasseur, Kelvin, Rosskopf, 2013; Mueller, James, Abrutyn, & Levin, 2015), this topic has not been studied as much among drag queens, particularly older drag queens, the population in this study. There are elevated rates of mental health problems among gender and sexual minority individuals and this requires that mental health professionals are knowledgeable about specific issues related to the mental health specifically targeted toward sexual minority individuals in the drag queen community population (Clark, et al., 2019). Several studies have noted the value of familial support and connectedness for sexual minority youth in their sexual identity development and as protective factors (Brandon-Friedman & Kim, 2016; Brown & Colbourne, 2005; Eisenberg & Resnick, 2006). Documenting and analyzing the experiences of older drag queens will better inform this less frequently studied sexual minority population. Utilizing the Grounded Theory method, this study aims to better understand the meaning of drag expression and if drag expression is a mechanism to a healthier state of self. More specifically, how drag expression is integrated with one’s persona and how it interfaces with dragism, coping, resilience, and generativity. This is significant because drag queens are an underrepresented and underserved population in the area of research (Knutson, Koch, Sneed, Lee, & Chung, 2020; O’Brien, 2018). The presentation will involve participant questions, answers, and feedback throughout the presentation .

 

AIDS @ 40

Presenters: Thomas Long (he/him/his)

Session: C2, Student Union 310

Format: Speaker Presentation (presentation with Q&A)

Level: Beginner

Length: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives: Examine health care disparities and stigma during the AIDS epidemic (inflected by race, genders, and sexualities); explore activism and resistance to respond to the pandemic.

Summary:Today’s undergraduates have only known a world in which HIV/AIDS is a manageable infection. However, for their older adult forebears, this unprecedented pandemic was a challenge to beliefs about sex, sexuality, health, and the US health system. Its devastating effects on gay men in the 1980s and 90s had had lingering effects, some of them (like political organizing) beneficial. At the same time AIDS denialism was also a part of the public health landscape, much like COVID denialism today. This presentation is designed to inform undergraduates. 

 

Exploring Mental Health Practice and Policy Approaches Among Vulnerable Younger and Older LGBTQIA+ Communities (virtual link  Passcode: RC2021)

 

Presenters: Gio Iacono (he/him/his), Breana Bietsch (she/her/hers)

Session: C3, Student Union 304

Level: Intermediate 

Format: Speaker Presentation (presentation with Q&A)

Length: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Deepen knowledge and understanding of the mental health needs of younger and older LGBTQIA+ communities.
  2. Utilizing an intersectional lens, learn about current mental health policy and practice approaches to better support the well-being of younger and older LGBTQIA+ communities.
  3. Explore LGBTQIA+ affirmative practice approaches developed in collaboration with LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults.

Summary: This presentation, entitled: Exploring Mental Health Practice and Policy Approaches Among Vulnerable Younger and Older LGBTQIA+ Communities, will explore the mental health needs of LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults (14-29 yrs.) and older adults (50+). Despite robust evidence indicating glaring mental health disparities and increased risk for mental health challenges (e.g., depression, anxiety, and suicidality) faced by these two communities, they remain underserved within mental health, and are often overlooked in public policy and research. LGBTQIA+ younger and older populations often need specialized care, and culturally-responsive prevention and intervention approaches. We will explore current research related to mental health and health among younger and older LGBTQIA+ populations, and consider emerging practice and policy approaches. Specifically, we will discuss recent LGBTQIA+ affirmative mental health practice research utilizing mindfulness-based modalities, and upcoming mental health intervention research for LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. New research frameworks for LGBTQIA+ older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic will be explored. Additionally, through experiential learning segments, participants will be introduced to, and have the opportunity to practice LGBTQIA+ affirmative mental health exercises co-developed with LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults.