illustrations of faces
A series of illustrations from Maia Kobabe. Series can be found here:

Artists, authors, advocates, and academics will lead the 25th anniversary of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Student Research Symposium at Illinois State University.  

Registration is now available for talks and presentations highlighting student research. Keynote speakers for the sympsoium will include internationally known author Arlene Stein, advocate Veronica Ivy, scholar Karma R. Chávez, and illustrator Maia Kobabe.

The symposium centers scholarship, performances, and ideas that are underrepresented in the traditional university curriculum. A combination of live and recorded performances, panel discussions, readings, and presentations will be available. Presented by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Illinois State University, the celebration will be virtual this year. Find the full schedule on the registration form.

To commemorate the anniversary, Milner Library opened an exhibit showcasing the symposium, which runs through early May.

headshot of Arlene Stein
Dr. Arlene Stein

Arlene Stein  
Noon, Friday, April 1 
“Fear of a Gender-Fluid Planet? Understanding New Culture Wars”

Dr. Arlene Stein is the director of the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers University. She is the author of Unbound: Transgender Men and the Transformation of Identity

Her scholarship explores gender, sexuality, American culture, and politics. Stein received the Ruth Benedict Prize for her monograph The Stranger Next Door: The Story of a Small Community’s Battle over Sex, Faith, and Civil Rights. She is also the author of Sex and Sensibility: Stories of a Lesbian Generation. 

In 2006, Stein received the American Sociological Association’s Simon and Gagnon Award for her career contribution to the study of sexualities. She teaches courses on the sociology of gender and sexuality, culture, self and society, and trauma/memory, and writing within and beyond academia. 

Veronica Ivy during a medal ceremony
Dr. Veronica Ivy

Veronica Ivy 
7 p.m., Monday, April 4 
“Sport is a Human Right, Even for Trans People: The Science, Ethics, and Law of Fairness in Competition”

Dr. Veronica Ivy is an interdisciplinary scholar who has published widely on topics of knowledge, language, gender, and issues of equity (particularly in sport). She is a world-leading expert on trans and intersex athlete rights and offers institutional diversity and inclusion training workshops. Ivy has penned articles for The New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, NBC News, VICE, and many more. She has appeared on major TV, radio, and podcast interviews to discuss trans issues and particularly trans and intersex athlete rights.  

In addition to her academic work, she is a two-time masters track cycling world champion and previous masters world-record holder. Ivy, a queer trans woman, is the first known trans woman to win a track cycling world championship.  

Ivy also engages in advocacy and activism for trans and intersex athletes. Her message is that #SportIsAHumanRight. She brings a unique perspective of being an academic, an athlete, and an activist to her work. She advises various national and international organizations, including the International Olympic Committee. 

headshot of Dr. Karma R. Chávez
Dr. Karma R. Chávez

Karma R. Chávez 
7 p.m. Thursday, April 7 
“The Borders of AIDS: Race, Quarantine, and Resistance”

Dr. Karma Chávez is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Mexican American and Latino Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  

Chávez is a rhetorical critic who utilizes textual and field-based methods and studies the rhetorical practices of people marginalized within existing power structures. She has published numerous scholarly articles and books, including Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities, as well as co-founding the Queer Migration Research Network.  

Chávez works with social justice organizations and her scholarship is informed by queer of color theory, women of color feminism, poststructuralism, and cultural studies. 

headshot of Maia Kobabe
Maia Kobabe, photo by Tristan Crane

Maia Kobabe 
7 p.m. Thursday, April 14 
“Writing and Drawing Gender”

Maia Kobabe is a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator with an MFA in comics from California College of the Arts. Kobabe’s work focuses on themes of identity, sexuality, anti-fascism, fairy tales, and homesickness.  

Eir* first full-length book, Gender Queer: A Memoir, came out from Lion Forge Comics/Oni Press in May 2019. Gender Queer was a winner of an Alex Award and Stonewall Book Award in 2020, and nominated for an Ignatz Award and the Best Graphic Novels for Teens List from YALSA in 2019. It recently received its fifth printing and has been translated into Spanish, Polish, Czech, and French. 

Kobabe’s short comics have been published on The Nib, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post. Kobabe’s work has been showcased in exhibitions internationally, from San Francisco to Vienna. 

Kobabe’s additional projects include Faster Than Light, The Sun, Strength Through Unity, We are the Ashes, We are the Fire, Dancing with Pride, The Nonbinary Bunny, Fireworks, and Fairy Tale. 

More information will be available on the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies website

*Maia Kobabe uses e/em/eir pronouns. These are a variation of the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their.