The University of Iowa

Exploring gender and identity on December 9 WorldCanvass

November 25th, 2014

See the ReCap of this program to access audio, video, photos and more

Words like gender, identity, and sexuality are used to categorize individuals. They’re used to sort out qualities and characteristics and to group ‘like’ types together.  They can refer to specific physical attributes, to sexual preferences, or to psychological affinities that may or may not reflect the socially-defined constructs of masculine and feminine traits and behaviors.  Our guests on the December 9 WorldCanvass will explore what we mean by gender and identity and will help us understand how they affect the ways in which we see ourselves and others see us.  The program, which is free and open to the public, begins at 5 p.m. at FilmScene, 118 East College Street in Iowa City.

Host Joan Kjaer and a diverse group of expert guests ranging from members of the LGBTQ community to physicians, scholars, and the UI’s chief diversity officer will discuss questions of gender and identity from personal, medical, and cultural or societal perspectives.  What if your assigned sex doesn't match the way you feel internally?  What is the Safe Zone?  How welcoming is our community and campus, regardless of one’s sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity?   

We’ll explore the sometimes evolving nature of self-identification, activism to create community and promote LGBTQ rights, and the ways in which LGBTQ individuals navigate their identities in different locations and cultural settings. And we’ll consider how gender impacts human rights and the rights of citizens here in the U.S. and abroad, with a special focus on the Indian Supreme Court’s recent ‘third gender’ ruling which grants special, protected status to transgender people who don’t identify as either male or female, but as a third gender.  

You’re invited to attend WorldCanvass at FilmScene, Iowa City’s non-profit cinema arts organization, 118 East College Street. Concessions will be available for purchase and audience members are invited to enjoy a social hour from 4:00-5:00 p.m. preceding the show.  

We encourage you to use #worldcanvass when posting on social media before, during, and after the show, or mention @uiowaIP on Twitter.


Part 1 5:00-5:25

Navigating identity

  • Nicole Nisly, professor, UI Department of Internal Medicine; co-director, UIHC LGBTQ Clinic
  • Georgina Dodge, chief diversity officer and associate vice president; Title IX coordinator, UI
  • Sara Riggs, library assistant, UI Libraries


Part 2 5:30-5:55

The self and society: personal stories

  • Eric Mortensen, undergraduate student, UI College of Engineering 
  • Jaime Nevins, Iowa City business owner, Back Together Massage


Part 3 6:00-6:25

Human rights and gender

  • Aniruddha Dutta, assistant professor, UI Department of Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies
  • Philip Lutgendorf, professor, UI Department of Asian & Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Katie Imborek, assistant professor, UI Department of Family Medicine; co-director, UIHC LGBTQ Clinic


WorldCanvass is recorded before a live audience for later broadcast on UITV, YouTube, iTunes, and the Public Radio Exchange. Podcasts can be downloaded for free from iTunes and past programs are available through IP’s website at

WorldCanvass is a production of UI International Programs in collaboration with FilmScene and University of Iowa Video Services. For more information on WorldCanvass, contact Joan Kjaer at or visit