University News

Sociologist Dr. Georgiann Davis Visits SUU to Discuss Intersex and Power in a Name

Published: April 20, 2018 | Author: Casey Ann Lavoie | Category: Academics

Georgiann Davis Sociology SpeakerWomen and Gender Studies and Utah Center for Rural Health Program are proud to host a presentation on intersex issues, something not often discussed in Southern Utah.  This event is planned for Thursday, April 26 at 5:00 pm in the Sterling Church Auditorium at Southern Utah University (SUU). The speaker, Dr. Georgiann Davis, will focus specifically on intersex and the power in a name.

Dr. Georgiann Davis was born in Chicago with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, which is a condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty.

“Dr. Georgiann is a prominent intersex scholar whose expertise has benefited sociologists, sex/gender studies scholars, and professionals in the medical field,” says SUU sociology professor Shobha Gurung. Dr. Davis is an assistant professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and is also the author of Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis. She has written numerous articles on intersex in various outlets ranging from MS Magazine to the American Journal of Bioethics. In spring 2016, she was recognized with the Coca-Cola Scholars (COLA) William Morris Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

“Dr. Davis has been chosen to speak at Southern Utah University precisely for her lived experience, research, and professional engagement about intersex traits and issues,” says professor Gurung.

Kaleigh Bronson, an SUU student with a minor in women and gender studies states that “WGS students and faculty chose to bring Dr. Davis to class after meeting with her as a class last semester and seeing how much we learned from her experience and research. She is incredibly knowledgeable and personable, and we felt she would be a great resource to both our campus and Cedar City community.”

Bronson, continued, “I think that it is important ​for our community and college to learn more about intersex issues due to the all-too-common lack of representation and inclusion of the "I" in LGBTQIA+ spaces.” Christopher Mendoza, Coordinator of the SUU Center for Diversity and Inclusion also added, “I believe Dr. Davis is bringing a much-needed perspective to SUU’s campus, allowing us to engage with narratives that highlight the often unspoken and violent conformity that has been medically perpetuated on intersex bodies and people.”

2018-04-intersex-georgiann-davis.jpgIntersex issues need to be discussed in order to build a diverse and inclusive environment in Southern Utah and for individuals to better understand people with different lived experiences and backgrounds. Intersex is a common trait: about 1 in 100 births are diagnosed as intersex. In order to fully understand the variations and complexities of this trait and how the intersex community faces social, cultural, legal and medical challenges in their everyday lives, it is important to have conversations about intersex issues.

Another SUU student with a minor in women and gender studies, Sofie Scaletta, commented, “Some of the first steps towards being an ally can be educating yourself and listening to folks who may be at completely unique and different intersections of identity, power, and privilege than you. I think this event is a perfect opportunity to do both of those things while simultaneously working across difference and partnering for enhanced diversity across the SUU and Cedar City communities.”

According to Rita Osborn the Director of the Utah Center for Rural Health, “speakers of this quality, exploring healthcare issues not discussed as openly in our area, provide a unique experience for our students in the Rural Health Scholars program (RHS) and our local health care providers. This opportunity should not be missed.”

This event is co-sponsored by the Allies on Campus, Office of the Provost, Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and the History, Sociology, and Anthropology Departments. The event is free and open to the public. Bronson believes that “anyone and everyone would benefit from attending this collaborative event!” Questions can be directed to Shobha Gurung at gurung@suu.edu or osborn@suu.edu. More information on Dr. Davis can be found online at http://www.georgianndavis.com/.


Contact Information:

Casey Ann Lavoie
435-865-8661
caseylavoie@suu.edu