Monthly Archives: February 2015

Brian Tolleson 94C says “BARK BARK”

Brian Tolleson

Brian Tolleson


With a daily To Do list of making video magic for zombies and laundry detergent, packaged goods and Ziploc® bags, design celebrities and Hollywood blockbusters and so much more, BARK BARK Productions tackles and creates global brand integration campaigns. Emmy Award-nominated founding partner Tolleson describes his “deeper and smarter” concept. “Advertising shouldn’t be an interruptive message,” Tolleson explains. “We integrate product branding, helping our clients work together with television shows to

BARK BARK for AMC and Microsoft

BARK BARK for AMC and Microsoft

create associated consumer affiliations for their brands.” He cites as examples the brand integration of HGTV Home’s David Bromstad and Sherwin-Williams paint, or Bravo’s Real Housewives andTitanic in 3D. “For the consumer, we create a natural connection between the two entities.”

Tolleson has designed a unique business model for his globally-recognized company. “We built BARK BARK to help advertisers reach consumers where content lives – commercials should enhance people’s lives and authentically communicate to the audience you’re speaking to. And the best way to do that is through the content they are already watching, already consuming, and already enjoying.” BARK BARK “knows how to get alongside the content and help you be a part of it. That’s what brand integration is all about, and that’s what we do.”

Brian Tolleson quote

Read the complete interview article in EmoryWire, and stay tuned to the GALA Outwrite blog for more exciting LGBTQ news from Tolleson in the months ahead. 


Letter from Co-Chair February 2015

2015 is upon us, and it is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the February issue of Outwrite, the newsletter of GALA: Emory Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alumni. We hope you will find value in its content, and we encourage you to participate in our upcoming events.

Our current initiatives include:

  • Studying ways in which GALA can better serve our wide constituency, including bisexual and transgender alumni.
  • Supporting students in their efforts to become leaders in the larger LGBT community through the GALA Leadership Award, which provides financial support to an outstanding student in the college.
  • Providing Emory students with educational opportunities and support. The Dr. Daniel D. Adame Leadership Fund and the J. Michael Aycock Leadership Development Fund provide financial support for students to attend national conferences such as the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change Conference. Over 40 Emory students have attended conferences with support from these funds.
  • Encouraging the creation and growth of local chapters of GALA, and networking among Oxford and Emory College classmates and the graduate and professional schools.

However, it is only with the support of alumni that we will accomplish many of these initiatives. More alumni continue to participate in our monthly meetings. Join us on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. for dinner and socializing, followed by a business meeting at 6:30 p.m. Moreover, if you would like to contribute to the production of the Newsletter in any way – whether it’s through writing, proofreading and copy-editing, or haranguing me – please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

In the meantime, we look forward to engaging with many of you at the Emory Pride Awards on March 3rd, and at our theater outing on April 2nd.

With warmest regards,

Lilly Correa 73C

Co-Chair, GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni

GALA NY Update

By Brian Sperber 07C

GALA NY held our annual Winter Happy Hour on February 17th. We had an intimate group of people from various class years and schools attend and it served as a great way to cure everybody’s post Valentine’s Day winter blues.

nyc-pride-logoIn speaking to future GALA NY events, we are partnering with CEBA NY, AWE NY and the NY Alumni Chapter’s Tolerance group to plan our first diversity panel discussion. We are looking to hold the discussion at the beginning of May and will be providing more information regarding speakers and location closer to the event.  Additionally, GALA NY will be hosting our signature PRIDE Week happy hour the Tuesday or Wednesday before NYC Pride.

GALA NY is still looking to increase its membership. In addition to working with the Office of Alumni Relations, should you know of anybody that you think would be interested in attending GALA NY events, please let me know. The success of our events depends upon the involvement and interest of our community.

As always, this quarter’s success would not be possible without the help of my board. To each of you, thank you for your hard work and dedication. As always, should you have any questions or suggestions for future GALA NY events, please let me know. I look forward to seeing everybody at future GALA NY events.               

