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2014 Conference Sessions

The theme for the conference this year is Finding Your Voice. During this day-long conference, students, faculty, staff, and community members from across the Lehigh Valley will come together to discuss strategies and build skills in finding one’s voice, share stories to engender learning from others’ voices, and recognize the potential impact of finding one’s own voice and listening to the voices of others.

Below you can see the sessions planned for this years conference. This is the confirmed schedule for this year.

Session 1   10:00am - 11:00am


Finding Your Voice in the Bedroom (and anywhere else you like to get it on) - Brooke DeSipio

This interactive workshop will help participants “find their voice” in intimate relationships by exploring their erotic potential, establishing their personal boundaries, and learning to communicate with partners. The workshop begins with a hands-on activity that allows the participants to engage their five senses. Based on this shared experience they will then conduct self-reflective work to assist them in exploring their own erotic potential. After gaining further insight into their sexuality they will learn skills to aid them in articulating and communicating their boundaries and desires to their partners. These communication skills are an essential component of learning to obtain and give consent. Group discussion will allow participants to hear and reflect on others’ erotic preferences and personal boundaries in order to demonstrate diverse perspectives. By the end of the workshop participants will gain concrete sexual negotiation skills to help them feel empowered to create healthy, pleasurable, and communicative relationships. These communication skills are transferable to all intimate relationships.


CIStemic Allyship: Finding Your Voice as a Trans* Ally - Chelsea Fullerton & Andy Cofino

Description: This workshop is for all allies who have a good understanding of terms like transgender & cisgender but are ready to move deeper into allyship. We'll spend time developing a greater understanding of concepts like cisgender privilege, trans* oppression, and common pitfalls for trans* allies. The focus of the workshop will be an initiative that participants will immediately put into practice. Participants are encouraged (but not required) to bring their smartphones, tablets, laptops, or other devices.

Abstract: Transgender allyship workshops and trainings often center around terminology and concepts like gender identity / expression, but fail to go deeper when it comes to challenging and activating cisgender persons as allies. Additionally, many workshops focus on action planning, but rarely offer immediate opportunities for participants to become active allies during the workshop itself. Because of this, our workshop aims to push participants in their own allyship journeys, empower them through accountability strategies, and motivate them to put their values immediately into action. Through interactive activities, thought-provoking exercises, and concrete actions, it is hoped that participants will leave with a heightened commitment to trans* allyship and a better understanding of what that looks like in their day-to-day lives.


Marriage Equality - Why It Has Become the Top Issue & How PA Same-sex Couples Can Legally Marry - Liz Bradbury, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Diversity Network

A practical presentation on how to explain why legal same-sex marriage has become the top issue in the fight for LGBT Equality, even in states that lack the most basic civil rights legislation. Learn to articulate why employment, housing, and public accommodation non-discrimination bills have stalled in Harrisburg and Washington, while polls show public support of marriage equality rising sharply. Hear the latest on the Pennsylvania federal and state court cases that will bring marriage equality to PA and the whole United States. Be able to tell your LGBT Pennsylvania friends who are in committed relationships exactly how they can get legally married today. Be able to explain what important and essential federal legal rights and societal recognitions come with legal marriage for all same-sex couples, even those not living in marriage equality states, and why couples who would marry if they could, should go to a marriage equality state and marry right away.

This presentation also includes the simultaneous projection of the national award winning Pennsylvania Diversity Network Photo Project - 800 Same-sex Couples: Facing Inequality

Liz Bradbury is a top expert on marriage equality in Pennsylvania. She has organized rallies, keynoted conferences, done hundreds of presentations, and has written over 400 published non-fiction articles on marriage equality and other LGBT issues since she began her LGBT activism career in 1979. Bradbury has led the passage or helped to pass, 9 significant LGBT municipal civil rights laws in PA, including helping to write some of the legislation. She has also helped dozens of Pennsylvania same-sex couples get legally married in marriage equality states.


Making LGBTQ Studies 'Work' For You: Career Opportunities for Scholars and Activists - Dr. Christianne A. Gadd

Many undergraduates in interdisciplinary studies (including Women's/Gender/Sexuality Studies) confront the same concerned query from families and friends: "But what are you able to DO when you graduate?" This presentation will provide you with an arsenal of answers to that question!

Dr. Christianne Gadd (Ph.D., History, Lehigh University) will discuss the wide variety of opportunities open to students who have focused on LGBTQ issues in their scholarly careers, and will provide you with some helpful tools for locating these fulfilling positions!

