Lyceum Series to take broad look at sexual identity issues

Contact: Mark Schwerin
Photo of Natalie Nguyen.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A weekly lunchtime lecture series starting this month at Western Michigan University will focus on sexual identity issues and how they can overlap with other dimensions of diversity.

With the theme "LGBTQ+ at the Intersections," the Fall 2017 Lyceum Series runs Sept. 13 to Dec. 6 and will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Lee Honors College Lounge, except for the Oct. 18 lecture, which is at 7 p.m. in 1920 Sangren Hall. The presentations are free and open to the public, with sack lunches welcome.

A key focus of the series features the intersection of the LGBTQ+ identities and other dimensions of diversity including race, ethnicity, gender and religion. Speakers will cover a broad range of topics related to LGBTQ+ individuals and highlight the intersectionality of this diverse and important part of all communities.

First lecture Sept. 13

The first lecture, titled "Building Intersectional Awareness," is Sept. 13 and will feature Natalie Nguyễn, director of LBGT Student Services at WMU. Nguyễn will talk about intersectionality, its history and origins and how its influence is integral to education, social justice movements, inclusion and equity.

Nguyễn has a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Kansas and a bachelor's in communications and master's in education from the University of North Florida. He has been doing LGBT work for almost 10 years, originally working with high-risk LGBT and questioning youth at a grassroots nonprofit in Jacksonville, Florida. He also has worked in several institutions in LGBT offices, including the University of North Florida, North Carolina State University and now WMU.

Other upcoming presentations

The fall Lyceum Series will be presented by a diverse group of faculty members from WMU and representatives from Princeton University, University of Utah and Queen's University as well as speakers from the American Civil Liberties Union, Bi Women Quarterly magazine and OutFront Kalamazoo.

The dates, topics and presenters for other upcoming talks are:

  • Sept. 20: "Legal Issues for the LGBTQ+ Community: A Panel Presentation," Jay Kaplan, director, ACLU Michigan LGBT Project, and Frank Aiello, professor of law, WMU Colley Law School.
  • Sept. 27: "The Queer Transformation of College Campuses, 1950s to Present," Dr. Susan Freeman, associate professor and chair, gender and women's studies, WMU.
  • Oct. 4: "LGBTQ+ Representation in Children's Literature," Dr. Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, professor of teaching, learning and educational studies, WMU.
  • Oct. 11: "National Coming Out Day. Trans and Immigrant Rights in the Fight for Liberation," Jennicet Gutéirrez, founding member of La Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.
  • Oct. 18: "Beyond Binaries: Identity and Sexuality," 7 p.m., 1920 Sangren Hall, Robyn Ochs, educator, grassroots activist and editor of Bi Women Quarterly.
  • Oct. 25: "Intersectional Coalition Building," Romeo Jackson, Black-Queer-Femme and graduate student, University of Utah.
  • Nov. 1: "Little World, Big Impact: Negotiating Gender-Neutral Pronouns in Education" Dr. Lee Airton, assistant professor of gender and sexuality in education, Queen's University.
  • Nov. 8: "Promoting Resilience in Individuals and Couples with LGBTQ+ Identities," Dr. Gary Bischof, professor and dean, Lee Honors College, and Amber Mosely, sexual assault prevention education coordinator, health promotion and education, Sindecuse Health Center.
  • Nov. 15: "Transgender Stories: A Panel Discussion," Sara Jacobs, program director Out Proud Safe, LGBTQ Homeless Youth Program, Jay Maddock, executive director of OutFront Kalamazoo, Natalie Nguyễn, director, LBGT Student Services, WMU, and Nick Smith, WMU engineering student.
  • Nov. 29: "Resisting Reconciliation: Queer Muslim Identity in America," Mariam Mustafa, graduate student, comparative religion, WMU.
  • Dec. 6: "The Life and Death of Latisha King," Dr. Gayle Salamon, associate professor of English, Princeton University.

For more information, visit

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit