Published: April 18, 2024

CU Boulder's Center for Humanities & the Arts (CHA) invites Maia Kobabe and Gabrielle Calvocoressi to be in conversation about attacks against queer and nonbinary people and works, as well as amplifying the art of our speakers. Kobabe and Calvocoressi will discuss the words "liberty", "freedom", and "democracy" and what they mean for them as nonbinary artists, and how the audience can be advocates for liberty, freedom, and democracy.

Maia Kobabe's award-winning memoir Gender Queer is currently the most challenged book in the United States (American Library Association, 2023). Kobabe expressed eir journey with this stigma in "I Made the Most Banned Book in America" and continues to fight to protect diverse literature and the freedom to access information as a full-time artist and activist.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is an award-winning poet and essayist, who explores the variety of use of pronouns, or even no pronouns in their collections. The poems in Rocket Fantastic explore the use of a symbol instead of pronouns, in which Calvocoressi elaborated on this use in an interview with Green Linden Press.

The first 30 people to register for this event (as well as attend) will be eligible for a free copy of Kobabe's Gender Queer: A Memoir. This event will be held Thursday, April 18, 2024 at the University of Colorado Boulder from 4pm - 5:30pm. This event has a limited capacity, registration is required. If you have questions about this event, contact the CHA at

About the Speakers & Their Works

Maia Kobabe & eir book Gender Queer: A Memoir

(e/em/eir) - Spivak pronouns

Gender Queer: A Memoir, is a 2019 graphic novel by Maia Kobabe. This work has received many praises and won several awards, but is also one of the most frequently challenged books around the country.

This coming-of-age book explores Kobabe’s feelings about eir identity and sexuality as e develops an understanding of what it means to be nonbinary.

Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer: A Memoir is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

Visit eir website

Gabrielle Calvocoressi & their work Rocket Fantastic


Gabrielle Calvocoressi is an award-winning poet, UNC Chapel Hill Associate Professor, Editor at Large of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Poetry Editor at Southern Cultures.

In Calvocoressi's book Rocket Fantastic, Calvocoressi explores a genderless world by utilizing the musical segno symbol in replacement of traditional pronouns. This allows readers to engage with the poem’s content while leaving sex and gender as an open question.

Calvocoressi’s collection explores the lives of people and animals whose individual stories may seem small, but when taken all together, explore questions of violence, grief, nature and familial relationships in the modern era.

Visit their website


Parking and Venue

The CHA recommends parking in Euclid Parking Garage ($2.45/hour) or Lot 204 (across from the CASE Building; rates vary) for the closest proximity to the event. As a reminder, the event is located in the University Memorial Center RM 235, or referenced on the map as "UMC" below.

Visit CU Boulder's Parking Website for more information about visitor parking:

This event will be in CU Boulder's University Memorial Center (UMC), Conference Room 235. Please see below for the map of the 2nd floor on how to get to the event. 


"Liberty, Freedom, Democracy: The Flight for Ideas" Theme

 The Fight for Ideas logo

The CHA has concentrated its programming for the 2023 - 2024 academic year on the theme of “Liberty, Freedom, Democracy: The Fight for Ideas.”

These three words —liberty, freedom, democracy — are deeply linked with the United States and the notion of the American Dream, with the promise of equal opportunities to all who come to its shores. However, in the past decade, these words have been been wielded for political purposes, weaponized rhetorically to suggest that certain people and ideologies are more worthy of being American than others. That certain people belong in the US and are entitled to liberty, freedom, democracy — and everyone else is excluded from these terms and their concepts.

The CHA investigates the actual meaning of these terms. What does “liberty” in the context of U.S. civil rights mean, particularly amid the recent Supreme Court erosions of rights? Is it “freedom” to be who you want or “freedom” from oppression? Who decides what is considered “oppression” versus what is “freedom”? In a time when democracy, globally, seems under threat — where for the first time in its history the U.S. was in danger of a peaceful transition of power on January 6, 2021—the question of what makes a nation a “democracy” and who “democracy” is for, are among the considerations that the CHA take up through this theme.