Pride and Prejudice: IvyQ Conference at Dartmouth

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Hello Blogosphere! My name is Isaiah Frisbie and I am honored to be the writer for Pride and Prejudice. As a freshman myself, I came to Brown with a number of questions, many of which were answered within a matter of weeks while others remain open-ended. Perhaps one of the more enduring questions, one that may continue to be answered throughout the entirety of my Brown career, is how my own sexuality will affect my college experience. So, I have taken it upon myself to use this blog to contribute any kind of insight that I can about LGBTQ life at Brown and hopefully, in some way, help any student, prospective or otherwise, put some of those nagging worries to rest.

WARNING: LONG POST AHEAD! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

So, as you may remember, I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a conference I was going to attend at Dartmouth. Well, let me just say I attended! I attended and had a blast.

You may ask: Isaiah, Why is there a building illuminated by an arrangement of rainbow-colored lights? Well thank you for asking! I will tell you!

Last Thursday, I left the comfort and familiarity of Brown University and tried my hand at being a Dartmouth student. Okay, no. Strike that. I don’t want to be called a traitor. I’m not some kind of Ivy League Benedict Arnold. Rather, I attended a conference that was hosted at Dartmouth this year called IvyQ.

I know I already explained this and I apologize for being redundant. However, in order to do this post and the conference justice, I must repeat myself. So please bear with me. I promise it’s worth it.

So IvyQ?

Basically, IvyQ is a three day conference, taking place from Thursday night through Saturday night, consisted of many…MANY workshops, along with a number of keynote speakers and other events. IvyQ is dedicated to addressing and discussing topics, issues, and other subjects of interest for LGBTQ students. That is without a doubt an exceptionally general description of the conference! So, to give you an idea of what IvyQ has to offer, here are the names and a brief description of some of the workshops and events I went to.

Thursday Night 

Well…Brown was actually the last school to arrive. We got to Dartmouth at around…10pm and so we missed basically all of the events for that night. However, fear not for I still have much to explore…

Friday

“Queer Spirit” 

This was a workshop that basically addressed the intersection between religion, spirituality, and sexuality. We discussed the distinction between religious views and spirituality, talked about what spirituality meant to us and how we feel religion/spirituality and certain kinds of sexuality don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

“Bare as You Dare”

I can’t even adequately describe how amazing and particularly surprising this workshop was. Okay, so first description. This workshop focused on being body-positive and accepting one’s body. We talked about issues that seem to plague everyone, even those outside the LGBTQ community, such as fat shaming and perceptions about body image. Here’s the truly EXCEPTIONAL part! Our presenter was a nudist and he gave his presentation… yes you guessed it…naked. The entire workshop was also clothing optional and, by the end of it, almost half of the people in the room were missing some item of clothing if not completely naked.

Now before you start thinking that it must have been weird or awkward, I can honestly say that you eventually become accustomed to it and you can actually appreciate the bravery of some of these individuals who feel comfortable enough with their bodies to be so vulnerable. I know I wasn’t.

Towards the end of the conference, he had attendees come to the front and talk about what they liked and disliked about their bodies. Not bragging or anything but…I was the first male attendee to go to the front. Just saying. It was by far one of, if not the best, workshop I went to.

Keynote Presentation with Denice Frohman

OH MY GOSH! If you don’t know Denice Frohman, because I didn’t, stop right now! Go to YouTube and look up “Dear Straight People.” I’m going to say it now. You’re welcome in advance. Denice is an award-winning poet and an spectacular one at that. She got up in front of us, gave us a little bit of her background apart from her being a poet, and then finished with a number of her poems. She is a performer. She was AMAZING! I have never snapped, clapped, and said “YAAASSSS” more in my life. This was definitely my favorite part of the conference.

Saturday

“Identity Forum and Lunch”

This was a very intimate discussion about a number of topics: including gender, sexuality, and the issues of identity and labels. It was a great way, at least personally, to acquire a better understanding of a number of things that I knew I was generally ignorant about.

“Coming Out: Navigating the Endless Process (or Coming Out: We don’t do it just once!)”

I didn’t get a very good seat for this but it was still very enjoyable. Overall, it was a very intimate and personal presentation about the concept of Coming Out and how our perception of it is often incorrect when we view it as a single experience. I think the best part of the session was when the presenter, herself discussed her own realization and “coming out experience.”

Okay… you made it. I’ll wrap up the rest of the night.

After a closing address and dinner, I went with a few amazing individuals I met during the conference to the “Phi Tau (Gender-Inclusive) Fraternity’s Disney Milk and Cookies” event. I’ll be the first to say that I am not one to go into a Frat House but OH MY GOSH! All of the hosts were dressed as Disney characters and there were literally three rooms filled with tables laden with countless varieties of cookies. Now that’s my kind of party!

I have proof!

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Finally, the last event of the night was a dance? A party? It involved all of the IvyQ members…oh nope. I looked it up on the program. It was in fact a dance and it was a great way to conclude the night.

In conclusion, all I can say is that I genuinely LOVED IvyQ and I definitely intend to participate again. Now if you will excuse me, I’m writing this at four in the morning and I think sleep might be something I should try to achieve.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about what I should post next, please don’t hesitate to email me at isaiah_frisbie@brown.edu.

 

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