Freedom at Emory Gets GALA support

In the fight for equality, GALA has had a long history of supporting Emory Students: past, present, and future. Recently, the GALA Steering Committee wrote a letter to President James Wagner and sent a copy to the Emory Wheel in support of the student initiative known as Freedom at Emory. President Wagner quickly responded to GALA in an email stating, “I am very much in agreement with their goals to level the playing field by enhancing access and support for students for whom federal support is unavailable, especially those brought to our country as children but who lack documentation of citizenship.”

While, the state of Georgia is actively working to criminalize undocumented persons and prevent them from accessing basic rights, such as education and the ability get identification for work, we feel our privilege as documented persons should be used to advocate for the rights that many of us take for granted. Currently in Georgia, undocumented students are banned from attending the five largest public schools, and because undocumented students cannot complete FAFSA applications, no federal financial aid is given to these students.

Believing that access to education is a right that all should have, Emory students organized Freedom at Emory, an initiative composed of documented allies who want to hold Emory accountable to the ideals of ethical engagement. Working with Freedom University Georiga, a university for undocumented students to continue their education, Freedom at Emory hopes to create and expand the access of higher education to all students, regardless of documentation status. Two queer documented migrants who are Emory students, Nowmee Shehab and Lamija Grbic’, have taken roles within the group to strategically engage Emory’s administration in changing policies that will make Emory more open and inclusive for undocumented students.

Gaining support from professors and students, GALA is among the many who believe Emory must be the moral leader on the issue of higher education for undocumented students. For this reason, GALA supports the Freedom at Emory initiative to demand the access of institutional financial aid for undocumented students. In addition to this, GALA also proposed the inclusion of “documentation status” in Emory’s Non-Discrimination Policy. Emory currently accepts undocumented students, but with the increase of legislation against undocumented people in Georgia, we as a community must stand up for those who are being marginalized, just as we hope others stand up for the LGBTQ community when our rights are violated.

The full letter sent to President Wagner can be found here:

GALA Maintains Active Social Calendar

On December 3rd GALA hosted our annual Holiday Social at Slice & Pint in Emory Village. Approximately 40 alums, students and guests were on hand for fellowship and conversation to mark the end of our 2014 social calendar. A special display of heavy appetizers was served along with favorite alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. We were given a special section of the restaurant, and the party was truly enjoyed by all.

GALA holiday party fun.

GALA holiday party fun.

Coming up on April 2, 2015, is our annual Theater Outing at Actors Express in the King Plow Arts Center. “Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet” is a LGBT themed work by Tarell Alvin McCraney. The theme is the story of a 16 year old coming to grips with his sexual identity. Looking back at his family is the key to understanding his future.

GALA will host a Wine and Cheese reception beginning at 6:30 PM. The curtain goes up at 8:00 PM, and since our party is there when the doors open, we usually can get a block of great seats. So mark your calendar for a great evening of theater and fun with your fellow GALA members and guests. You can register here.

New in 2015, our monthly Steering Committee meetings now feature a social hour from 6:00 to 6:30 PM. We are serving dinner with new food items, and the meeting now begins at 6:30 PM. Some are bringing wine to liven up the party, so come join us at the Miller-Ward House the second Tuesday of each month. All GALA members are welcome to participate in the Steering Committee.


OUT on Campus: Samantha Allen 15G

Samantha Allen

Samantha Allen

Samantha Allen 15G is a PhD Student in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Emory University. She writes about gender, sexuality, and technology. She is a contributor for The Daily Beast, and her opinion pieces appear regularly at The Daily Dot. Her work has also appeared on Rolling StoneThe Advocate, SalonHuffington Post, Mic, Kinsey Confidential, Jacobin, and in Adult Magazine. 

Lilly Correa 73C, Co-Chair of GALA, recently interviewed Samantha for this newsletter.

LC: You were raised in a Mormon household. What was your experience growing up?

SA: Mormonism is inimical to any form of gender or sexual variation, and my personal experience with it was suffocating. There are LGBT Mormons who stay in the church hoping to change it from within, but that life wasn’t for me. Growing up, I was told first that homosexuality was an immoral choice, second that it was a tolerable condition like alcoholism. I lived my entire life feeling like I was a sinner until I realized in my early twenties that the problem was with the church and not with me.

LC: What brought you to Emory from Rutgers?

