Category Archives: Campus Life

Office of LGBT Life Update

The Office of LGBT Life is basking in the quiet of finals time here at Emory. With the Spring semester closing and the ’17-’18 academic year in the rearview, we are inhaling and preparing for the deep breath of reflection afforded to us in the (relatively) calm summer. As we reflect, we are reminded of the busy spring 2018 full of programs and events.

In February, the office staff – along with the Center for Women (CWE) and the Office for Racial and Cultural Engagement (RACE) staffs – hosted International Coffee Hour, connecting with dozens of international students. Just a few weeks later, we hosted the Annual Pride Awards, celebrating the accomplishments of graduating LGBTQ students and active community members. Complete with remarks from Emory University’s President Claire Sterk, the Pride Awards was a huge success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later in March, the office supported OUTLaw, the LGBTQ affinity group in the Emory Law School, at their Out in Law networking event – connecting students to LGBT attorneys and alumni. Danielle Bruce-Steele, our director and that of ELLS (Emory LGBTQ Legal Services), shared remarks at the ELLS Launch Party at the end of March. A partnership with Emory Campus Life and the Emory Law School, ELLS will offer pro-bono legal assistance to LGBTQ folks in the Atlanta area! Learn more about ELLS here.

Like it is for many others in student affairs, April was a whirlwind of a month. The office, CWE, and RACE hosted a Queer Trans People of Color (QTPOC) Brunch, fostering a sense of community and identifying the needs of QTPOC folks at Emory. To close out this year’s Queer Discussion Group (QDG) experience, we held an end of year gathering a few weeks later, inviting all members and facilitators of the 10 QDGs to enjoy food and fellowship.

Culminating a semester of curation, collaboration, and persistence, we celebrated the opening of Stepping Out of Line: Exploring LGBTQ Activism at Emory. This exhibit was co-curated by our student staff member, Jackie Veliz 18C, and other members of the Rose Library. We hosted an end of the year reception and guided curator tour complete with alumni, staff, and students.

 

 

 

 

 

To close out April, winners of the Dr. Daniel D. Adame Leadership Fund – Jackie Veliz 18C and KJ Lewis 19T – grabbed lunch with Dr. Adame and our coordinator, Natalie Turrin. With support from the fund, award winners traveled to Mexico to engage in research and to Maine to attend a conference on podcast production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Office of LGBT Life is thrilled about this year’s commencement season! Earlier this semester, Natalie Turrin successfully defended her dissertation, and will graduate with a Doctor of Philosophy in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Congratulations, Natalie!

Looking ahead, on June 5th we will host our colleagues from across Georgia who engage in LGBT advocacy work at higher education institutions. We look forward to growing, learning, and connecting as we refocus for the summer and plan for the 2019 academic year!

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LETTER FROM CO-CHAIR – Fall 2016

Scot SThe election season was a difficult time for many of us. No matter your political perspective, it seemed that the country became more divided, and there was a constant stream of negativity. Throughout this difficult election season, GALA has continued to work towards accomplishing our main goals: advocating for the LGBTQ+ community at Emory and beyond, providing social networking and volunteer opportunities, and supporting students through scholarships and leadership funds.

Our advocacy efforts over the past six months have focused on ensuring that LGBTQ+ students continue to have access to safe spaces and quality programming during and after the reorganization of Campus Life (http://dialogue.emory.edu/CASA2/). We are glad that the Office of LGBT Life will continue to serve students after the reorganization, and that designed safe spaces will continue to exist for LGBTQ+ students.

To provide opportunities for students and alumni to get to know each other, we hosted the annual Blue Jean Brunch during Emory’s Homecoming Weekend. We were thrilled that President Claire Sterk joined us and spoke about her support for the LGBTQ+ community at Emory and beyond. We also volunteered at Lost-N-Found Youth (http://lnfy.org/) for Emory Cares International Service Day, and we were glad to support this organization that aims to end homelessness among LGBT youth in Atlanta.

As always, we continue to provide scholarships to Emory students who positively impact the LGBTQ+ community at Emory, and we support other funds that help students attend leadership programs and access quality LGBTQ+ programing. We would love for you to learn more about and contribute to these funds. Please see http://www.lgbt.emory.edu/about/donate.html for more details.

We hope that you will join us for our Holiday Social at the Four Seasons Downtown Hotel on Thursday, December 1st from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.  You can register for the event here: http://engage.emory.edu/s/1705/alumni/index.aspx?sid=1705&gid=3&pgid=3720&cid=5727&ecid=5727&crid=0&calpgid=13&calcid=1160.

We would also love to see you at one of our upcoming GALA meetings. The next two meetings will be held on December 13th and January 10th. A light dinner is served at 6pm and the meetings start at 6:30pm at the Miller Ward Alumni House.

In pride,

Scot Seitz

Co-Chair

GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni

Update from Office of LGBT Life

Dear GALA Steering Committee & Membership:

April proved to be a busy month at the Office of LGBT Life as we prepared to wrap up the semester. The Office engaged with Emory community members in multiple events, particularly networking and visibility events.