Attendees are encouraged to bring their resumes/C.V.s to this panel for discussion.


Finding the Job: Unearthing and Maintaining a LGBTQIA-friendly Work Environment - Deirdre Kamber Todd

Finding a job in today’s market can be extremely challenging for anyone. Coupling these demands with being LGBTQIA, it can be very difficult to find a positive and openly accepting workplace. Even when a promising opportunity comes along, moreover, how does an applicant or employee uncover the truth as to whether the employer is likely to be accepting of his or her LGBTQIA lifestyle? From workplace policies to benefits to affinity groups, there are a variety of ways you can evaluate and develop your personal "fit" in an organization's environment.

In this session, you will learn about tactics, opportunities, resources, and best practices for revealing an employer’s day-to-day work environment and about what you can do, as an applicant or employee, to foster a more supportive workplace for yourself and your coworkers.



Session 2   11:15am - 12:15pm


Make Your Mark in Social Media: A Q & A Panel - Moderated by Lehigh's Director of Brand and Social Media- Lindsay Lebresco

Want to know what it's like to have a Youtube video go viral? Want tips and tricks on how to make your blog better? Want to know how someone gets a following on twitter? This is the session for you. Nick Foti and Jaime Karpovich will be sitting on the panel to tell you how they started their social media presence and answer your questions on how to create your own voice.

Nick was born and raised in Middlesex, New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair State University in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communication. Since 2008, he has been making comedy videos on YouTube under the name soundlyawake and currently has over 300,000 subscribers and 32 million views. In 2012, he had a viral hit called "Sh*t Girls Say to Gay Guys which has amassed over 7 million views. His secondary channel, stillsoundlyawake, features extra content from his main channel along with day-to-day vlogs with his family and friends and currently has over 113,000 subscribers and 47 million views. Also in 2012, he had a pair of viral hits when he recorded his mom sleepwalking and her reaction. Together, the two sleepwalking videos have over 15 million views.

Jaime Karpovich is the host of Save the Kales!, a half-hour vegan cooking and lifestyle TV show based in the Lehigh Valley. She is a freelance writer and author of the "Fresh Perspectives with Jaime K" column in Lehigh Valley Style magazine, a public speaker and certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach, has won five Morning Call blog awards and was nominated for an Emmy in 2013. She is co-founder and board member of the Bethlehem Food Co-op and helps organize Bethlehem Vegfest.


Intersex to Interaction - Monica L. Snyder, DVM

A look into the world of intersex conditions, medical treatment, and why patients are starting to speak out.


Growing as an Ally - Sara Titcher and Miranda Gannett

Lecture and discussion session on how to grow and develop as an ally. Forming relationships and friendships with people in the LGBT community.


Writing from the Sticky Space - Matt Dicken

Often our queer desire sizzles in the sticky space between different constructions of sexuality. Can we trace our identities to figures of queer imagination and socialization? What can we gain by taking on the voices of queer folk of the past or present? How do we mimic, comment upon, or change these legacies as we learn to write and tell our own stories? What are the challenges or ethics of doing so as we dream of revolutionary queer futures?

After an opportunity to reflect on moments from our lives that played a role in forging our queer identities, we will imagine what it would be like for a ghost of the past, a current pop cultural character, or even a workshop partner to tell our story. This act of writing ourselves into the canon connects us to our too-often-hidden history and lets us develop tools to speak our truths with more specificity.

Matt Dicken recently performed a solo performance about his negotiations of a 21st century, out, gay male identity from the US during his recent travels in India. As his romantic relationship with an Indian man deepens, he has developed narrative strategies that push him to remain critically self-aware as he loves across vast distance and difference. The solo performance was commissioned by Muhlenberg College’s theatre department for an Emerging Artist festival and was included in the Muhlenberg Multicultural Advisory Board’s lecture series, “Mapping Intersections of Power.”


Bringing your Whole Self to Work as an LGBTQIA Individual - Chiquita Geldorp, Eryne Boyle, and Elizabeth Pines

Have you ever wondered if you should "come out" on your resume or in the interview? Do you know what your potential employer can legally ask you regarding your sexual orientation in an interview? What questions should be asking your employer relating to benefits, health care, and other resources they provide to their LGBTQ employees? These questions and more will be addressed through this session! You will receive the tools to navigate through the resume and interview process while addressing these vital questions, as well as hear personal experiences from the facilitators.



