15th Annual Summer Institute on Sexuality

Tuesday, May 30
Saturday, June 3

Sexuality, Activism, & Social Justice


All times and speakers are subject to change.

May 30, 2017
  • Darius Bost: Beyond Death: Race, Sexuality, and Black Gay Activism in the Early Era of AIDS

    9:00 am - 11:00 am

  • lunch Meet & Greet

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Aaron Belkin: LGBTQ Social Justice Advocacy in Conservative Times: How to Move Institutions that Don’t Want to Be Moved

    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Javon Johnson: Poetic Research: Artistry, Activism, and Academia

    3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

May 31, 2017
  • Alexis Martinez: Neighborhoods and HIV in San Francisco: a case study of interdisciplinary mixed methods research on place and health

    9:00 am - 11:00 am

  • Maya Sen: How Ecological Systems Theory Can Help Frame the Fight for Social Justice in Sexuality Research

    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Nico Orlandi: Gender, the brain and the mind

    3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Screening: Our Bodies, Our Porn: Pink and White Productions and the value of queer pornography

    6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 1, 2017
  • Jennifer Glick: Global Queers: Biopolitics, Queer Epistemologies, and Social Change

    9:00 am - 11:00 am

  • Cynthia El Khoury: Sexual Health among LGBT Communities in Lebanon: How HIV Prevention Programs Impact the Movement of "Key Populations"

    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

  • Tour of the LGBT History Museum

    3:30 pm - 6:30 pm

June 2, 2017
  • Richard Sprott: Community-Based Research in the Kink Communities: An Avenue of Social Justice Work

    9:00 am - 11:00 am

  • lunch provided

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Ianna Owen & KJ Cerankowski: What Does Asexuality Teach Us about Social Justice?

    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Panel: Porn, Sex Work, and Activism with Nikki Darling, Andre Shakti, & Element Eclipse

    3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

    Moderated by Zaedryn Meade

  • Keynote, Julia Serano: Sexuality, Sexualization, and Self-Examining Desire

    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 3, 2017
  • Sarolta Jane Cump: Witches in the Streets, Monsters in the Sheets

    9:00 am - 11:00 am

  • lunch provided

    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

  • Jen Reck: Public Distraction & LGBTQ Movement Conflict in the Bathroom Bills Era

    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

  • Colleen Hoff: The Impact of Activism on HIV Prevention

    3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

  • Closing Reception at the Center for Sex & Culture

    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA


Keynote: Sexuality, Sexualization, and Self-Examining Desire

Sexuality is a highly diverse phenomenon – we all differ greatly with regards to our sexual interests, orientations, preferences, expressions, and histories. While our sexualities can be positive and life-affirming, they are often complicated by sexualization – that is, when sexuality is nonconsensually imposed upon us, or when we are reduced to our sexual body or behaviors to the exclusion of other characteristics. Feminists have long discussed how women are often sexualized by heterosexual men in our culture. Less attention has been paid to the frequent sexualization of minorities and marginalized groups, who are often stereotyped as sexually promiscuous (and therefore “asking for it”), as sexual predators or deviants, and/or as the objects of “fetishes” or “paraphilias.” In this talk, I will discuss these various forms of sexualization, and offer strategies for how we can challenge them. I will also share my thoughts on how we can navigate being ethically sexual human beings in a world where certain hierarchies and stereotypes will undoubtedly influence our sexuality.

Julia Serano is an Oakland, California-based writer, spoken word performer, musician, and activist. She is best known for her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of FemininityThe Advocate placed the book on their list of “Best Non-Fiction Transgender Books,” and readers of Ms. Magazine ranked it #16 on their list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.” Her other books include 2013’s Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive (which was a finalist for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction) and 2016’s Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism (which is a finalist for this years Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction). Julia’s other writings have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, and in magazines and news outlets such as TIME, The Guardian, Salon, The Daily Beast, Bitch, AlterNet, Out, and Ms. She has gained notoriety in feminist, queer and transgender circles for her unique insights into gender, and her writings have been used as teaching materials in queer and gender studies courses across North America. Julia additionally writes silly, surreal, sex-positive fiction under the pen name Kat Cataclysm, and records indie-pop music under the moniker Soft Vowel Sounds. Information about her various creative endeavors can be found at juliaserano.com.

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Aaron Belkin is a scholar, author, activist and dancer. He has written and edited more than twenty five scholarly articles, chapters and books, the most recent of which is a study of contradictions in American warrior masculinity and the ways in which smoothing over those contradictions makes U.S. empire seem unproblematic. The book, titled Bring Me Men, was first published by Columbia University Press in 2012 and then picked up by Oxford University Press in 2013.


