We invite you to join ISGMH’s third annual Symposium:

State of Sexual and Gender Minority Health —

Illuminating the Intersections of Race and LGBTQ Health

Wednesday, August 15, from 2:00 – 4:30pm
(networking reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres to follow)

Northwestern University Law School, Aspen Hall, 375 E. Chicago Ave. / 
Attendees may also join remotely using BlueJeans  


Symposium Speakers

The Keynote Speaker at this year’s Symposium is Dr. Lisa Bowleg, a  professor of applied social psychology and the director of DC CFAR Social and Behavioral Sciences Core at The George Washington University. The Symposium will also feature speakers representing an interdisciplinary mix of Northwestern University faculty, postdoctoral and graduate students showcasing their research, as well as local community organizers.

About the Speakers

Lisa Bowleg (Keynote Speaker)

Lisa Bowleg (Keynote Speaker)

Professor of Applied Social Psychology and the Director of DC CFAR Social and Behavioral Sciences Core at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Lisa Bowleg, Ph.D. (she/her) is Professor of Applied Social Psychology in the Department of Psychology at The George Washington University (GW) and the Director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Core of the DC-Center for AIDS Research, housed at GW.

Dr. Bowleg is a leading scholar of the application of intersectionality to social and behavioral science research, as well as research focused on HIV prevention and sexuality in Black communities.  Her mixed methods (i.e., qualitative and quantitative) research focuses on: (1) the effects of social-structural context, masculinity, and resilience on Black men’s sexual HIV risk and protective behaviors; and (2) intersectionality, stress, and resilience among Black lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.

She is the principal investigator of two new intersectionality grants.  The first, The Intersectionality Toolkit Project, funded by the WK Kellogg Foundation, aims to develop an intersectionality checklist, case studies and an implementation guide for policymakers and organizations who develop programs and policies for diverse women and families.  The second, is a R01 grant funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse/National Institutes of Health.  That grant aims to   examine intersectional stress, substance use, co-occurring negative health outcomes, and protective factors among Black men at different intersectional positions of sexual identity and socioeconomic position.  She has published numerous articles based on her research in high impact journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, Health Psychology, and Archives of Sexual Behavior.   In 2014, the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Psychology and AIDS awarded her its Psychology and AIDS Distinguished Leadership Award.

State Representative Greg Harris

Opening Remarks

Greg Harris (he/him) was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 2006 and is Assistant Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. Harris serves as State Representative for the 13th District which includes parts of Uptown, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, North Center, West Ridge and Bowmanville. Harris is a gay elected official in the State of Illinois, who is also openly living with HIV, and is the first openly gay person in Illinois to become a member of Legislative Leadership.  He is Chairman of the Appropriation–Human Services Committee, and serves on the Executive, Insurance and Aging Committees. He is a member of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), the Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership Council and the joint Legislative Health Insurance Exchange Committee.  He also serves as chairman on the Violence Prevention Task Force and is a member of the Racial and Ethnic Impact Research Task Force, the Quality of Life Board and the House Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment.

Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian, Northwestern University School of Communication


Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian (he/him) is an assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University and a Fellow at the Peabody Media Center. His first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television, argues that the web brought innovation to television by opening development to independent producers. His work has been published in numerous academic journals, including The International Journal of Communication, Cinema Journal, Continuum, and Transformative Works and Cultures. Dr. Christian leads OTV | Open Television, a research project and platform for intersectional television. OTV programs have received recognition from HBO, the Television Academy (Emmy Awards), New York Television Festival, City of Chicago, Streamy Awards, and Independent Filmmaker Project (Gotham Awards). Dr. Christian’s blog, Televisual, is an archive of over 500 posts chronicling the rise of the web TV market, and he has written regular reports on TV and new media for Indiewire, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Tubefilter. He received PhD in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kristiana Rae Colón, poet, playwright, actor, educator


Kristiana Rae Colón (she/her) is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, creator of #BlackSexMatters and co-director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. She was awarded 2017 Best Black Playwright by The Black Mall. Past works include good friday (world premiere Oracle Productions, 2016), Octagon (world premiere Arcola Theatre, London, 2015; American premiere Jackalope Theatre, 2016), but i cd only whisper (world premiere Arcola Theatre, London, 2012; American premiere The Flea, New York, 2016). In 2013, she toured the UK for two months with her collection of poems promised instruments, winner of the inaugural Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize and published by Northwestern University Press. Kristiana is an alum of the Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit where she developed her play florissant & canfield, which debuted at University of Illinois-Chicago in February 2018. Her play Tilikum opens in June 2018 with Sideshow Theater. Kristiana’s writing, producing, and organizing work to radically reimagine power structures, our complicity in them, and visions for liberation.

