The fall 2017 semester and beginning months of 2018 in Emory’s Office of LGBT Life have been chock-full of programs and events!
On Thursday, August 24th the Office of LGBT Life held its annual Open House, welcoming over 40 students, staff, and faculty members to the 2017-2018 school year. Filled with rainbow cake, exciting conversations, and plenty of laughs, the Open House was a great way to kick off the academic year.
To help celebrate Black Pride, the office offered MARTA cards for students interested in attending the Atlanta Black Pride Festival on Sunday, September 3rd. Just a few days later, the office supported “HireUs: Connecting a Diverse Workforce with Inclusive Employers Program”, a networking opportunity for historically underrepresented students to connect with employers with inclusive and diverse company cultures. The office also collaborated with the LGBTQ+ Grad Student Coalition to create the first ever Graduate Student Brunch – over 50 graduate and professional students attended, connected, and built community. Throughout the remainder of the month, the office staff worked with Emory Pride and the Queer Discussion Group facilitators to prepare and train them for the upcoming academic year.
In October, we were off to the races! On Wednesday, October 11, the office celebrated National Coming out Day with our “Out on Campus” event to which we invited LGBTQ+ identified students, staff, and faculty to connect, build community, and celebrate. Outfitted with rainbow cake, a photo booth, and interactive activities, the program welcomed over 40 students, staff, and faculty – many of whom signed up to have their information listed on the office’s “Out at Emory” virtual page.
Soon after on October 15th, the Office of LGBT Life and over 100 students, staff, friends, and community members (our largest contingency yet) participated in the Atlanta Pride Parade (see pictures below). Outfitted in t-shirts designed by an Emory undergraduate student and singing along to pop music, Emory’s group had a blast!
On Saturday, October 21st, the office attended the Blue Jean Brunch, sponsored by GALA and the Emory Alumni Association, to connect and network with LGBTQ+ alumni and students. Just a week later, the office staff attended Emory Pride’s Annual Drag show, which featured a host of different acts and fantastic performances.
As the semester settled into itself, November brought some much needed calm. On November 20th, the Office of LGBT Life remembered our trans siblings who lost their lives to violence this year on the Transgender Day of Remembrance. With readings and poetry from trans students and allies, the event was a reminder of the role we all play in advocating for and supporting the rights of and consciously addressing the issues that face the trans and GNC communities.
With just a few weeks of classes left, the office hosted a World AIDS Day drop in event on Friday, December 1st. Folks were able to drop by, grab donuts and hot chocolate, and learn about resources offered in our community. The busy fall semester finished, the Office wrapped up its 12 Queer Discussion Groups, transitioned its six Federal Work Study students into the next semester, and prepared for an exciting spring 2018 semester.
As the new year began, full of snow days and purpose, the Office of LGBT Life’s staff set their sights on the spring semester portfolio of programs and events. With support of the J. Michael Aycock Leadership Development Fund, the staff led 10 students to the 30th Annual Creating Change Conference in Washington, DC, sponsored by the National LGBTQ Task Force. While there, participants – staff included – connected with peers from across the country and learned strategies to better advocate for the needs of the LGBTQ+ community at Emory and locally.
Partnering with the Emory Career Center, the office again supported “HireUs: Connecting a Diverse Workforce with Inclusive Employers Program”. The Office was pleased to welcome back Bi/Pandemonium, a Queer Discussion Group that hadn’t met in the fall 2017 semester.
The Office and Emory Law also launched ELLS (Emory LGBT Legal Services), an organization created to provide pro bono legal assistance to members of the LGBTQ+ community in the Atlanta area. Born of the need to support queer and trans community members and Emory Law students’ desire to put their education to meaningful use, ELLS is a major accomplishment of the Emory community. Check out the official article on its launch here.
Understanding the importance of naming and advocating for the multiple identities of queer/trans folks, the Office held Queer Black Love, a conversation on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality on Valentine’s Day.
This month, the office is gearing up for the 2018 Annual Pride Awards, which will take place on Wednesday, February 28th in the Miller-Ward Alumni House. Preparing certificates, finalizing registrations, and stirring a buzz, the office staff looks forward to celebrating the contributions to the LGBTQ+ community at Emory and our amazing community members who continue to do great work. Featuring a pre-reception for graduating students and alumni, a ceremony to recognize student achievements, and a dessert post-reception for all attendees, the office staff is eager to connect and engage with current and former students. To register for the Annual Pride Awards, follow the link here.
With the Pride Awards and Spring Break on the horizon, Director Danielle Bruce-Steele and Emory’s Office of LGBT Life would like to extend their thanks to GALA for continuing to support the work we do within the community. Our success is due in part to all of your help!
Please contact Megan Pendleton at email@example.com if you are interested in being more involved with the Office of LGBT Life. You can also keep up-to-date with our activities through our Facebook page.