SA: It’s sort of an accident. I went to Rutgers for Linguistics, but the courses in that department were so overloaded that I ended up double majoring in Women’s & Gender Studies to fill my time. By my junior year, I was much more interested in studying gender and sexuality than I was in diagramming sentences, so I decided to pursue a graduate degree in Women’s Studies instead of Linguistics. Emory has one of the highest-ranking PhD programs in that field. I somehow got accepted, and I’ve been here for five years now.

LC: What is your dissertation topic?

SA: My dissertation is about sexual fetishism, and it looks at everything from sneezing fetishism to erotic vomiting. [Side note: The answer to the question “Is there a fetish for X?” is always “Yes.”] Most theories of sexual fetishism would think of these seemingly bizarre practices as evidence that the “sex drive” has been diverted into bizarre territory, but my dissertation asks what it would mean to think of fetishes as having completely legible affective (or emotional, in non-academic speak) motivations instead.

LC: Tell us about your fellowship with the Kinsey Institute?

SA: In 2013, I was selected to be the John Money Fellow at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University in Bloomington. I spent three weeks in their incredible archives reading everything from 1920s pulp magazines to 1940s fetish scrapbooks to 1980s fetish newsletters. I’ve used a lot of this material for my dissertation, but, more importantly, I met my partner at the Kinsey Institute, and we’ve been together ever since. She was sitting across from me in the reading room doing some research of her own; we got in the elevator at the same time one day, and the rest is history.

LC: In addition to your own blog, you also write for the Daily Beast.  What has been the best received column and the most controversial column?

SA: The best received column was also one of my most recent: a piece about Kate Brown, the first bisexual governor in the United States, and what her new visibility means for bisexual Americans, so many of whom are still in the closet compared to gay men and lesbians. It was particularly gratifying for that piece to get a positive response because I don’t identify as bisexual myself, and it feels good to get something right when you don’t have a personal experience with the subject matter.

As for controversy, I’ve gotten so much social media and email pushback over my columns, I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve heard from anti-abortion evangelicals, homophobic Mormons, diehard Confederates, anti-feminists, Silicon Valley tech investors, and more. When you write about women’s and LGBT issues for a large outlet, almost everything you write will be construed as controversial.

LC: What do you see as the intersectionalities, or lack thereof, of your background, including your race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression?  How has your time at Emory helped promote the intersectionality of these different backgrounds for you or other students?

SA: I’m a white, queer, femme woman from an upper-class Mormon background. Emory has helped me become who I am, but there are also so many ways in which you can become complacent here as a white person who comes from money. For me, Emory is an easy place to be LGBT because it feels designed around and for my experience. I’ve tried over the last year especially to stay in tune with the needs of LGBT students of color and our gender non-conforming students especially.

LC: Tell us about your activism. When did it start?  Was there a defining event?

SA: My activism started in college when I left the Mormon Church and transferred to Rutgers. Leaving the church was that galvanizing moment of realization for me. I started to see the world through new eyes and pay attention to forms of oppression that I had been told were nonexistent or exaggerated. In college, I did more protesting and marching than I can do now. In graduate school, I started to channel more of my energy into my writing and my work with the Office of LGBT Life. I facilitated one of our discussion groups for a year and a half, and I’ve been working for the office for a bit longer than that.

LC: What needs are you responding to, and what kinds of community-building, programming, and advocacy work are you engaged in on campus?

SA: This year, Danielle Steele and I have been focused on creating networking opportunities for LGBT students interested in careers in healthcare, law, and business. GALA has played a crucial role in making these events happen.

Over the last two years, I’ve also helped to develop the Office of LGBT Life’s programming around Transgender Day of Remembrance in coordination with the Trans-forming Gender Discussion Group. This past November, we held our second memorial service, this time with participation from Glenn United Methodist Church and the Reconciling Ministries Network.

I have also been working on an outreach program called LGBTQ-tips that divides our Safe Space curriculum into more bite-sized portions. Some departments and student groups want training, but they don’t have a three plus hour block in which all of their members are free, so LGBTQ-tips can hopefully bring the knowledge to them. We’ll be developing that further this semester, and hopefully launching it next academic year.

LC: Tell us about your current position in the Office of LGBT Life.

