Monthly Archives: November 2015

Update from GALA NY

GALA NY recently held an “Oktoberfest” themed happy hour last month at Loreley Beer Garden on the lower east side of Manhattan. This was GALA NY’s first Oktoberfest event and brought many new attendees, eager to connect with fellow alums and try to seasonal ale! We had about 20 people from various classes and schools. Many were young alumni – with the help of our incoming New York Chapter President Brian Sperber 07C, we used this opportunity to cross promote other upcoming Emory events and introduce them to multiple groups within the New York Alumni Chapter.

GALA NY is always looking to better serve our members. Consequently, with the help of the Emory Alumni Association, we have created a survey that will guide our future event planning. The survey allows our members to tell us where, when, and what type of events you would like to see GALA NY plan. The link to the survey can be found here:

I am incredibly excited to be leading GALA NY. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions, concerns or suggestions. Stay tuned for some exciting new events in the coming year! Details coming soon for a post-holiday happy hour in mid-January.


Matthew Kerrigan 09B







Matthew Kerrigan 09B

Letter from the Co-Chair November 2015

I started serving as GALA’s Co-Chair in August of 2015, and I am excited to continue working on behalf of Emory’s LGBTQ community. GALA had a busy fall semester that included the Homecoming Blue Jean Brunch, a volunteer event at Lost-N-Found Youth as part of Emory Cares International Service Day, and the distribution of applications for the 2016-2017 GALA Leadership Award. We also started a conversation with President Wagner to encourage him to publicly oppose Georgia’s proposed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). These events highlight GALA’s commitments to providing networking opportunities, serving our local community, and advocating on behalf of LGBTQ people at Emory and beyond.

As I start my two-year term as Co-Chair of GALA, it would be helpful to know how GALA can best serve your needs. We created a short survey to gather feedback about our events and initiatives, and you can take the survey by clicking here. We would love to hear your thoughts about previous and future GALA events and advocacy initiatives. Whether you regularly attend GALA activities or haven’t attended one yet, we would still appreciate your input!

You are also welcome to attend any of the upcoming GALA meetings. Our meetings take place at the Miller Ward Alumni House on the second Tuesday of every month, starting with a free dinner at 6pm (the meeting officially starts at 6:30pm). Our next two meetings will be held on December 8 and January 12. You don’t need to RSVP for the meetings. Just come hungry and feel free to share your ideas!

Finally, we would love to see you at our upcoming Holiday Social on Thursday, December 3 from 6:30-8:30pm at The General Muir (Emory Point). You can register for the event by clicking here.


Scot S







Scot Seitz 09C

Update from the Office of LGBT Life


We have had a busy fall semester here in the Office of LGBT Life! Interim Director Danielle Steele and our student staff hit the ground running in August with the Office of LGBT Life Open House. We enjoyed welcoming Emory students back to campus and sharing information about our programs with the community. Then the Office invited graduate and professional students to celebrate the new semester at our LGBT Grad Student Social in September. The event proved to be a great opportunity to collaborate and network with LGBT graduates across the university.

Our Office has also been busy raising awareness about LGBT issues here at Emory. Our student staff tabled at the weekly Wonderful Wednesday event on campus several times this fall. We used Wonderful Wednesday to celebrate Bi/Pansexual Pride Day on Sept. 23, National Coming Out Day on Oct. 14, and Asexual Awareness Day on Oct. 28. We engaged with dozens of Emory students on each occasion, and we started many exciting conversations about LGBT life.
Office of LGBT Life PicOur largest event of the semester—and perhaps our most fun event!— was the 45th annual Atlanta Pride Parade. Emory students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends joined together on Sunday, Oct. 11, to march in Atlanta Pride. Rumor has it that Swoop, Emory’s eagle mascot, even made a special appearance! We distributed more than 100 t-shirts to people who marched in the parade with Emory, and we passed out fans donated by Emory’s Alumni Association to crowds along the parade route. You can find photos of Emory participants in the parade here.

More recently, our Office sponsored an LGBT Study Abroad Panel to discuss studying abroad as an LGBT student. We also celebrated Trans Day of Remembrance on Thursday, Nov. 19. We honored the 73 transgender people killed worldwide over the past year with a memorial service in the Little Chapel on campus.

Office of LGBT Life Pic2Aside from these special events and programs, the Office of LGBT Life has continued to offer our Safe Space trainings and Queer Discussion Groups this fall. In October, Affordable Colleges Online ranked Emory the #10 Most LGBTQ-Friendly College of 2016, in part because of these two outstanding programs. You can read more about the ranking process here.

