Professor Corey Johnson

Professor Corey Johnson wasn’t always a champion for gender equality. It’s a torch, he says, that was picked up rather accidentally about 15 years ago.

“As a gay man and member of a marginalized group, I became an activist because I wanted to undo all the social injustices around LGBTQ identity,” he said. “But the more involved I became, the more I started learning about feminism and gender inequality. It didn’t take long to realize that even as a gay person, I am much more privileged as a white, cis-gender, middle-class man, than I am marginalized in our society.”

For Johnson, a scholar in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, the key to creating more equitable environments according to gender for women, trans and gender non-conforming individuals is to start a conversation around men’s unearned privilege.

“It’s often blind to us,” he said. “We need to talk about it, recognize it and then act on it. Even if that means giving up some of our own resources.”

On Tuesday, Johnson will give a lecture as part of the Gender and Equity Scholarship Series looking at factors that contribute to privileged statuses in society, and the importance of collaboration in tackling equity issues.

‘We’re often so trapped in the social conditions and systems that produce us, we can’t see what life would be like otherwise. We can’t imagine life without shackles. We have to be able to dream beyond the conditions we know currently.”

The event is open and free of charge to all members of the campus community. To register for the lecture and free lunch, visit the Faculty Association webpage.