Everett Arthur 17L hails from Orlando, Florida, and is the VP of Internal Affairs for OUTLaw, Emory Law School’s LGBTQ student group. Everett also stars in the new hit HBO documentary, Suited. Neil Vasudeva 16B, serves on the Executive Committee of GALA’s Steering Committee. Neil interviewed Everett for our GALA Newsletter.
Neil: Tell me a little about yourself — your background and coming to Emory, etc.
Everett: I’m from Orlando, Florida, born and raised there. I went to a small school in Florida for undergrad called Stetson University, and studied cello performance. I ended up at Emory Law, and I had the choice between Emory and a few other schools.
Neil: During your time at Emory, have you utilized any LGBT resources on-campus or found any that you particularly enjoy?
Everett: I actually found a cool queer community of faith at Candler. My faith is important to me, and it was nice to find other queer folks at Emory who are close to their faith.
Neil: So tell me about your involvement with OUTLaw. Would you mind sharing your experiences of being in the organization?
Everett: Yeah, of course! OUTLaw is Emory Law School’s LGBTQ student group. We organize events and are a safe space for LGBTQ folks. It’s similar to Emory’s undergraduate LGBTQ and ally organization, Emory Pride. For the club, I am the VP of Internal Affairs. My main responsibility is to organize parties and events for the club, including all the major logistics.
Neil: Awesome! When did you get involved and how has it helped you during your Emory career?
Everett: I joined OUTLaw and got involved as a 1L. It was great because I met other queer people at the law school. It’s great to be part of an organization that helps you feel part of a community as an LGBTQ student at Emory Law. OUTLaw is a great community and gave me a sense of place at Emory Law. Tim Holbrook is awesome. He has been a huge advocate and mentor to OUTLaw. So we have great faculty support as a student club.
Neil: That sounds awesome. What events do y’all have coming up?
Everett: We are organizing some cool events over the next few months. In September, we have an event where Jim Obergefell from the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges will be speaking at Emory. In addition, we may have an event around one of the tailors from Suited sometime in October. So be on the lookout for that!
Neill: Switching tracks slightly – what do you hope to do after law school?
Everett: This past summer, I spent time working at the Transgender Law Center. I am interested in legislation surrounding trans rights. Over the summer, I spent time fighting the “bathroom bill” of NC – HB 2 – which was a very eye-opening experience. It helped me figure out that after law school, I’d like to be involved in trans legislation/civil rights groups around that.
Neil: Cool. So tell me about your experience with Suited. How did you get involved?
Everett: I reached out to the tailors and asked them if they could travel to Atlanta for a fitting, but they said at the time that they couldn’t do that. I thought that was the end of it, but around two weeks later, I got an email from HBO, and they asked me if I wanted to be in the documentary. I started talking with the director to see if it could work out, and he flew down to chat with me in person. I showed him around Emory and talked with him for a while. The director took my information and showed it to the producers, and then we began production. I flew out to New York for the fitting, and the director flew down to Emory to get some shots of my life around campus. It was a fantastic experience.
Neil: What was the best part of the whole documentary process?
Everett: I think the most interesting is that what you see in the documentary is all “first takes” – everything is very genuine. It created a really trusting environment between all individuals. I felt very comfortable and was able to be myself and feel vulnerable. I gained a lot of confidence through being in the documentary.
Neil: Great. Thanks so much for sharing! Is there anything else you’d like to share with the broader Emory community?
Everett: Yes. I would actually like to raise awareness about my personal Go Fund Me page – www.gofundme.com/everett-topsurgery. I am getting top surgery in February 2017, and any donations would go towards my surgery. The money would cover anything that isn’t covered by my insurance. Feel free to share this!