SA: I’ve been the graduate assistant in the Office of LGBT Life for almost two years now. What that means is that you probably got a lot of emails from me. Behind the scenes, I’m coordinating events, running the office’s social media channels, creating a lot of our advertising, and keeping the office open when Michael Shutt and Danielle Steele are off doing the more important work across the university.

LC: What kinds of issues are important to you and any facilitator groups you may belong to?

SA: I’m especially passionate about the intersections of feminist and LGBT activism. It’s why I made time to be a part of the Vagina Monologues while also working for the office last year. And even though I haven’t had time to participate in it this year, I was part of initial conversations with alumna Lauren Guilmette and Center for Women Program Coordinator Tiffany Del Valle that led to the reemergence of the Queer Women’s Group this year.

LC: Are there other spaces where you think LGBT students are finding voice on campus?

SA: I’ve been so pleased by the growth of both the Queer Students of Color discussion group and BlackOUT, a new student-led, black LGBTQ group, over the last year. As the national discussion around police violence and systemic racism has reached critical mass, it also seems like discussions around the intersections of race and LGBT identity have been gaining traction at Emory. I’m excited to see how those discussions continue to take shape in conjunction with the newly-formed Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

LC: What are your priorities or goals for the next academic year?

SA: I’m graduating this semester and leaving the academic world to continue my career as a writer and journalist. But given that LGBT issues are central to my writing, I’m going to carry the knowledge I’ve gained from working in the Office of LGBT Life with me and hopefully put it to good use in the public sphere.

LC: What kind of support or involvement, if any, would you like to see from GALA and other alums of Emory?

SA: I’d love to see GALA members at the Pride Awards as well as at all our “Out in…” events this semester! I’d also encourage everyone to sign up for the Out @ Emory website and get their free T-shirt in any color of the rainbow from Michael Shutt’s office.

LC: If you could ask for anything from the administration, what—if anything—would it be?

SA: As a student, former graduate instructor, and employee of Emory, I’ve seen the university from a lot of different angles. After five years, I can say that the people I’ve seen struggle the most with belonging and thriving here are Black and Latino/a students. I’d like to see more support for those students and more attention paid to the barriers that stand in their way at Emory.

Pink INK and News


are the lips a graveLynne Huffer, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, was featured in the Winter 2015 issue of Emory Magazine in the “Secret Lives” column.

By day, Huffer is a professor at Emory, but her secret life as an expert skier is the focus of the article. A skier since the age of three, she has tackled the most difficult slopes in downhill skiing—those with a double black diamond rating—and even spent time as a ski instructor.

In her not so secret life, Professor Huffer’s fields of study include feminist theory; queer theory; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender studies; modern French and francophone literature; literary theory; and ethics. Her published work is widely cited and reviewed, and she is frequently invited to speak at both academic and non-academic venues. She has won numerous awards, including two major teaching prizes at Rice University and, most recently, the Modern Languages Association Florence Howe Award for feminist scholarship in English (2011). She is the author of four books: Are the Lips a Grave? (2013); Mad for Foucault (2010); Maternal Pasts, Feminist Futures (1998); and Another Colette (1992); and numerous articles on feminist theory, queer theory, French literature, and ethics.

She is currently working on two book projects: a memoir, Sleeping Sickness and Other Queer Histories; and a philosophical exploration of eros as a modern, transformative concept of life. She is also working on a series of artists books in collaboration with the visual artist Jennifer Yorke.

Check out Professor Huffer’s interview on the importance of having a public voice at

Aby Parsons 13G, GALA Co-Chair and Founding Director of the LGBTQIA Resource Center at Georgia Tech, will celebrate her one-year anniversary in that position on April 1st. Aby became the Founding Director on the Center last year following a national search. In her role as Director, Aby is responsible for delivering workshops on LGBTQIA inclusion, developing policies that enhance LGBTQIA student well-being, and implementing programs for faculty, students, staff and alumni. Aby has already adapted some of the successful initiatives that she worked on with Michael Shutt and Danielle Steele in Emory’s Office of LGBT Life for the Tech community, including student-led discussion groups and Safe Space trainings. Georgia Tech’s LGBTQIA Resource Center is the fourth Center of its kind in Georgia after Emory, University of Georgia, and Kennesaw State University.