Héctor Carrillo, Northwestern University Department of Sociology


Héctor Carrillo (he/him) is professor of Sociology and Gender & Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University, where he also co-directs the Sexualities Project at Northwestern (SPAN). Dr. Carrillo is the author of the award-winning books The Night Is Young: Sexuality in Mexico in the Time of AIDS, and Pathways of Desire: The Sexual Migration of Mexican Gay Men, both published by the University of Chicago Press. He currently conducts research on the paradoxes of the modern notion of sexual identity.

James Wages, Northwestern University Ph.D. candidate in social psychology


James Wages, M.S., (he/him) is a Ph.D. student in social psychology at Northwestern University. Under the advisement of Drs. Sylvia Perry and Galen Bodenhausen (both ISGMH affiliate faculty members), Wages broadly studies the social nature of perception, identity, and bias. Currently, Wages is investigating how people form risk-taking impressions of racial, gender, and sexuality groups and the downstream consequences of these impressions on social disparities in health and healthcare. Also, he is exploring the degree to which structural SGM inequality is associated with individual health-compromising behaviors. James is the first recipient of the ISGMH Graduate Fellow Research Award, which generously supports the training and research of early-career SGM scholars.

Erik Elías Glenn, Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus


Like many human service professionals, Erik Elías Glenn (he/him) began his career with a calling to address the daily injustices faced by racial, sexual, and gender minorities. With more than a decade in LGBT community development and HIV prevention, Glenn is now Executive Director of Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus. There, he manages a portfolio that works to reduce structural barriers to health equity among Black gay, bisexual, and same gender loving men. Glenn earned his Master’s in Social Work at University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and his Bachelor’s in Narrative Writing and LGBT Studies from University of Michigan.

Gregory Phillips II, Northwestern University Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing


Gregory Phillips II, PhD, MS, (he/him) is an assistant professor within the Departments of Medical Social Science and Preventive Medicine, as well as the Director of the Evaluation, Data Integration, and Technical Assistance (EDIT) Program in the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern University. Under Dr. Phillips’ guidance, EDIT works to address the HIV epidemic in Chicago and nationwide, and to reduce disparities in HIV among racial and ethnic minority men who have sex with men via collaborative community partnerships. In addition, Dr. Phillips directs and contributes to multiple projects aimed at monitoring and understanding disparities in health outcomes among sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals. Most notably, Dr. Phillips directs the YRBS project within EDIT, where he leads a team dedicated to uncovering and understanding health disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth at a national level.

Dominique Adams-Romena, Northwestern University Ph.D. candidate in sociology


Dominique Adams-Romena (she/her), a PhD candidate in the Sociology department at Northwestern University, specializes in queer internet studies. Using digital ethnographic methods, her work explores the interplay of race, intimacy, and digital space. In centering the digital intimacy practices of queer women of color, she considers the ways in which digital contexts function as social terrains upon which race and sexuality are expressed, constructed, and negotiated.

Ryan Viloria, Invisible-to-Invincible Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago


Ryan Viloria (he/him) earned his Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a research focus on Asian American literature. At UIC, he is a staff member at the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and a co-chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Asian Americans. Viloria is a member of Invisible to Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago, and he also serves on the boards of the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE) and Filipino Kitchen.

Alexa Græ, Operatic Soprano


ALEXA GRÆ’s work is a combination of artistic disciplines informed by specialized academic training in music composition and opera. Rigorous training as an opera student challenged them to transcend the boundaries of various art forms and to understand cultural boundaries of art in the everyday world. They bridge these chasms by focusing on how art informs identities, socialization habits, self-expression, and the ability to create, creating genre-defying performances that incorporate multiple dance styles, theatrical personas, and experimental storytelling styles. Themes of deconstructing classical forms, beliefs about the feminine and masculine, and channeling greater collective consciousness find an evolving presence in ALEXA GRÆ’s work.