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February 2, 1998

UCSC cosponsors ninth annual systemwide conference for gays, lesbians

By Jennifer McNulty

UC Santa Cruz is hosting Exposed!, the ninth annual systemwide conference and general assembly of the University of California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Association (UCLGBTA). The conference, which is being held February 6-8 in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, will address lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues facing students, staff, and faculty at all levels of the UC campuses, hospitals, and labs.

This year's theme focuses on coming out "at work and to ourselves," building intimate relationships, and exposing issues of race, religion, and transgenderism, said conference cochair Todd Bowser, residential education coordinator for Porter College.

"Our strength has everything to do with our visibility," said Bowser, who is cochairing the event with Chad Sanger of UCSC's Registrar's Office. "We can be complacent and assimilate, but that doesn't help us get rights, so we picked a theme that says 'Let's get out there and show who we are.'"

Referring to the intensive lobbying effort in favor of domestic partners legislation for gay and lesbian partners of UC employees, Bowser added, "That kind of political action wouldn't have been possible without a lot of visibility on campuses."

The annual conferences provide an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to get together around issues of education, politics, and relationships, said Bowser, adding that the conference offers sessions on a huge range of issues.

In the wake of the recent adoption by the UC Regents of domestic partners legislation, Bowser said the top UC organizing goals are to establish UCLGBTA resource centers on all nine campuses; providing full-time staffing of the centers; creating chancellor's advisory committees of faculty, students, and staff at each campus; securing on-campus domestic partners housing privileges; and integrating LGBT studies by developing minors.

Organizers anticipate nearly 1,000 people will attend the conference, which has in recent years grown to include an increasing number of student organizers from all over the country, especially the West.

Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood will provide opening remarks for the conference on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the Porter College Dining Hall.

Keynote speaker Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign and a former Santa Cruz resident, will address the conference after Greenwood. Birch, who previously was worldwide director of litigation and human resources counsel for Apple Computer, Inc., is a graduate of Santa Clara University's law school. She has contributed significantly to the effort to establish domestic partnership benefits in the workplace and has a long history of activism in the lesbian, gay, and AIDS/HIV communities, authoring several AIDS antidiscrimination ordinances for California cities. She was named one of the Outstanding Women of Santa Clara Valley in 1993.

Kerry Lobel will provide the luncheon keynote address on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Porter College Dining Hall. Executive director of the 35,000-member National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lobel oversees the management of one of the country's largest lesbian and gay rights organizations. She spent nine years as the lead organizer of the Women's Project in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she focused on issues of bias, violence, women and AIDS, women in prison, and domestic violence. She is coauthor of HIV, AIDS, and Reproductive Health: A Peer Trainer's Manual and "Lesbian Teens in Abusive Relationships," which appears in Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger (Seal Press, 1990). She is also editor of Naming the Violence: Speaking Out About Lesbian Battering (Seal Press, 1986).

Scholar-in-residence Tomás Almaguer will present the closing keynote address on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Porter College Dining Hall. A professor of American culture and sociology at the University of Michigan, Almaguer's primary interests are comparative race and ethnic relations, the social construction of gender, and sexuality among Chicano gay men. Among his publications are the forthcoming book "Border Queens: The Construction of Gender and Sexuality Among Chicano Gay Men" (Berkeley: University of California Press, in progress); and Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

Stand-up comedian Marga Gomez will perform her one-woman show, "Marga Gomez Is Pretty, Witty, and Gay," on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the UCSC Performing Arts Mainstage Theater.

Photographer Loren Cameron and performance artist Annie Sprinkle have been named artists-in-residence for the conference. A public reception for a show of Cameron's work, entitled "Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits," will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday in the Porter College Faculty Gallery.

The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery will host an exhibition of contemporary painting, drawing, photography, and new media works by gay, lesbian, and bisexual visual arts faculty from the University of California. A reception for the show, "Out INSIDE: UC Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Faculty Artists," will be held Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. Sprinkle's performance, "My 25 Years as a Multimedia Whore," will begin at 8 p.m. in the Porter College Dining Hall.

Conference admission is $30 general and $20 for students. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit the conference Web site at http://prtr-13.ucsc.edu/Exposed!/

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