The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference is an interdisciplinary and biennial LGBTQ+ studies conference, which is free-of-charge and open to undergraduate and graduate students both at and outside of Kenyon. Community members are also welcome to attend. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 conference will be held in a virtual setting, but the conference will remain free-of-charge and open to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as community members. The 2021 conference will occur virtually from Friday, April 9, to Sunday, April 11.

The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference is a new and growing biennial conference. Sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the conference developed from a need to provide a place for queer and trans scholarship, activism and community building. The conference is built upon a model of interdisciplinarity, intersectionality and equity.

The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference includes five tracks:

1. healthcare and technology;

2. visual and performing arts;

3. humanities and popular culture;

4. politics, society and the law; and

5. community-interest.

Each of these carefully selected tracks encompasses the desire to facilitate spaces for discussions about queer and trans issues in distinct areas of scholarship and everyday life. 

Recognizing the unique set of identities throughout the broader LGBTQ+ community, the Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference also offers drop-in networking/socializing spaces for femme-identifying students and LGBTQ+ people of color. These dedicated spaces are offered throughout conference sessions with the intent of creating intersectional spaces exclusive to attendees, who may want intra-community discussions throughout the conference.

The Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference models itself on practices of equity building. The conference is free to eliminate some economic barriers that may prohibit students from attending, and when the conference is offered in-person, it includes free breakfast and lunch, with the understanding that food insecurity is often an issue in marginalized communities. Whether virtual or in-person, the conference utilizes accessible spaces when possible.

The conference is both intended to be intersectional and interdisciplinary in scope. For this reason, the conference organizing committee welcomes proposals for a variety of LGBTQ+ topics and presentation formats. Each session for the conference will be 45 minutes long. 

Conference proposals may be submitted by undergraduate and graduate students at any educational institution. Faculty/staff from other colleges and individuals from the broader community are welcome to attend this conference; however, please note that they are not able to submit proposals for review, as this conference is intended to celebrate and share student scholarship and knowledge.

Examples of presentation formats include: panel discussions with multiple people (either submitting proposals together or separately), workshops led by one or multiple presenters, performances, and interactive facilitated discussions on a specific topic. 

Proposal submissions for the 2021 conference are accepted until Friday, February 5. Submit a proposal.

As this conference is modeled on accessibility and equity, there is no registration fee, and when offered in-person, free breakfast and lunch is provided to all attendees. 

As this conference is aimed at engaging undergraduate and graduate students across a variety of educational institutions, students from inside and out of state are welcome to register. Faculty/staff from other colleges and individuals from the broader community are also welcome to attend this conference.

To accommodate the maximum capacity of our Zoom platform, registration for the conference is limited to the first 750 attendees. Pending interest and the availability of additional funding, this maximum capacity may be increased, and any updates will be shared here.

Registration for the 2021 conference will open on Friday, February 19 and close on Thursday, March 25. Register for the conference.

As a part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that the conference provides support for LGBTQ+ attendees, a number of practical resources are made available in coordination with our conference co-sponsors.

For instance, our inaugural conference included a free HIV testing clinic provided by the Knox County Health Department. Unity House and the Crozier Center for Women also provided free safer sex kits, and information about safer sex, PrEP and PEP was available courtesy of Gilead Sciences. Equitas Health and Trans Ohio also hosted a free gender and/or name change clinic, along with opportunities for free financial assistance to those who need it.

For the 2021 virtual conference, we will host a free gender and/or name change clinic with Equitas Health and Trans Ohio. For conference attendees who are in need of this resource, complete this intake form at least 48 hours before the conference begins. If you need additional assistance with the intake form, contact legalclinics@equitashealth.com.

Currently, we are actively working to identify ways to also provide HIV testing and prevention resources, despite the virtual setting. More information on this resource will be available soon.

At our inaugural conference, we also received a number of gift card donations for practical items, which were raffled during the conference. The purpose of this was to further ensure that useful items and resources, such as binders, cosmetic products and more were available to attendees via the free raffle. We are also working to coordinate this for the 2021 virtual conference.

In addition to eliminating economic barriers that might prohibit attendees from engaging with the Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference, we are also committed to ensuring that this space meets the needs of attendees with disabilities.

When offered in-person, all rooms and meeting spaces that are used for this conference meet accessibility requirements noted by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and we specifically avoid spaces that may be inaccessible to people with mobility-related needs. Additionally, all workshop sessions are equipped with microphones. American Sign Language interpreters are also available upon advance request, and the keynote lecture for the conference is transcribed in real-time to assist attendees who may have hearing impairments. 

For the 2021 virtual conference, live closed captions will be provided for all conference programs to assist attendees who may have hearing impairments. Conference attendees are also able to share other accessibility related needs with the organizing committee, via the registration form.

Whether in-person or virtual, the conference is able to provide accessible and downloadable audio copies of the conference program, but due to copyright agreements, these are available by request.

If you are in need of any other accessibility related accommodations, please feel free to contact the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and/or the Office of Student Accessibility and Support Services at Kenyon College.

We are excited to announce our keynote speaker, once registration for the conference goes live in the coming weeks. Please check back soon for more information.

To make this conference a reality, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kenyon relies upon a number of on-campus and community co-sponsors, who either 1) assist with various aspects of this conference or 2) provide useful resources to it.

On-campus sponsors for this conference include the following: Ace Space and Aro Place (ASAP), the Crozier Center for Women; Gender Group; the Kenyon College Bookstore; the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee; the Office of Student Accessibility and Support Services; oSTEM at Kenyon; QDubs; QTPOC at Kenyon; Queer Masculinities Society; Unity House; and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.

Community sponsors for this conference include the following: Ace and Aro Alliance of Central Ohio; the Equitas Health Institute; Gilead; GLSEN Central Ohio; I Am Not a Virus; the Newark Ohio Pride Coalition; and Trans Ohio.

Please check back soon for more information about our 2021 co-sponsors, as this list is actively growing.

Funding for this conference is provided in-part by the Kenyon College Community Development Fund and the Student LGBTQ+ Diversity Fund.

The inaugural Kenyon Queer and Trans Studies Conference in April 2019 provided space for nearly 20 workshops. The conference hosted over 130 students from more than 15 different academic institutions from as far away as New England and the Deep South. Additionally, our inaugural conference attendees were a diverse group of students with over 40% identifying as transgender and/or non-binary, 33% identifying as people of color, and 10% identifying as people with disabilities.

Read more about the conference from the Kenyon Collegian. Download the conference program from 2019.