IvyQ Roundup

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Bwog’s Intercollegiate Sexuality Correspondent Lily Icangelo reports on IvyQ 2011…

This weekend Columbia hosted the second annual IvyQ conference, a weekend long conference between LGBTQ students and organizations from all eight Ivy League institutions. Each day was jam packed with guest speakers and workshops, while the nights kept attendees busy with “Speed-Friending”, a drag contest, a Lady-Gaga-infused dance (not unlike First Friday), and queer bingo.

Workshops were “tracked” into seven different categories: international, health, queer studies, education/campus life, identity, activism, and sponsors track. With names like “Gender Free Orgasm”, “Religion and Sexuality”, and “From Oscar Wilde to the National Portrait Gallery: Queer Art, Past Present and Future” there was something for everyone.

Unfortunately for many Columbia students (including this reporter) it was difficult to attend many of the events because Thursday and Friday’s classes and jobs were not suspended for the occasion. While visiting students most likely also had ridiculous amounts of work to do this weekend, they at least had the luxury of leaving such troubles behind by spending a weekend away from their respective campuses.

While the conference was both extremely important and enjoyable, it is definitely still working out some of its kinks. A common complaint was that the various workshops and events were focused more on gay male issues than the other letters included in that notoriously long LGBTQAI etc. etc. acronym. Yet the mere existence of such an event, especially one as large as 2011’s IvyQ was, is a huge step forward for the entire community – a fact highlighted by presence of eminent speakers. The keynote address was delivered by Amanda Simpson, the first-ever openly transgender woman in any administration, and the closing remarks by beloved Yale History and American Studies Professor George Chauncey.

Chauncey took conference attendees through a brief history of LGBTQ issues. He made the particularly poignant remark that even as little ten years ago such high-profile companies as J.P Morgan and Goldman Sachs would not have dared sponsor an event like IvyQ, and that many of those companies were still firing or refusing to hire people based on their sexual identity. Although such discrimination in the workplace still exists, it was reassuring to know that these companies not only sponsored IvyQ but also were also there to recruit LGBTQ Ivy League students to their companies.

IvyQ may be a new conference, but it is one worth attending. This Bwogger recommends you take a weekend off next year to attend the conference, wherever it may be. No matter how you identify you will most assuredly learn something new and who knows, you might even win a drag contest!

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  1. Which one did they drop?  

    "seven Ivy League institutions?"

  2. where's the beef  

    I don't think I learned anything from this review that I couldn't have guessed by reading the IvyQ website.

    Oh well...guess I'll have to wait until next year to find out what the conference is like.

  3. Congrads!  

    To the entire IvyQ team! You guys all worked so hard to put on a phenomenal weekend! Shout out to Matt Martinez who put so much of his great energy into this project!

    • Matt Martinez  

      I wholeheartedly appreciate your thanks! It would be absurd not to mention the whole IvyQ Planning Committee though, because we all put in so much work for the conference and everyone deserves the recognition for it: Sean Udell, Rene Moraida, J.T. Ramseur, Joey Shemuel, Jose-Ricardo Moreno, Marita Inglehart & Diego Arango are all AMAZING!

      And it never would have happened without the leadership of the ever-stunning KAREN WOODIN!

    • Also  

      Can we talk about how attractive Matt is? Every time he walks by I swoon a little bit. Not even kidding.

  4. Anonymous  

    Have people not seen the list of sponsors? IvyQ was basically a weekend of corporate-sponsored debauchery for elite, ivy-league queer people. In no way was anything of substance addressed other than, perhaps, how to get a job at Goldman after graduation and be just as toolish as other bankers except with a bit of panache.

    • Joey Shemuel

      Hey Anonymous,
      It's pretty easy to talk shit about a conference you clearly didn't attend when you don't include your name or, yanno, provide evidence for your assertions, huh? (Guilt by association with Goldman Sachs will do the trick!) If trans health insurance discrimination, immigration equality, and safe spaces aren't substantial and important to you, perhaps you lack "substance" or have such a utopian perception of the world that you should cut down on the "debauchery."

