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Kathryn Brown
IU Health Center

Jennifer Bass
The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction

Martin Weinberg
Department of Sociology

Last modified: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chaz Bono's Themester visit highlights Sexploration Week at IU Bloomington

Sept. 26, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The fifth annual Sexploration Week at Indiana University Bloomington, Oct. 1 to 4, once again offers a positive view of sexuality and gender through such activities as orientation-inclusive speed dating, free and anonymous HIV testing, IU Secrets, films and a talk by celebrity and transgender activist Chaz Bono.

Bono's talk, "Transition: How I Became a Man," is part of the College of Arts and Sciences' Themester, "Good Behavior, Bad Behavior: Molecules to Morality," and will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the IU Auditorium.

Sociology professor Martin Weinberg said Bono's visit fits well with Themester and Sexploration. Bono's book, "Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man," talks about his life growing up as the only child of legendary performers Sonny Bono and Cher, which included well-publicized struggles with drug addiction. Now, he might be the most well-known transgendered person in the country, with a new book, a documentary and a stint on the popular show "Dancing With the Stars."

"I don't usually watch 'Dancing With the Stars,' but I was amazed that people were so hateful," said Weinberg, whose two courses Constructing Sexuality and Sexual Diversity are part of the Themester curriculum bundle. "I was so surprised that people would make death threats because their children might see someone on TV who might be different."

Weinberg teaches courses about sexuality, often discussing the tremendous diversity in sexual behavior and gender expression as well as the judgments people make about behavior that is different from their own. The sexuality- and gender-positive focus of Sexploration, he said, is educational, not just fun. Kathryn Brown, health and sexuality educator at the IU Health Center, agreed.

"I visit numerous academic classes on campus to teach about sexual orientation, gender identity and other sexuality topics, and I'm continually surprised at the questions that students ask," Brown said. "It's clear that not only are they curious about these topics and people's lives, but many are uninformed or come to these topics with deeply held beliefs that make it difficult for them to accept these types of differences. These Sexploration week events bring these issues out of the classroom to the entire student body and local community."

Here are the Sexploration Week main events:

  • Speed dating (orientation inclusive), 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 1 in State Room East in the Indiana Memorial Union. Refreshments and giveaways included.
  • Free HIV testing, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 2 in the IMU's Charter Room. Provided by Positive Link, IU Health Bloomington.
  • Movie: "Beyond Boundaries," 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Bridgwaters Lounge of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. The documentary, by Betsy Jose, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Gender Studies in IU's College of Arts and Sciences, includes stories of immigrants in the U.S. who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual. A Q-and-A with Jose will follow the viewing.
  • "Signed On for Sex," 7 p.m. Oct. 2 in Room 277 of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Bryant Paul, assistant professor of telecommunications in the College of Arts and Sciences, will talk about how technology has taken over social interactions. An affiliate with the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in the School of Public Health-Bloomington, Paul will also discuss cybersex.
  • Union Board movie: "Turn Me On, Dammit!" 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in the IMU's Whittenberger Auditorium. The movie is described as a girl's coming-of-age story that Hollywood would never make.
  • Movie: "Gun Hill Road," 7 p.m. Oct. 3 in the IU Cinema. The movie is free, but tickets are required from the IU Auditorium box office. This film follows Enrique (Esai Morales) as he returns home from a three-year stint in prison, only to find his son beginning a sexual transformation. Torn between his love for his family and his ideas about manhood, Enrique must come to terms with the changing times and forces that may tear his family apart. The film was the Grand Jury Nominee at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
  • "Hormones Racing: There's an App for That!" 4:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 4 in Room 209 of Ballantine Hall. Workshop attendees will receive help in creating an online profile that meets their needs. Photos will be taken.
  • IU Secrets. The campus community is invited to anonymously share secrets, big or small, serious or funny, about any topic such as experiences with family, friends, love, sex, fear, school, health, hope or desire. IU Secrets received by Oct. 1 will be displayed on campus. To learn more about this project, such as how to send in your secret, or to see examples of IU Secrets, visit This project was inspired by Frank Warren's PostSecret project but is not affiliated in any way with PostSecret. Postcards can be sent to Debby Herbenick, Department of Applied Health Science, HPER 116, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Contributors should not include any photographs, names or other identifying details of themselves or others.
  • Kinsey Institute library book sale, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 3 to 5.

Related activities later in the month:

  • IU Health Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Neal-Marshall Grand Hall.
  • "Spring Awakening," a rock musical, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2, 3, 6-10 and 2 p.m. Nov. 10, in Halls Theatre.
  • Film: "Boys Don't Cry," 7 p.m. Oct. 15, IU Cinema, followed by a panel discussion. Free, but tickets are required.
  • Celebrating the Vulva, noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4, location TBD. Learn about the history of female genitalia in art and participate in a craft project: "Not So Private Parts: A Cross-Cultural Look at the Vulva in Art" presented by Catherine Johnson-Roehr, art curator at the Kinsey Institute; and "vulva-crafting projects" with sexual health researchers, authors and educators Debby Herbenick and Vanessa Schick.

Sexploration Week is sponsored by The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction; Union Board; IU Health Center; Health and Wellness Education at the IU Health Center; Positive Link; IU Themester: "Good Behavior, Bad Behavior: From Molecules to Morality"; Department of Sociology; GLBT Student Support Services; IU Cinema; Center for Sexual Health Promotion in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington; and Planned Parenthood.

For more information about Sexploration Week, contact Brown at 812-855-7338 or

The main sponsors of Bono's Themester visit are: IU Themester: "Good Behavior, Bad Behavior: From Molecules to Morality"; Department of Sociology; Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction; GLBT Support Services; and Sexploration Week.

For information about Bono's visit, contact Weinberg at 812-855-7208 or, or Jennifer Bass at 812-855-7686 or