Jacob Tobia-Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

Jacob Tobia

Bio

Jacob Tobia is a writer, producer, and author of Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story with Putnam Books at Penguin Random House. From interviewing former US Presidents to working with queer and trans youth, Jacob helps others embrace the full complexity of gender and own their truth, even when that truth is messy as hell. Currently living in Los Angeles, Jacob was recently named to the Biden Foundation’s Advisory Council for Advancing LGBTQ Equality and the Clinton Global Initiative Honor Roll. A member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and the OUT 100, Jacob made their debut on the national stage when they were interviewed by Laverne Cox as part of MTV’s The T Word. In 2015, Jacob was profiled by MTV in the one hour, GLAAD Award-nominated episode of True Life: I’m Genderqueer, and in 2016, Jacob created, coproduced, and hosted Queer 2.0, a first-of-its-kind LGBTQ series for NBC News. In 2017, they served as the Social Media Producer on Season 4 of Amazon’s Emmy Award-winning series, Transparent, and collaborated with Instagram and GLAAD to produce #KindComments, a custom campaign for Trans Day of Visibility that was viewed over 14 million times. In 2018, Jacob produced and starred in a critically acclaimed revivial reading of the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play I Am My Own Wife and was announced as the new face of Fluide Beauty, a line of trans and queer-inclusive makeup.


A Point Foundation Scholar, Harry S. Truman Scholar, and recipient of the Campus Pride National Voice and Action Award, Jacob has captivated audiences at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Yale, South by Southwest, and conferences across the country with their message of personal fabulosity and social change. Their writing and advocacy have been featured on MSNBC, MTV, The Washington Post, The New York Times, TIME, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, Playboy, The Guardian, and Jezebel, among others. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Jacob graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke University with a degree in Human Rights Advocacy. Prior to their career in television, Jacob worked at the United Nations Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Jacob is an avid Sriracha devotee and has worn high heels in the White House twice (take that Donald!)


Sessions

Transformation and the Discovery of Self and Community

In Real Queer America, Samantha Allen takes us on a cross-country road-trip stretching all the way from Provo, Utah to the Rio Grande Valley to the Bible Belt to the Deep South. Her motto for the trip: "Something gay every day." Making pit stops at drag shows, political rallies, and hubs of queer life across the heartland, she introduces us to scores of extraordinary LGBT people working for change, from the first openly transgender mayor in Texas history to the manager of the only queer night club in Bloomington, Indiana, and many more. From Jacob’s Methodist childhood and the hallowed halls of Duke University to the portrait-laden parlors of the White House, Sissy takes you on a gender odyssey you won’t soon forget. Writing with the fierce honesty, wildly irreverent humor, and wrenching vulnerability that have made them a media sensation, Jacob shatters the long-held notion that people are easily sortable into “men” and “women.” Sissy guarantees that you’ll never think about gender—both other people’s and your own—the same way again. Join these two engaging writers as they discuss transformative discovery of self and community.

Interviewer: Michael Shutt

Michael D. Shutt is the Sr. Director for Campus Life at Emory University, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Georgia College of Education, Chair of the Board of Director of the Equality Foundation of Georgia, and member of the LGBTQ Institute Advisory Board at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Michael was the founding Director of the University of Georgia Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center and Co-Chaired of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.

  • Marriott Conference Center A
  • Sat 12:30-1:15p Marriott A

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

From the moment a doctor in Raleigh, North Carolina, put “male” on Jacob Tobia’s birth certificate, everything went wrong. Alongside “male” came many other, far less neutral words: words that carried expectations about who Jacob was and who Jacob should be, words like “masculine” and “aggressive” and “cargo shorts” and “SPORTS!” Naturally sensitive, playful, creative, and glitter-obsessed, as a child Jacob was given the label “sissy.” In the two decades that followed, “sissy” joined forces with “gay,” “trans,” “nonbinary,” and “too-queer-to-function” to become a source of pride and, today, a rallying cry for a much-needed gender revolution. Through revisiting their childhood and calling out the stereotypes that each of us have faced, Jacob invites us to rethink what we know about gender and offers a bold blueprint for a healed world–one free from gender-based trauma and bursting with trans-inclusive feminism. From Jacob’s Methodist childhood and the hallowed halls of Duke University to the portrait-laden parlors of the White House, Sissy takes you on a gender odyssey you won’t soon forget.

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