Session 3   2:30pm - 3:30pm


Building our Mosaic - Margarida Da Graca and Aarsenio Perry

Participants will be creating and sharing the various pieces that create the Mosaic of their lived-experiences and stepping outside of the boxes. As a society we are constantly placed into boxes because of our identities and this experience is an opportunities for participants to step back and look at the all the pieces that create our stories


Independent Publishing - How To Get Your LGBT Writing Into Print and Make a Living From It - Liz Bradbury, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Diversity Network

A nuts and bolts presentation on how you can get your fiction or non-fiction writing into hard copy and e-copy publication, and why independent publishing is the fastest way to make a living as an author writing books. National award winning author Liz Bradbury will concisely outline the steps to independent publication, why it costs next to nothing, and how independent publication of your work gives you a much higher royalty than traditional publishing. Emphasis will be on LGBT genre fiction writing, but the publishing basics can be applied to anything from poetry to non-fiction research. This is a practical “how-to” presentation about getting your words into print once they are crafted into a finished work. A brief over-view of marketing will also be covered.

Liz Bradbury is the author of the Maggie Gale Mystery Series. Her work has been touted in the Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. Her 1st book Angel Food and Devil Dogs was called “Perfect” by Houston Out Smart Magazine, was named one of the top 20 Lesbian Mysteries in 2010 by Curve Magazine, and was recommended in Autostraddle.com. Her 2nd book Being the Steel Drummer won the National Golden Crown Literary Society Award for Best Mystery in 2013.


Post-Gay: Politics & Aesthetics - Jon Henry

The Queer Rights Movement has rapidly progressed over the past 40 years. Throughout this period, the arts have been crucial in furthering political actions and creating community. The first half of the workshop will cover the infusion of art into queer activism and identity; I will be including some of my own arts related projects focused on community development and social activism. With this shared narrative, the group will delve into a discussion about the futures of queer activism and arts. Particular focus will be directed towards an ongoing schism in LGBT and queer activism around issues of assimilation, intersectionality, representation, colonialism, assemblage, aesthetics, and liberation and their appearances in visual culture.


Trans* Youth Policy Briefing and Advocacy Training - Jason Landau Goodman and Turner Stulting

Young transgender and gender non-conforming Pennsylvanians have unique and often challenging experiences in affirming their gender under the law. Adopting effective policies, as well as ensuring their successful implementation, can be crucial for trans* youth to have a positive social development. This session will educate participants on the local, state, and federal laws that have direct impact on trans* youth. Participants will gain valuable skills to use in their school and home communities in the push toward trans* justice. We will also examine several case studies of anti-trans* discrimination involving youth in the Lehigh Valley.



Session 4   3:45pm - 4:45pm


Summer Project 2013 - Kye Allums

This past summer, Kye and his crew traveled around the United States, and the United Kingdom to spend a day in the life with 8 transgender people. Each visit was filmed and turned into a short documentary in the hopes of spreading transgender awareness. Kye will talk about the origins of the project and show some clips of the documentary.


A Space for All: Building LGBTQIA Student Group Where All Have A Voice - Chelsea Fullerton & Andy Cofino

Description: Are you involved in a student organization or group that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, questioning, and allied folks? Whether you're a student leader, an active member, or a frequent participant, you have a role in ensuring that your space is inclusive, intersectional, and welcoming for everyone. Come learn practical skills through this interactive workshop that you can take back to your school!

Abstract: Leadership opportunities for LGBTQIA high school and undergraduate students are becoming more frequent at schools across the country. However, issues of intersectionality are rarely fully understood in those spaces. The importance of building an inclusive LGBTQIA student group is essential for these students to widen their reach, increase their membership, and make their mark on their peers and on their campuses. Through interactive activities and brainstorming sessions specific to students' own contexts, principles of social justice will be examined, including power, privilege, oppression, liberation, and intersectionality. Dyad, small-group, and large-group discussions will ensure active participation from all attendees. Participants will come away with clear action items that they can put into practice upon returning to their campuses.


Write Now! Your Story - Dr. Rita Jones

This session will provide participants the chance to write, read, discuss, and refine their stories as part of reflection and preservation of their individual and ever-changing voices. Our stories change over time, and this session provides space to interact with our stories on paper. Writing forces us to read who we are in ways that we cannot when we speak, text, and think.

As we share parts of our stories with other participants, we can also see where our stories intersect and acknowledge and learn from the differences. Moving from thought, to print, to speaking, participants will witness how quickly their own stories change. Participants will keep their writings at the close of the session.