DULUTH, Minn. — A lecture and photography exhibit by a noted California-based photographer has drawn criticism from a conservative student group affiliated with the Arlington, Va.-based Leadership Institute due to its explicit content documenting his gender reassignment surgery.
The exhibit by Loren Rex Cameron, a Lambda Literary Award winning author and photographer who is also a noted transsexual activist, includes portraiture and self-portraiture which consist of lesbian and transsexual bodies in both clothed and nude form.
Campus Reform blogger Oliver Darcy, writing on his organization’s website, said, “A public university plans to host an event in which a self-described man displays sexually explicit images of his transition from a female to male physique.”
“The University of Minnesota – Duluth (UMD), now infamous for funding controversial programs, plans to pay transsexual activist Loren Cameron an honorarium of $4,000 for his presentation “Transgender Images,” emails from the school’s administration sent exclusively to Campus Reform reveal,” Darcy wrote.
According to Angela C. Nichols, Director of UMD’s GLBT Services, Cameron’s lecture is a routine guest appearance for the university’s student services cultural center and for the Queer and Allied Student Union, which issued the invitation.
Nichols told LGBTQ Nation on Tuesday that student fees are collected for events such as this, and that university officials have been supportive of the QASU’s efforts.
“Mr. Cameron is being paid a flat fee of $4,000 which includes his speaker fee and all expenses,” she said.
Nichols said that the goal of the lecture was to showcase Cameron’s work by presenting the diversity across the spectrum of the LGBT community at large, and to help educate students.
In an interview with Fox News, Campus Reform spokesman Josiah Ryan said that “UMD’s administration has spent thousands of dollars in public resources this year to support a radical and divisive agenda. While [UMD] President Lendley Black’s administration’s sponsorship of this sexually explicit presentation may satisfy a small minority on campus, it will surely offend many more students, alumni, and donors.”
Nichols said that the UMD campus is very much an inclusive and supportive campus, and that University officials have made a concerted effort to ensure that all of its students felt safe and secure, and most of all welcomed. She added that she didn’t understand the negative interest in Cameron’s lecture by Campus Reform.
When contacted by LGBTQ Nation to clarify why he categorized Cameron’s work as a “sexually explicit presentation” and what the genesis of his interest in the UMD program was, Darcy declined comment other than to refer questions to Campus Reform spokesman Josiah Ryan who did not respond to a request for comment.