Ryka is a frequent performer, lecturer, and keynote speaker at conferences and campuses around the US. Her recent appearances have included Brown University, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, Whitman College, University of Chicago, Sarah Lawrence College, Mills College, Yale University, Syracuse University, and the University of Winnipeg.
“Ryka Aoki’s visit to Swarthmore was nothing short of extraordinary. Her readings from all three of her books were hilarious, deeply moving, and thought-provoking all at once. By far the most memorable part of her time here, however, was our post-reading conversation. Beginning as a discussion on marginalized voices in literature, it eventually morphed into an intimate chat about everything from being a writer to making sure to eat rice on a regular basis. Speaking with Ryka was like talking to a relative who actually gets it instead of being consistently frustrating: she is inspirational and insightful, but also pragmatically wise when discussing all kinds of topics, including writing, trans politics, and life in general. “
–Jay H Wu, Swarthmore College, Linguistics, Alumnus
“Ryka Aoki was our keynote speaker for Lavender Graduation, a long-standing tradition on our campus. She was phenomenal! In only 15 minutes, she was able to captivate, inspire, challenge and congratulate our lavender graduates. There’s a magic about Ryka that is intelligent and fierce and lights up the stage. Everyone LOVED her! She truly was the best keynote we’ve had in years.” -Jami Grosser, Coordinator, Pride Center, Cal Poly Pomona
Ryka Aoki was such an amazing keynote at our annual TRANSforming Gender Symposium that we brought her back to speak again this year. She engages and connects beautifully with diverse audiences, from academics to activists, from parents to teenagers. She continues to inspire us with her poetry, her compassionate understanding of the history of the trans* movement, and her witty and insightful perspectives on the “multiplicities of being.” She is also a model of how to balance transforming ourselves with changing the world. I wholeheartedly endorse Ryka Aoki as a keynote speaker and performer.
– Scarlet Bowen, Director of the GLBTQ Resource Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, TRANSforming Gender Symposium 2013
Thank YOU so much for being our keynote for the 2015 APAAC! Our attendees loved you and your speech, and we really appreciate the amazing advice and words that you shared with all of us yesterday. Hopefully, we will have the chance to work together again, and we will definitely keep you in mind for future API spaces!
Linda Huynh and Amy Yu
Programs Co-CoordinatorsAsian Pacific Student Association at University of California, Irvine (APSA at UCI)
Ryka’s performance was nothing short of outstanding. She incorporated her artistry of writing, storytelling, and activism to celebrate liberation, hope, and honesty. Our students were inspired and spirited after the event. One of our student leaders commented that Ryka was the best speaker she had seen in her three years at Syracuse University (she is a junior). Students remained after the performance and question/answer portion to speak with Ryka, to which Ryka was authentic, kind, and thoughtful. Overall, Ryka provided us with a remarkable event, and was the ideal person to have kick-off a new annual program.
– D. Chase Catalano, Director, LGBT Center, Syracuse University
“We chose to reach out to Ryka as a speaker for TDOR because of her unique, interdisciplinary approach to activism and trans* issues. Ryka ended up being that and more. We received an artist who put a lot of time, care, and emotion into shaping a personal Trans* Day of Remembrance that also challenged students to look outside of themselves and help create a world in which trans* violence no longer exists.”
Vice President, NU Pride
Coordinator of LGBTQA Programs and Services
Ryka went above and beyond any and all expectations. Her performance was tailored beautifully for our event. She was a smashing success, addressing issues around inclusion, activist superiority complexes, and the recent suicides in the media, incorporating humor, gravity, and empowerment in a three-part presentation in just forty-five minutes. She was dynamic, humorous, insightful, witty, and challenging.
Beyond the presentation/keynote aspects, Ryka was friendly and charming, extremely cooperative, and the farthest from demanding diva that a keynote could be. She was personable, eager to meet and befriend community members, and incredibly engaging. Working and talking with her were extremely pleasant all on their own, both before and after the keynote presentation.
It was an extreme pleasure to have Ryka as our keynote. I couldn’t recommend her more emphatically.”
UC Davis LGBT Resource Center Community Intern 2010-11