      Sure, it would've been great to get public funds for the conference, but again, you weren't jumping out of your seat to write a check, were you? Also, notably Columbia's own CQA provided close to $10,000. But I guess they're "culturally hegemonic," too.

      If, by a stroke of luck, you come up with something interesting or constructive to say, we'll have an online feedback form up shortly.

      Until then, hush.

      • Anonymous  

        "Hush." How telling. Of course people associated with IvyQ (and their corporate sponsors) laud the queer cause and walk and talk transgender rights while silencing the voices of those interested in substantive social justice. I'm sorry, but the fundamental reality is quite clear: supporting queer rights is a cop-out. It in no way threatens your social position; it gives you the allure of being an activist when in reality, all you are seeking is the acceptance of your own way of life while ignoring the structural inequality and violence experienced by more peripheral groups.

        While queer equality is nonetheless important, it must remain in context. Don't delude yourself into thinking that you're in someway novel or revolutionary when half of the conference was geared towards socializing and one of the three explicitly stated goals (see: posters on the Lerner ramps) was networking and creating a pan-Ivy league queer network. In other words, promoting elite solidarity and social exclusion except in queer form.

        • Matt Martinez  

          I appreciate your concern, and it's a problem we will take into consideration and work towards alleviating in the future. Thanks =)


        • Joey Shemuel  

          I don't know where you're getting such a one-sided view of the conference, but it's misguided any way you dice it. Let me clear things up, as someone who cares about substantive social justice and also helped organize the conference with that concern in mind.

          The point of NOT making the whole thing about marriage, or ENDA, or ROTC (as "queer" conferences tend to be, or to be perceived as), is to help people to see how queerness is more broad than these issues, connected to concerns as broad as non-conformity (of all kinds), class, race, and sex (all kinds of sex, including the kinds of sex that gets pornographers sent to jail and Presidents impeached). The Queer Farmer Film Project workshop, for example, explicitly addressed the ways in which queers can improve food policy and diet in disadvantaged communities of color, economic inequalities, and ecology. The HIV vaccine workshop, for another example, was about a vaccine -- not a vaccine for queers, but a vaccine for everyone. Low-income communities of color have as much to gain from HIV research as queers do.

          Your argument sounds a bit like Judith Halberstam's, but your willingness to trivialize queer issues as a concern only for a "way of life" speaks volumes about your own ignorance, as if heteronormativity isn't structural (ever read any trans-related court cases?), as if homophobia/transphobia/queerphobia isn't often violent.

          So you're right: "hush" was an unproductive response. If you want to contribute to the future of this conference and make it more attuned to social justice (as I do), as Matt said, we welcome your input. But you'll have to actually get past your own knee-jerk judgments and sterotypes first.

  5. Gramsci  

    Cultural hegemony packaged in queer, lady-Gagafied form.

  6. Anonymous

    Since when did being gay become a bullet point on a resume? You gays are going to hell.

    • God  

      Due to this invocation of religious imagery, I feel I must respond.

      You sir, are a tremendous waste of a human being. I know I am supposed to have an omnipotent plan and all, but I honestly can't remember why I let douches like you into this world.

      I hope Satan has reserved a special circle for ignorant morons like yourself.

  7. Campus Rad

    I don't think they were claiming to be revolutionary at all. They also weren't "silencing the voices of those interested in substantive social justice". Not only are your dime-store critical theory strawmen insulting to the work of real radicals, but they don't work on Columbia students, so why don't you take it to Queerty or Crooked Timber.

  8. Joey Shemuel  

    We weren't claiming to be revolutionary or non-revolutionary (and certainly not pro status quo). I think we programmed a wide variety of workshops and speakers, and allowed for a diversity of opinion in our discussions. Some people at the conference -- some of whom might call themselves radicals ("real" ones, presumably) or revolutionaries -- were certainly interested in substantive social justice, and they were heard.

  9. Anonymous  

    I attended and thought it was generally a very good conference. However, I was really disappointed by the lack of any female-oriented events. This is hardly surprising considering how most "LGBT" events are just about the "G". (Although props on having some good bi and trans events).

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