Belkin serves as professor of political science at San Francisco State University, where he teaches a lecture course on delusion and paranoia in American politics. Prior to his arrival at State, he was an associate professor of political science at University of California, Santa Barbara and an associate professor of psychology at City University of New York. He earned his B.A. in international relations at Brown University in 1988 and his Ph.D in political science at the University of California, Berkeley in 1998.

His awards include the Freedom Award from Beth Chayim Chadashim, the oldest LGBT synagogue in the world, and the Monette-Horwitz Award from the estate of National Book Award Winner Paul Monette. In 2011, he was a Grand Marshal in San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Parade.

 Beyond Death: Race, Sexuality, and Black Gay Activism in the Early Era of AIDS

This presentation will explore how black gay men used literary and cultural forms in the early era of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. to resist the forms of structural violence–racism, classism, homophobia, and AIDS–that threatened their lives as well as their cultural and political legacies.  Though the generation of black gay cultural producers that I consider was wiped out by AIDS complications, this presentation considers how the cultural work they left behind offers evidence for rethinking this period as more than a site of loss. We will explore their cultural work as evidence of their political longings for black queer futures beyond the forces that ushered them to premature death.​

Darius Bost is an Assistant Professor of Sexuality Studies and Assistant Director of the Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality at San Francisco State University.  His research focuses in the areas of African Diasporic literatures and cultures, LGBT and queer studies, gender and sexuality studies, trauma studies, urban studies, and critical HIV/AIDS studies.  His current book project, tentatively titled, Evidence of Being: The Black Gay Cultural Renaissance and the Politics of Violence, is an interdisciplinary study of black gay cultural movements in Washington, D.C., and New York City during the early era of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. His research has been supported by the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences at Duke University, the Presidential Award and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at San Francisco State University, the Penn Predoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Martin Duberman Visiting Scholars Program at the New York Public Library.  Bost comes to SFSU from the University of Maryland-College Park, where he earned his Ph.D. in American Studies.

What Does Asexuality Teach Us about Social Justice?

KJ Cerankowski teaches in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Stanford University. I also create and facilitate workshops for faculty on trans inclusivity and all-inclusive classrooms, and I conduct research in asexuality studies, queer studies, and trans studies.

Ianna Hawkins Owen is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work examines recitations of black failure in the forms of misrecognition, betrayal, suicide, idleness, and asexuality. Her essay, “On the Racialization of Asexuality” appears in the edited volume Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives and she is the current co-chair of the Asexuality Studies Interest Group of the National Women’s Studies Association. This fall she will join the English faculty of Williams College.

Witches in the Streets, Monsters in the Sheets

Born in Chicago, Sarolta Jane Cump has been making art and films in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past two decades. Their work exemplifies a commitment to social justice and to radical forms of cultural intervention and representation. She brings to all her projects a keen eye for stunning aesthetics, sharp political sensibility, and a healthy dose of humor and satire. They have been a member of P.A.W., an adhoc agit-prop affinity group; and served on the SF8 Defense Committee. They are an active agent of The Water Underground, a loose and variously membered cadre of artists, scientists, and water activists who share the revolutionary hope for water to rise.

When not teaching about monsters, Sarolta can be found swimming or collaborating on projects with a myriad of talented creatures.

Sexual Health among LGBT Communities in Lebanon: How HIV Prevention Programs Impact the Movement of “Key Populations”


Cynthia El Khoury received her MPH in Health Promotion and Community Health from the American University of Beirut. She works as Research Director of Transaction and Mpowerment: Two community health interventions with and for trans feminine folks and men who have sex with men. The interventions are currently being implemented to the Lebanese context in Beirut.

Global Queers: Biopolitics, Queer Epistemologies, and Social Change

Dr. Jennifer Glick received a Ph.D. in Public Health from the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Jennifer also holds a Master’s degree in public health and a graduate certificate in gender and sexuality studies from Tulane University. She has a strong interest in the intersections of gender, sexuality, public health, and social justice. Her dissertation work, “Gender Minorities and Public Health: Measurement, Discrimination, and Health Behavior”, focuses on the measurement of gender identity categories within the field of public health research and the associations between discrimination and health care access among gender minorities. She has extensive experience managing and directing HIV prevention interventions and sexual health promotion at the community level. She is currently involved in research collaborations with global and domestic partners focusing on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) measurement in domestic and global contexts, LGBT competency among public health practitioners and improving the LGBT curriculum and climate in public health institutions, and global HIV surveillance among transgender individuals. Additional research interests include community participatory action research, respondent-driven sampling, social determinants of health, minority stress, and the application of critical social theory on public health practice.

When not at her computer, Dr. Glick can be found learning to play the trombone, dancing in the streets, and sharing meals with her community.

The Impact of Activism on HIV Prevention

The early days of the AIDS epidemic were fraught with unanswered questions, fear, discrimination and death. We will discuss what it was like for people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco and how the community came together to care for one another.  ACTUP’s role in fast-tracking treatments and challenging homophobic discrimination will be highlighted.  Finally, we will discuss how prevention has evolved post ACTUP and where gaps in HIV prevention persist

Colleen Hoff is an academic and a clinician in the field of sexuality, committed to academic and research pursuits. Because she works with real people in her practice and real students in the classroom, it is important for the work that she does to have practical implications. Most of her work focuses on relationship dynamics and sexual risk for HIV and addressing sexual problems and sex therapy with couples in her private practice. Her HIV prevention work has social justice implications given that the prevalence of HIV is greatest among vulnerable populations that are primarily gay men and trans women. There continues to be a dearth of measures available to study factors that are unique to these people one of the reasons why HIV persists the way it has.

Poetic Research: Artistry, Activism, and Academia

After briefly discussing my work, and how it speaks to Sexuality, Activism, and Social Justice, I will lead the group in a poetry workshop that will open up the space to explore our bodies in relation to this year’s theme. Employing Dwight Conquergood’s incredibly useful alliteration, this workshop uses poetry writing, performance, and our personal narratives to explore how we are connected to larger political, historical, social, and economic systems and to encourage work that is critically creative. In this way, attendees will leave with a richer appreciation for and a better understanding of how their artistic, activist, and academic work might coalesce.

Professor Javon L. Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Performance and Communication Studies at San Francisco State University where he teaches courses in performance, gender, methods, race, and creative writing. After earning his Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, Professor Johnson served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, as well as the Program Manager of History at California African American Museum. Professor Johnson is currently completing two manuscripts; Killing Poetry: Performing Blackness, Poetry Slams and the Making of Spoken Word Communities (Rutgers University Press), an ethnographic project that examines the performances of race, gender, sexuality, and class in slam and spoken word poetry communities, and Chiraq: War Cries, Love and Other Stories from the Murder Capital (Northwestern University Press), a coedited volume that uses poems, essays, and interviews to explore Chicago. Additionally, Professor Johnsonwrites for The Huffington PostThe Root, and Our Weekly, and serves on the editorial board for Text & Performance Quarterly.

Additionally, Proessor Johnson is a highly awarded spoken word poet. Merging race and gender theory with comedy and lyricism, Professor Johnson began writing seriously in 2001. Shortly thereafter he won poetry slam nationals in 2003 (team Los Angeles), in 2004 (team Hollywood), and placed 3rd in 2005, making him one of a handful of poets to make finals three years in a row. Returning to slam after a brief hiatus, Professor Johnson placed 5th in 2011, 4thin 2012, and 2nd in 2013 (team Hollywood). Professor Johnson appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, BET’s Lyric Café, TVOnes Verses & FlowThe Arsenio Hall ShowThe Steve Harvey Show, and co-wrote a documentary titled Crossover, which aired on Showtime, in collaboration with the NBA and Nike. Professor Johnson recently finished a national tour with Fiveology, a collective of spoken word poets, and currently serves on the Board of Say Word, an organization that mentors teenagers and promotes creative self-expression through spoken word poetry in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times said, “From subject matter, to wordplay to delivery, he is working it out! It’s hard not to have good times while watching him have a good time on stage.

Neighborhoods and HIV in San Francisco: a case study of interdisciplinary mixed methods research on place and health

Alexis Martinez is a medical sociologist who has been conducting HIV-related research at the intersections of sociology, public health, and geography since 2002. Currently, she is working on a mixed methods study that uses spatial analysis and public participatory mapping groups to examine place and the impact of neighborhoods on HIV care in San Francisco. Professor Martinez teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, in the Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University, on research methods, quantitative analysis, medical sociology and the social history of drug use in the United States.

Gender, the Brain, and the Mind

Public Distraction & LGBTQ Movement Conflict in the Bathroom Bills Era

How Ecological Systems Theory Can Help Frame the Fight for Social Justice in Sexuality Research

Maya G. Sen, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Professor in the Psychology Department at Santa Clara University. I teach courses on sexuality and gender identity, as well as on research methods, statistics, child development, and general psychology. My current research focuses on non/conformity to gender roles in people of varied gender identities and sexual orientations. I recently moved back to the Bay Area from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and am delighted to be back home (and to not have to shovel snow!). I’m currently looking to find work in a non-profit supporting queer and trans youth.

