Dr. Thomas Klein Gender and Sexuality Speaker Series

This annual speaker series is made possible by the generous donation of Dr. Thomas Klein to encourage an active campus community by providing students, faculty and the public with access to prominent speakers addressing a range of topics related to gender and sexuality.

Dr. Klein earned his bachelor's degree at Wayne State University in 1973. He went on to earn his medical degree at Michigan State University and began his career as a resident in family practice at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. In 1979, Dr. Klein was one of the few openly gay physicians in Chicago, where he soon earned a reputation as a compassionate doctor who provided quality care in the gay community. This led Dr. Klein to serve on the front line of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Past speakers

2023: Sarah Schulman

Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP, New York, 1987-1993

Writer, historian and activist Sarah Schulman shares material from her recently published oral history of "ACT UP," "Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP," New York, 1987-1993. Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members and rich with lessons for today’s activists, "Let the Record Show" is a revelatory exploration—and long-overdue reassessment—of the coalition’s inner workings, conflicts, achievements and ultimate fracture. Schulman, one of the most revered queer writers and thinkers of her generation, explores the how and the why, examining, with her characteristic rigor and bite, how a group of desperate outcasts changed America forever and in the process created a livable future for generations of people across the world.

2022: Jesse Freidin

Artist Talk with Jesse Freidin: Photographing the Nation's Trans Youth

Focusing on his current series entitled "Are You OK?" Jesse Freidin will discuss the collaborative process of documenting familial love and acceptance amidst the current wave of anti-trans legislation sweeping the country.

2022: Dr. Sami Schalk

Articulating and Enacting Black Disability Politics in the National Black Women's Health Project

In "Articulating and Enacting Black Disability Politics in the National Black Women's Health Project," Dr. Sami Schalk provides a brief history of the National Black Women's Health Project and analyzes how the organization articulated and enacted Black disability politics within their Black feminist health activism in the 1980s and 1990s. This talk is part of the book Black Disability Politics which explores Black activist and cultural worker engagement with disability as a political and social issue.

2021: Anglea Chen

Asexual Possibilities

In this talk, Angela Chen, author of "Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex," goes beyond ace 101 to discuss where asexuality fits into modern sexual politics and how the asexual lens can complete and clarify what we want and where we go next.