“Lens on Gender and Sexuality” – A Photography Exhibition

by Sara Finlayson, CREGS Spring 2012 Student Intern

On Friday April 13th, 2012 the “Lens on Gender and Sexuality” photography exhibition opened at the newly created Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality (CREGS). This photo exhibit was produced in celebration of the launch of CREGS, the product of a merger between National Sexuality Research Center and the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality. Alongside the many festivities at the launch, including political speakers, music, and food, the “Lens on Gender and Sexuality” exhibition opened. The goal of the exhibition is to visually promote discourse on important issues related to gender and sexuality.

In March CREGS issued a call for photographs, welcoming submissions from professional and amateur photographers. In just a few weeks, nearly 100 photographs were submitted by photographers from across the globe. Selected photographs are now displayed in the halls of CREGS, as well as in the online version of the exhibit featured on the CREGS website.

“I knew that there were likely amazing photographers out there who had important and interesting things to say about gender- and sexuality-related issues,” said Anu Manchikanti Gomez, CREGS researcher and curator of the exhibit. “Any way that CREGS can stimulate dialogue about these topics really fits in with our mission.”

The photography exhibit appeared to motivate the guests at the launch to critically think about the diversity of gender and sexuality issues. The issues addressed in the photos range from gender inequality to homelessness among LGBT youth to the commodification of sexual fantasy. During the CREGS launch event, many of the guests mingled by the photos to discuss what they saw and how they interpreted gender and sexuality in each photo.

Overall, the photo exhibit was a success, as both guests and researchers explored ideas about gender and sexuality collectively. “While a photo exhibit is outside the realm of our traditional work, it supports our goal of inspiring dialogue about gender and sexuality,” said Dr. Gomez “The photos are amazing and engaging, and people can’t help but stop and look as they walk down our halls.”