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The month began with the commemoration of Trans Day of Visibility, which was on March 31. On the day of TDOV, the Office set up a table in the DUC’s Coke Commons and offered free Coke floats. The table included information about recent anti-transgender bathroom laws across the nation, including a guide to contacting legislators about anti-trans legislation. It also included resource handouts for both trans and non-trans people, pro-trans buttons, and a “support board” on which participants were encouraged to write positive messages to the trans community at Emory. This event was followed by a film screening of Gunhill Road on April 4, which was sponsored by the Student Programming Council for Dooley’s Week.

On March 31, the Office also hosted its annual event Out in Law. The event provided networking opportunities to the LGBT community associated with the Law School. Out in Law was cosponsored by OUTLaw and the Stonewall Association this year.

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The Office wrapped up the semester by hosting its second annual Out @ Emory event on April 22. The event took place in the Office, where participants were provided with free food and drink. We included a map of Emory and encouraged participants to place a colored star sticker on the map indicating where they work, study or live. We also continued to hand out Out @ Emory t-shirts left over from last year’s Out @ Emory event.

The semester has proved to be eventful and successful, and we look forward to planning for the next semester this summer!

Sincerely,
Danielle M. Steele

Creating Health and Building Community

Creating Health and Building Community

Raphael Coleman 10C 13MPH

Raphael Coleman 10C 13MPH

Raphael Coleman 10C 13MPH is the assistant director for prevention strategies with the Office of Health Promotion within Campus Life. He is an active member in GALA who understands the pulse of Emory students on campus.

The Office of Health Promotion is designed to foster healthy interaction between the university and its students. As they describe, “Students connect with our office to get involved in promoting health on campus. We advise several student organizations, interns and student volunteers who want to take action to promote positive psychology, better sleep, great sex, violence prevention, and general wellness.

Campus image courtesy of Emory Photo/Video

Campus image courtesy of Emory Photo/Video

What do you find most fascinating about your role on Emory’s campus?

We work on very important topics, but there is a strong understanding that nothing we do is done in silo. We always think about what works for Emory students when it comes to promoting health. We have a strong social justice foundation for how we approach health promotion, so we do think how our work impacts marginalized groups on campus. When we plan programming, we ask, how can we minimize some of the health disparities that may occur on campus?

Can you tell us the PrEP Clinic?

I also work in sexual health promotion to help coordinate the PrEP clinic with Student Health Services. Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, also known as PrEP, is available at Student Health Services. PrEP may be appropriate for some students at higher risk for contracting HIV. PrEP consists of a once-a-day medication; regular condom use; and routine medical visits with labs (usually every three months). Through this I have sexual health education conversations with students who are using PrEP. Emory is so responsive to preventive care. They took the lead with intentional conversations about sexual health, going above and beyond what might be expected. I’m glad to play a role in this important process.

You are a Double Eagle with two degrees from Emory. What surprises you most about Emory students?                                                                                                                        

I’m amazed by how Emory consistently attracts the same type of incredible student. They share a very similar passion for knowledge and for changing the world that we live in. Students are thinking beyond what they will do professionally and are already thinking about how their work can impact the world. They are brilliant, and many may already have professional focus. It’s so awesome. We have created an intellectual space for them that helps to develop innovators. Our students create their own businesses. They are very entrepreneurial whether their work is for profit or nonprofit.

Why do you think GALA is important?

It is so important to introduce our students to GALA alumni who remain connected to the campus. These alumni demonstrate their passion for Emory, they are doing great things professionally, and they also have a voice in shaping Emory’s policy. Many also do social justice work when it comes to bettering our communities.

Editor’s Note: Raph writes, “I work with faculty, staff, and students to build a healthy campus environment, particularly as it relates to changing the campus culture and climate around high-risk alcohol and other drug use. Prior to my current role, I held positions in residence life, student conduct, Greek Life, and health promotion. I am a Double Eagle, having earned a BS in NBB from Emory College and a MPH from RSPH in BSHE. When I am not at Emory, I enjoy hanging with friends or taking classes towards my PhD in College Student Affairs Administration at UGA! My hobbies include cooking, karaoke, taking road trips, and visiting local festivals!”

 

 

Update from the Office of LGBT Life

LGBTLifeAfter a busy spring semester, the Office of LGBT Life spent most of the summer resting and planning for the upcoming fall semester. In June, the Office had the unexpected, but much welcomed, task of celebrating the marriage equality decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. Emory community members from all around campus joined the Interim Director of the Office, Danielle Steele, in a toast to marriage equality, complete with rainbow cake! The Emory Report was on hand to take pictures and do a write-up of the festivities. Their report, which was posted on the official Emory University Facebook page, can be found here.

The Office of LGBT Life was also pleasantly surprised and honored to be named by eCollegeFinder.com as the most LGBT friendly university in the state of Georgia. This honor led to an interview of Danielle by WABE, Atlanta’s NPR station, in which she briefly spoke of the establishment of the Office of LGBT Life in 1991 and of the programs currently offered to Emory students. The interview can be found here.

Creating Emory
Staff of the Office of LGBT Life as well as numerous staff members from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion recently served as trainers for Creating Emory, Emory’s first year orientation program. Focusing on diversity, inclusion, values clarification, and sexual assault prevention, trainers completed several trainings in preparation to discuss these issues at length with current Resident Advisors and Orientation Leaders. These RAs and OLs will now have a series of conversations with each student of the incoming class about the Emory community of care we hope to create. