Conference focuses on Trans/Equity

Hear three speakers talk about an unusual philanthropist, Quebec politics and achieving change at a one-day conference called Trans/Equity: Past, Present and Possibilities presented by York’s Centre for Feminist Research April 28.

Focusing on the past, sociologist Aaron Devor (left) talks on Reed Erickson and the Creation of the FtM (Female-to-Male) Movement. Erickson was an extremely wealthy transsexed American man who launched a non-profit philanthropic organization that contributed millions of dollars to the early development of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer movements between 1964 and 1984. Devor, the dean of graduate studies at the University of Victoria, earned a BA in psychology from York in 1971. His research interests include sexual orientation and gender identity, social justice and social movements.

On the present, author Viviane Namaste gives a talk called The Present Tense of Trans Politics: Reflections and Lessons from Québec History. Namaste has taught at the Simone de Beauvoir Institutute at Concordia University in Montreal and is the author of Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People and C’était du spectacle!, a history of transsexual cabaret artists in Montreal.

Heather Davies focuses on the future with a talk, Achieving Change: Learning the Lesson of Dr. Milgram’s Mole. Stanley Milgram was a Yale psychologist known for his controversial 1961-62 experiment in which he tested to what extent volunteers would obey instructions and administer electric shocks to subjects who answered questions incorrectly. Davies is a medical doctor who used to operate a Toronto clinic that cared for patients with gender and sexuality issues.

There will be two panels. The first features a discussion of Borders, Alliances and Coalitions by Sheila Cavanagh, a professor at York’s Atkinson School of Social Sciences; Syrus Ware, Prison Justice Action Committee of Toronto; and Zack Marshall and Monica Forrester, Trans Shelter Access Project at The 519 Community Centre. The second, titled From Here to There: Goals and Strategies, features a discussion by Rupert Raj, psychotherapist at Sherbourne Health Centre; Miqqi Alicia Gilbert (aka Michael Gilbert), philosophy professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and Chair of SexGen York; and Trish Salah, a Montreal-based writer and York doctoral candidate in English.

The conference is presented with the Office of the Ombudsperson and Centre for Human Rights and SexGen York and co-sponsored by the York University Faculty Association.

It takes place in Room 0006, TEL Building, from 9am to 5:45pm.

The registration fee is $20. To register, call the Centre for Feminist Research at 416-736-5915 or e-mail