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Transgender Issues and Resources: Babs Siperstein Humanities & Medicine Seminar

Barbra (Babs) Casber Siperstein

The Humanities and Medicine Seminar was renamed Babs Siperstein Humanities and Medicine Seminar in honor of Barbra (Babs) Casber Siperstein (1942-2019), a transgender activist based in New Jersey. She advocated for marriage equality, workplace discrimination reforms, and amendments to discrimination laws in order to better protect transgender people. 

The landmark Babs Siperstein Law, named for Siperstein, went into effect February 1, 2019. The law streamlines the process for New Jerseyans to change the gender marker on their birth certificate, removing the outdated and invasive “proof of surgery” requirement; adding a third gender option (“X” for non-binary/undesignated); and removing the provider certification and replacing it with Self Attestation.

Spring 2021 Seminars

January 11, 2021

Transmen: Gender Affirming Genital Surgery

Presenter: Dr. Juana Hutchinson-Colas MD, MBA is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Robert Wood Medical School, Rutgers University.

February 8, 2021

Trans: From Christine Jorgensen to Elliot Page

Presenter: Melissa Sklarz is a trans activist and one of the first two trans people in New York to be elected Democratic District Leader in the 30th Assembly District in Queens, NYC. She works at SAGE , on behalf of LGBT elders, as the senior government relations strategist.

February 25-26, 2021

Colloquium Part I: Affirming Mental and Medical Care for LGBTQAI+ Communities

Organizers: Dr. Gloria Bachmann (RWJMS, Rutgers) and Dean Mark Schuster (Dean of Graduate Student Life, Rutgers).

April 13, 2021

Streetwalking: Strategies for Surviving Sexual Terror

Presenter: Ana-Maurine Lara is an assistant professor of the Department of Anthropology and
WGSS Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Oregon. She is also a Black
feminist scholar and a Dominican poet. Her presentation will focus on her research
with LGBTQ+ activists in the Dominican Republic between 2010 - 2015. Based on
Maria Lugones’s "tactical strategies," Lara theorizes streetwalking as a mode of
possibility and freedom, for LGBTQ+ people in the Caribbean and beyond. Lara is the
author of the recently published books Streetwalking: LGBTQ Lives and Protests in the Dominican Republic (Rutgers U. Press, 2020) and Queer Freedom: Black Sovereignty (SUNY Press, 2021).

Spring 2020 Seminar Schedule


February 24, 2020

Hurdles Young Transgender Individuals and their Families Face During the Affirmation Process

Dr. Ian Marshall, RWJMS, Rutgers University

Strategies for Optimism and Positivity in the face of challenge

Diane Uniman


Fall 2020 Seminars

September 21, 2020 
Becoming Gender-Inclusive: An Agency Evolves
Presenter: Gary Paul Wright. Founder and Director of the AAOGC: African American Office of Gay Concerns

Gary Paul Wright established the AAOGC in Newark, NJ in 2001. He will discuss the history of this agency and its evolving mission, serving as a resource to insure that men of color, who identify themselves as gay, bisexual, transgender and gender flued have access to HIV/AIS prevention services.  

October 19, 2020 

"Building Bridges": LGBTQ Law Enforcement Liaisons and Their Work

Presenters: Lieutenant John Hayes, NJ State Police Academy & Police Officer Connor Johnson, Morristown Bureau of Police

Police Officers across New Jersey now receive training on hot to interact with LGBTQ people. This new initiative is expected to protect residents from discrimination based on gender identity. Lt. Hayes is the first openly gay male NJ trooper and the LGBTQ liaison with State Police. Officer Johnson is the first openly transgender police officer in New Jersey.  NJ Attorney General issued the directive "Law Enforcement Interactions with Transgender People" on November 20, 2019.

November 16, 2020 (special event honoring Babs Siperstein)

The health of LGBTQ+ People and Populations in the During, Before, and After the COVID-19

Perry Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, Dean of Rutgers School of Public Health & Kristen D. Trause, PhD, MPH

The authors will discuss their research on longiituginal perspective on health challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ population vis-a-vis the COVID-19 crisis. They will also discuss prevention and testing, mental issues and care, and available resources.

December 14, 2020

Breaking the Binary: Prioritizing Transgender Gender Non-Confirming/Gender healthcare

Bianca Mayes. Planned Parenthood Federation

Fall 2019 Seminars

September 23, 2019

Facial Reconstruction in Gender Affirmation Surgery  

Dr. Joseph Vella. RWJMS, Rutgers University


October 21, 2019

Learning from Millennial Trans Men: A (Baby boomer) Sociologist's Story

Distinguished Professor Arlene Stein. Sociology Dept., Rutgers University


November 25, 2019

Negotiating Narratives: Reflective Dialogues

Jason Allen. Principal and Facilitator of xCHANGEs


December 17, 2019

From Priscilla to Northern Lights: Advancing Transgender Health through Education

Dr. Ole-Petter Hamnvik. Brigham Young Women's Hospital. Boston, MA 


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