Michigan Community College Gender & Sexuality Conference

Queer Momentum: Marching Forward With Radical Pride

Saturday, April 13 | Washtenaw Community College

WCC Gender and Sexuality Conference Logo

Michigan Community College Gender & Sexuality Conference (MCCGSC) is an event for students, faculty, and staff from Michigan community colleges. We celebrate LGBTQIA+ culture, foster academic success, and build community. All LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, staff, and their allies from all 28 Michigan community colleges are invited.

Register for the MCCGSC

Please check this page for updates, and contact the MCCGSC Planning Committee at [email protected] if you have any questions.

A note about accessibility: If you require an American Sign Language Interpreter, please register for the conference by April 4, 2024 and communicate your request in the “Accessibility” section of the registration form. Although services cannot be guaranteed for requests submitted after April 4, we will do our best to honor them.


10:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.


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Location: ML 101/103/123

10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Keynote: Queer Activist Panel

Moderator: Zee Walsh (they/them), WCC Student & Outspace+ Club Officer
Kenneth Curtis II (he/him), YCS Lead Floater at EMU Bright Futures
Charlie Fuller (she/her), Safety and Wellness Manager at WCC
Tory Sparks (they/them), Independent Educator, Consultant, & Trainer

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Location: ML 101/103/123

zee walsh

Zee Walsh is a full-time student at Washtenaw Community College studying Liberal Arts. On campus, Zee is an officer for WCC's 2SLGBTQIA+ club on campus, Outspace+. They also acted as a student consultant throughout this conference's development. In the fall, they will be transferring to the University of Michigan and majoring in Sociology with a focus in Law, Justice, and Social Change. Zee currently works in teen-development and strives to show the youth that they work with what it means to lead with compassion, consideration, and forgiveness.

kenneth curtis

Kenneth is a local to Ypsilanti. He started the GSA at Ypsilanti Community High School and even offered an afterschool portion in Bright Futures for the students that couldn’t attend the in-school portion. He has been a member of the Ypsi Pride board since 2019.

charlie fuller

Charlie is a dedicated Wellness Instructor and Community Builder. She is active on the board of Ypsilanti Pride and AACTMAD (Ann Arbor Community for. Traditional Music and Dance), and is the proud Founder of Rhizome Roots Studio. Charlie believes that everyone deserves to live well, and manifests this through the creation of LGBTQIA+ and Nuerodivergent focused wellness classes. Whether it's on the dance floor, foraging in the woods, or practicing yoga in the park, Charlie invites you to join her in building community through mindful movement.

tory sparks

Tory Sparks is a professional sex educator, facilitator, and consultant with 7+ years of experience teaching LGBTQ+ centered education, training professionals, writing curricula, and dreaming big to create a better world through queer community building, sex positivity, social justice, and healing trauma and shame. Tory is currently earning their Masters of Social Work at University of Michigan, specializing in working with LGBTQ+ adolescents. Tory has written and contributed to academic work on queer spaces and gay bars, and is passionate about creating inclusive queer spaces wherever they go.

Queerness, by definition, defies stagnation, implying a diverse and ever-changing landscape of people and possibility. In this always-changing world, how can we make a difference that truly helps the equally shifting & growing  queer community? Join the conversation to hear how queer activists make concrete, actionable change in the community, and how they keep the momentum of their work marching forward with radical pride. 

11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.


11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Session 1

LGBTQIA+ and Disabilities: Intersecting identities

Joey Colby (any/all) and Lyle Chalkner (he/ae/fin), Oakland University Students

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Location: ML 101/103/123

joey colby

Joey Colby and Lyle Chalkner are both social work students at Oakland University. Both of us are part of the Trans community, disabled, and are both systems.

In this session we will discuss intersecting identities between LGBTQIA+ and disabilities. Medical barriers, difficulties, empowerment, and intersectionality will be discussed.

The Laws that Paved the Rainbow Road

Mackenzy Couch (she/her), Washtenaw Community College Student

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Location: ML 128

Mackenzy Couch

Mackenzy Couch is finishing up her last semester at Washtenaw Community College before transferring to Spring Arbor University to pursue a degree in criminal justice. She has a passion for law and eventually wants to be a prosecuting attorney, but for now is just in it for the long run. She was the acting president of Washtenaw Community College's LGBTQIA+ club for two semesters before stepping down to be an officer, where she currently stands. She enjoys arts and crafts, video games, and spending time with her friends and family. She’s a bisexual female who was brought up in a smaller country-type town and faced years of discrimination after coming out. Since then, she has spoken out for those in our community who can't.

