As the 11th annual Western Regional International Health Conference commences, hundreds of students, speakers, and supporters will gather to discuss and engage with the topics of gender, sexuality, and social movements in global health–topics that have previously been overlooked, invisibilized, and even censored.
Traditionally, the field of global health has addressed the topics of gender and sexuality through a biomedical lens, oftentimes neglecting the social movements that have contributed to advances in the field. Themes such as HIV/AIDS and reproductive health have drawn much global attention and continue to be extensively researched, yet topics like transgendered identities and the criminalization of sexual minorities–among many other topics–have widely gone unaddressed. Grassroots social movements such as indigenous rights movements and the People’s Health Movement have played an important role in broadening perspectives in many areas related to health, human rights and social justice, yet these stories are often omitted from our textbooks and syllabi.
This conference poses the following questions: what aspects of gender, sexuality, and social movements in global health have yet to be explored, and what are the forces that have contributed to the censorship of these themes? How can global health advocates, researchers, and practitioners incorporate such content into our work? How can the field of global health help to strengthen these movements, and what can we gain from incorporating more diverse perspectives on gender, sexuality, and social movements?
The intent of this conference is to extend and amplify the dialogue surrounding gender, sexuality, and social movements in global health. By questioning and conversing, analyzing and disseminating ideas, and searching for what can be accepted within the inconsistencies, we can break down stigmas and stereotypes, and gain greater insight and understanding of these themes. And though there are significant challenges and problems to be addressed, there is also much to be celebrated: pleasure, creativity, empowerment, and rich cultural diversities.
The conference will frame the three key themes of gender, sexuality, and social movements within six tracks:
- Voices & Visibility: Power, Media, and the Arts in Global Health
- Seeking Justice for Vulnerable Populations
- Celebrating Gender, Sexuality, & Social Movements
- The People United: Advocacy, Activism & Social Movements in Global Health
- Perceptions Unmasked: Societal Elements that Shape Our Lives
- The Modernization of Sexual Health: The Impact of Technological & Clinical Advancements on the Developing World
With generous support from: Child Family Health International; Global Good; Global WACh; International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission; OHSU Global Health Center; Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest; PNWU College of Osteopathic Medicine; PNWU Global Health Club; Seattle University College of Nursing; Simon Fraser University; University of Oregon African Studies Program; University of Oregon Department of Biology; University of Oregon Department of Human Physiology; University of Oregon Office of International Affairs Global Studies Institute; UW Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; UW Jackson School of International Studies, African Studies Program, Center for Global Studies, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program; UW Q Center; UW Tacoma; UW Women’s Center; and Washington Global Health Alliance