Equity Talks: Gender Equity, Identity, and Education
Unwritten rules about gender conformity are pervasive in our society, and especially in our schools which should function as inclusive, safe, and brave spaces for students. Policies and guidelines that support gender expansive individuals are few and far between, and the lack of such protections can dramatically impact our environment and experiences. Join us for a discussion on gender identity, equity, and how we can work toward inclusivity together.
About the Speakers
Cal Calamia (Host)
Cal Calamia (he/they) is a bilingual queer trans educator, activist, and poet from Chicago. His performative work has been featured at many spoken word series across The Bay, and his first book San Franshitshow was just published by Nomadic Press. Notable accomplishments include impressing a teacher in kindergarten when he correctly spelled vacation and often being told his class is a student’s favorite. Find out more about Cal at calcalamia.com.
Jesse Holzman (they/them) is a Behavioral Research Coordinator at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital and is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. They are a queer, non-binary, disabled, non-monogamist, anti-racist, educator, and gender, sexuality, and organizational scholar. Their dissertation explores how youth servicing organizations work to identify and meet the needs of LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. They are specifically interested in the ways that non-profits that serve LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, reproduce and/or prevent gender, sexual, and racial inequalities through their programs, practices, and policies. Previously, Jesse was the Project Manager of a government funded research project that examined how non-binary individuals are challenging the binary gender structure. Additionally, over the past few years, Jesse has offered professional development courses to middle school and high school teachers, social workers, and staff on how to work with LGBTQ youth. During these seminars, Jesse calls attention to both the assumptions people make about gender, sex, and sexuality and the way in which these assumptions are problematic and harm young people. In additional to researching, teaching, and consulting, Jesse is currently the elected secretary of a National Advisory Board for Teach for America’s (TFA) LGBTQ+ Initiative, Prism and co-organizes one of Chicago’s only non-binary community groups, Subverting Gender.
Kezia Gilyard is a nonbinary educator, facilitator, and curriculum creator who uses they/them pronouns. Currently, they serve the students, employees, and families of Broward County Public Schools as the LGBTQ+ Coordinator. Their areas of specialization include facilitating conversations and building courses which allow participants to examine the experiences of students who have been marginalized by various and intersecting systems of oppression. Kezia has trained both pre-K-12 and post-secondary educators across the country about the importance of approaching queer and trans equity through an intersectional lens. They’ve spent nearly a decade providing guidance, mentorship, and leadership opportunities for queer and trans youth in South Florida and beyond. Kezia was recently selected as one of South Florida Gay News’ “Out 50”, a distinguished list recognizing openly LGBTQ individuals who make an impact in South Florida. Kezia is also a recipient of the Bishop S.F. Makalani-Mahee award for Trans Equality for their work supporting transgender youth and was a finalist for GLSEN’s Educator of the Year award in 2020. Kezia believes that all educators have a role in liberating students.
Wren Walker Robbins
Wren is a Two Spirit woman of Mohawk descent who has spent most of her career as a college faculty member working with underrepresented students from different cultural backgrounds in New Mexico, New York, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana. She holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of New Mexico, and has completed research fellowships at Harvard Medical School and The University of New Mexico Medical School. She is a science educator who works extensively in tribal and non-Tribal communities helping teachers develop classrooms that invite diverse student identities and perspectives into the circle of learning. As a Two Spirit educator who works in rural school districts in Montana, she endeavors to eliminate ethnic and gender boundaries that marginalize students in classrooms. From her own journey, she knows this is possible. Dr. Wren oversees Science and Mathematics secondary teacher education programs at Salish Kootenai College [SKC] in northwestern Montana where she also serves as faculty mentor for the Spirit of Many Colors Student LGBTQ+ club. Wren is proud to serve on the National Prism Advisory Board for Teach for America.