Community-Based Research in the Kink Communities: An Avenue of Social Justice Work

Approximately 10-15% of the population engages in sexual practices that involve consensual power role differences, intense sensations, restraint and control, or fetish (sensory experiences that are erotically associated to an object of desire).  In many academic fields, these aspects of sexuality are designated with the compound acronym of BDSM:  bondage/discipline; dominance/submission; sadism/masochism. In the language of the communities that organize around these sexual practices, they are called ‘kinky’ or ‘leathersex’ or ‘freaky’. BDSM or kinky sexual practices are often stigmatized by society generally, and society often attempts social control of sexual deviance through the healthcare system and through the criminal justice system.  We will examine how stigma is confronted and policy changes are addressed through community-based research, as one avenue of social justice work.  We will briefly examine how alternative sexualities are medicalized, how that affects the criminal justice system, and how changes in the past few years have been grounded by research and scientific work.


Richard Sprott received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from UC Berkeley in 1994. His early work was on social and language development in early childhood. In addition, he has a long history of conducting program evaluations for educational programs for migrant farmworker families, which highlight the ways in which social organizations and communities help and hinder the educational achievement of migrant farmworker children.  As a researcher he has examined in detail the relationship between professional identity development and the development of professional ethics in medical doctors, ministers and teachers, and professional identity development in emerging fields of work.  He is currently directing a research project that looks at social saturation, the Postmodern Self, and identity development across five dimensions: Family, Leisure, Online, Work and Religion (the FLOWR project).  He also researches sexual identity development and health/well-being in people who express alternative sexualities and non-traditional relationships, with a special emphasis on kink/BDSM sexuality, and polyamory or consensual non-monogamy.  All of these efforts highlight the ways in which stigma, prejudice, minority dynamics, language, identity development and community development all intersect and affect each other.  Richard currently teaches courses in the Department of Human Development and Women’s Studies at California State University, East Bay and graduate and undergraduate level courses at various universities in the Bay Area, including UC Berkeley, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and Holy Names University.

Pronoun:  he, him, his

Porn, Sex Work, and Activism

Three experienced panelists will discuss the new wave of porn — ethical, queer, body positive, feminist, and often POC-centric — as well as the world of sex work. There are still so many misconceptions and stigmas about what these worlds of work are, who navigates them, and why. We’ll ask questions like, is porn sex work? How is participating in porn or sex work a piece of intersectional activism? And how can we, as potential conscious consumers, be better allies and support for folks in the industry?


Andre Shakti is a journalist, educator, performer, activist, and professional slut living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is devoted to normalizing alternative desires, de-stigmatizing sex workers and their clients, and not taking herself too seriously. Andre wrestles mediocre white men into submission and writes about sex work, queerness and non-monogamy for Cosmopolitan, Rewire, Thrillist, MEL, Vice, Autostraddle, and more. She can frequently be found marathoning Law & Order: SVU under a chaotic pile of partners and pitbulls, and yes, she knows how problematic that show is. Andre is the reigning “polyamory pundit” at her non-monogamy advice column, “I Am Poly & So Can You!”, which you can visit – and submit questions to! – via IAmPoly.net. Visit her on Twitter @andreshakti, on FB as “Andre Shakti”, and as a pleasure professional on the new inclusive educational platform O.School.

Nikki Darling is a BDSM and porn performer, who considers herself an “equal opportunist” when describing her sexuality. She is often in Queer/Alt titles, and has also performed in major studio work.

Before her work in porn, Darling had worked in various desk jobs for the non-profit sector. She was very fulfilled in the type of work she was doing, but often these jobs were not financially lucrative. She has stated that porn has given her the means to choose jobs that will not only support her financially, but also allow her to explore her sexual interests in safe environments. Describing herself as kind of a “nerd,” Darling has befriended people in the adult industry who have similar interests as her, and this has made her more comfortable in her exploration of film roles.

She has worked with many well-known stars, and a few of them are some of the biggest names in the business; Aiden Starr, Ela Darling, and Lorelei Lee are some of her most well-known co-stars. While many of her hottest scenes are with women, her scene with Wolf Hudson in Fucking Hostile shows her versatility, and fun attitude.


All sessions, unless otherwise noted, are held at
SFSU’s downtown campus:
835 Market Street at Powell
San Francisco, CA, 94103

Location of special events will be noted on the listing

Weeklong Participants

Are invited to participate in all sessions on all days, from Tuesday, May 30 through Saturday, June 3.

Weekend only Participants

Are invited to participate Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3

Single Sessions

Are available for folks who want to attend one lecture only. Contact Zed at zmeade@sfsu.edu for more details.


Limited tickets are available for the keynote speech on Friday, June 2nd, location TBA. Contact Zed at zmeade@sfsu.edu for more details.


Closing Gathering

All Summer Institute facilitators, guests, sponsors, staff, and participants are invited to attend the closing gathering on Saturday night. We’ll have closing remarks from Zaedryn Meade, director of the Summer Institute, and Colleen Hoff, director of CREGS, as well as some prizes to give away and our last goodbyes to this amazing cohort!

Thanks to Our Sponsors!