gender_conference_2012_tiefer_200The third annual Sex and Gender Conference at IUP will be held on April 12 and 13 at the Hadley Union Building and other locations on campus.

The conference schedule includes 16 panels, presentations, and workshops featuring more than 30 student, staff and faculty presenters. The conference is free and open to the community.

Topics to be addressed include gender awareness; sexuality and the double standard, including “slut bashing”; international women; gender stereotypes; issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students; and religion and sex.

The keynote speaker will be Leonore Tiefer, a psychiatry professor, therapist, and activist who will present “Is Sex More Like Dancing or Digestion? Unpacking the Dangers and Complexities of the Medicalization of Sexuality” at 7 p.m., April 12, in Pratt Auditorium. Tiefer will also offer a workshop for graduate students and local therapists on April 13 from 9 a.m. to noon in Stabley Library.

A student-organized rally against sexual violence and victim blaming at noon on April 13 in the Oak Grove.

The conference is important for many reasons, according to Maureen McHugh, Psychology professor and conference chair.

“In the past, it has been a high-quality event that engages students in scholarship and stimulates student and faculty thinking about sex and gender,” she said.

Planned by graduate and undergraduate students and involving many student presenters, the event presents current interdisciplinary scholarship and involves collaboration among many academic departments and campus organizations, she said.

“The conference also addresses the integration of marginalized groups, including women and LGBT individuals, into the curriculum and the academy and constructs a bridge between scholarship and social action, such as the prevention of sexual assault.”

Tiefer is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and Albert Einstein College of Medicine and has a private psychotherapy and sex therapy practice in Manhattan. She has worked at several hospitals in New York, including Montefiore Medical Center, where she worked in the urology department and co-directed the Sex and Gender Clinic from 1988 to 1996.

Tiefer has written widely about the medicalization of sexuality. She has been interviewed by international news media and appeared on many news shows as a critic of the medical management of women's sexual problems. Her New View Campaign challenges the medicalization of sex.

Tiefer has been honored with the 1994 Alfred C. Kinsey Award, the 2004 Distinguished Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and the 2004 Lifetime Career Award from the Association for Women in Psychology. She serves as vice chair of the board of directors of the National Coalition Against Censorship and serves on the steering committee of the Shelter for Homeless Men at the New York City Unitarian Universalist Church.

Tiefer has authored more than 150 scientific and professional publications and is the author of Sex Is Not a Natural Act and Other Essays. She co-edited A New View of Women's Sexual Problems in 2002 and co-authored a teaching manual to accompany the text.

The Sex and Gender Conference is supported by the President's Commission on the Status of Women, Women's Studies, the LGBT Commission, the Center for Health and Well-Being, the Haven Project, and academic departments and colleges.