Finally, we encourage you to “save the date” for our annual Pride Awards, to be held Thursday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Miller-Ward Alumni House. Be on the lookout for more information about nominating people for the awards!

As always, alumni involvement continues to benefit our students. Contact Danielle Steele at 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 and Instagram pages. Thank you!

Annual Blue Jean Brunch is a Great Success!

BJB PicGALA celebrated Homecoming 2015 by hosting our Annual Blue Jean Brunch and Fundraiser on September 26th at the Winship Ballroom in the DUC. Approximately 60 alumni, students and guests gathered for fun and conversation as we feasted on an abundant table of breakfast dishes and pastries. Wine, mimosas and other drinks rounded out the celebratory menu.

BJB Pic2Danielle Steele, our Interim Director of the Office of LGBT Life gave a short presentation outlining news and events during 2015. Our GALA Co-Chairs, Aby Parsons and Scot Seitz, also gave updates on GALA activities over the past year. Once again, GALA was able to raise money in support of our causes. The party was a great success. To see pictures from the Blue Jean Brunch, click here.

Coming up on December 3rd, is our Annual Holiday Party! This year we will gather at the General Muir at Emory Point from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Your registration fee includes a great spread of hors d’oeuvres and one drink of wine or beer. A cash bar will also be available throughout the evening. Students and recent alumni (2014 and 2015) receive a complimentary registration. You can register here. Please join your Emory GALA community as we celebrate another successful year!

 GALA Supports Lost-n- Found Youth on Emory Cares International Service Day

Celebrating Emory Cares International Service Day, GALA organized a group of alumni, faculty, staff and students on November 14th to volunteer in support of Lost-n-Found, a local organization which provides housing, clothing, support, showers and laundry for homeless Atlanta LGBT Youth.

Emory Cares 2015

Our group of 19 eager volunteers were first educated as to the mission of this wonderful organization’s outreach.   We then fanned out through their very large Thrift Store to accomplish designated chores over the course of a 3-4 hour work day.

Lost-n-Found accepts donations of clothing, furniture, household items, and more which they sell to raise funds to support local homeless LGBT youth. For more information on Lost-n-Found, click here.

GALA is proud to support this very important charitable organization.  All volunteers found the afternoon very satisfying and rewarding.



Emory Observes Trans Day of Remembrance


On Thursday, 19th November, the Office of LGBT Life honored the lives of trans people who have lost their lives to anti-trans violence with Emory’s third annual Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) memorial service.

TDOR is recognized nationally every November 20th with vigils and services to commemorate those we have lost in the past year and to uplift their memory in a celebration of their lives. So far in 2015, 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been murdered in the U.S. alone, with 19 of those being trans women of color.

Emory’s service was again held in the Little Chapel of the Church School Building next to Glenn Memorial, with a crowd of students, staff, alumni, and congregation members present. This year, the memorial was marked by the stories of some of Emory’s brave and honest students, including Ryouko Sasha Heaven, who reflected on her experiences as a trans woman and those of her friends and community members. The experiences that the trans students described were markedly different, but they did share an appreciation for the work that the Office of LGBT Life has done to improve conditions for trans folks at Emory.

Other speakers included Alyssa Weinstein, President of the Emory College Council, who spoke about strategies for engaging in allyship to trans communities, and Danielle Steele, Interim Director of the Office of LGBT Life, who provided an overview of trans-inclusive policies and progress at Emory.

Steele notes that the annual TDOR event is an important community building opportunity for everyone on campus: “Emory community members, both trans people and allies, deserve a space to come together to memorialize those who have been lost, build a community of care and support for one another, and rededicate ourselves to support trans people and eradicating transphobic violence.”

Speakers paid particular attention to Black and Latina trans women who are most often the victims of transphobia attacks and violence, and they highlighted the ways in which privilege, oppression, and intersectionality shape the experiences of trans people at Emory and internationally.

To highlight the scale of anti-trans violence worldwide, student staff from the Office of LGBT Life read aloud the names of the victims in a moving and deeply thought-provoking vigil. The Office of Spiritual and Religious Life then offered remarks in memoriam that both emphasized the mourning and healing aspects of the occasion and also challenged all of us to continue fighting for justice for trans communities. The evening concluded with a reception for attendees to support one another in fellowship, with refreshments donated by Emory Dining.

–Aby Parsons, 13G, & Danielle Steele, Interim Director, Office of LGBT Life