This presentation will consist of laws that have been passed, argued, overturned, and anything else that helped provide a safer country for LGBTQIA+ citizens.

You are Not Immune to Propaganda

Latitude Brown (they/them), University of Michigan Student

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Location: ML 130

Latitude Brown

Latitude Brown is a first-year master's student at the University of Michigan school of Information, studying library science. They hold a Bachelor of Arts in Children's Literature from Eastern Michigan University and an Associate of Science in Computer Science from Washtenaw Community College. They live with their best friend and one black cat named Burton. They are writing a novel in their free time, and they enjoy boba, fancy coffee, and ginger candy.

AI! War! The Attention Economy! Voting! Joe Biden! Obamna! Soda! How do you tell what's real or what's not? What deserves your attention? Why do people say what they say, and what do they want you to believe? And should you believe that? Bonus: fun things to do instead of doomscrolling and a reading list.

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Queer Trivia (12:30 p.m.)

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1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Session 2

The Fairest of Them All - Script Read

John Ginardi (he/him), Macomb Community College
John Ginardi (Director/Ravenard)
Jonathan Rainey (Prince Garyth)
Alanna Lewalski (Snow White)
Kate Wanamaker (Evil Queen)
Angelica Lewalski (extra)

Location: ML 128


Table read sneak peak of an original play of a retelling of the fairytale of Snow White. This time Snow White has a younger brother named Ravenard. Their fates are separated and later revealed what it means to be truly the fairest of them all.

Faculty Lightning Talks

"But they can't do that!" - Debunking Grammatical Arguments Against Singular They

Josiah Pankiewicz (he/him), Washtenaw Community College Faculty

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Location: ML 130

josiah pankiewicz

Josiah is an English instructor at WCC who focuses on composition, children's literature, speculative fiction, integrating game and play into learning environments, and queering academia towards social justice. His professional work spans across student support and classroom instruction, and he believes both are needed for healthy learning environments.

This presentation will trace the historic validity of singular they in the English language, provide theoretical frameworks to think about queering grammar, and give practical advice and examples for debunking the myth that singular they cannot correctly exist in English.

Representation Matters: Gender in Award-Winning Picture Books

Jessica Hale (she/her), Washtenaw Community College Faculty

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Location: ML 130

jessica hale

Dr. Hale is a faculty member in the Department of English and College Readiness at Washtenaw Community College. She earned an M.A. in English from Indiana University (2023), an Ed.D. from Eastern Michigan University (2010) and a M.A. in Higher Education from the University of Michigan (2003).

It’s widely recognized that children’s books play a role in socialization. This presentation will provide an overview of gender representation in the award-winning children’s picture books.

Increasing Representation in Anatomy & Physiology

Cindy Drake (she/her) & Aron Drake (he/him), Delta College Faculty

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Location: ML 130

cindy drake

Cindy Drake (she/her) is a Professor at Delta College in University Center, Michigan. Cindy teaches Human Anatomy and Physiology for Allied Health programs.

aron drake

Aron Drake (he/him) is an Associate Professor at Delta College in University Center, Michigan. Aron teaches Human Anatomy and Physiology and General Biology for Majors.

Anatomy textbooks often focus on traditional male/female descriptions of patients. Join me for some quick and easy ways to make your course (any course!) more representative of the diversity we see in the actual population and help your LGBTQIA+ students feel more included.

Student Lightning Talks

Modeling Gender in Three Dimensions

Breanna Rawlins (she/they), St.Clair County Community College Student

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Location: ML 121

breanna rawlins

Breanna is currently in her last semester at St. Clair County Community College and is hoping to transfer to any program that will let her combine her love for mathematics and gender studies. She lives in a multi-generational home along with four cats and two dogs. Breanna spends all of her free time reading and hopes to someday become a professor at a Michigan community college.

Gender is a social construct, and society no longer agrees with its traditional definition. Studies have shown that the gender binary is becoming less and less relatable, and it is time for academia to embrace it! This presentation proposes that the concept of gender needs to move beyond the binary and into a multi-dimensional representation, and suggests the steps needed to get there.

Trans Health Care Rights for Minors

Kaitlyn Deming (she/her), Washtenaw Community College Student

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Location: ML 121

Kaitlyn Deming

Kaitlyn Deming is a 32 year old trans girl and a full time college student.

We live in a society that objectifies kids, but trans kids disproportionately. If I could say one thing to parents it would be that "your kids are not your property, they're their own people." I aim to raise societal and parental awareness to the harm it does, and the consequences trans kids are forced to endure when their thoughts and feelings are ignored by the very people they are meant to trust absolutely. The identities of trans kids should not and must not be crushed out of them by parents who are irrationally afraid.

Queer Community and Sober Spaces

Livi Wilde (they/them), Eastern Michigan University Student

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Location: ML 121

livi wilde
Livi Wilde is a queer, disabled graduate student attending Eastern Michigan University for my Master's in Public Health. They hope to pursue a PhD in the future, and work with the aging LGBT population within Michigan and the United States at large. They’re a proud member of the International Workers of the World, and in their free time enjoy reading and snuggling up with their spouse and cats.

There has been a historical lack of designated queer spaces–especially ones that are sober/alcohol free—for LGBTQ people to meet, mingle, and exist in without fear of violence and discrimination. Queer people also face alcoholism and addiction at far higher rates than their cis-straight counterparts. I am arguing that there is a significant impact on the rates of alcohol abuse and heavy episodic drinking within queer populations and the lack of sober community spaces for LGBT people to meet, mingle, and socialize.

1:45 pm. - 2:00 p.m.


2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Session 3

Somewhere Over the Rainbow: LGBTQIA2S+ Media Representation

Gianna Mask (she/her) University of Michigan-Flint Student & Josh Noud (he/him) Eastern Michigan University Student

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Location: ML 130

gianna mask
Gianna (she/her) is a proud member of Outspace+ and the LGBTQIA+ community. She attends University of Michigan-Flint, where she intends to get a BS in Computer Science. Previously, she attended Washtenaw Community College. Her passions are all things art, music, and media. She also has interests in neurodivergence advocacy.
josh noud
Josh is a social work student with aspirations to be an adolescent/teen therapist. He is a former President of Washtenaw Community College’s queer club, Outspace+. As a queer Korean-American, he strives for inclusion and diversity in queer spaces. His passions include wiener dogs, Pokemon, and all mediums of artistic expression.

LGBTQIA2S+ representation has been improving as we gain ownership and representation of our own narratives– both on and off screen. If you are looking for shows, music, movies, and games that represent you, kiki with us as we discuss representation of the community. We will also discuss how we can push for our identity(ies) to continue to be represented loud, live, and always in color. Content Warnings: This presentation may contain mentions of homophobia, transphobia, and racism.

Ace & Aro Identities: Exploring the Split-Attraction Model, Challenging Allo-/Amatonormativity, and Arguing for Partnerships Without Romance

Brittany Kelley (she/her) Oakland Community College Faculty & Amy Gardner (she/they) Eastern Michigan University Student

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Location: ML 128

brittany kelley

Brittany Kelley (she/her) is an adjunct faculty member in the English Department at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills Campus, where she teaches composition courses, advises the Queer Student Alliance, and serves on the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee. She also works in the Student Life and Leadership office at Macomb Community College’s Center Campus and advises their Gender Sexuality Alliance. As a queer woman who identifies as asexual and aromantic, Brittany is passionate about fostering diverse representation, validation, community, and sense of belonging both in the classroom and in society as a whole.

amy gardner

Amy Gardner is a student at Eastern Michigan University, working on their Master's degree in Philosophy. Her interests lie in queer and feminist studies, and she seeks to make space for herself and understand the world around her through her theorizing.

In this session, Brittany Kelley will define identities on the asexual and aromantic spectrums; explore the split-attraction model, which distinguishes dimensions of attraction (e.g., aesthetic, intellectual, emotional, romantic, sensual, sexual, etc.); and discuss tips for challenging allonormativity and amatonormativity. We will investigate the ways in which society prioritizes and even privileges sexual and romantic relationships (over platonic ones, such as familial bonds, friendship, and QPRs) and presents dating, marriage, and children as the default or expectation. Amy Gardner's presentation, subsequently, interrogates whether love is necessary for intimate partnerships, conceptually separating queer relationships without romance from friends with benefits scenarios. This project argues that intimate relationships require some kind of contract that elevates it beyond friendship, commits one to their partner(s), and discusses what the relationship will entail.

Combating Anti-Trans Legislation

Lucas Fuller (he/him) University of Michigan Student

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lucas fuller

Lucas Fuller is a WCC alumnus currently attending the University of Michigan. He is majoring in earth and environmental sciences and wants to find a career in restoring the environment.

This session will raise awareness for the recent rise in anti-trans legislation, outline the strategies being used to attack trans rights, and introduce some ways that we can fight back.


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ozone house
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we adore flowers
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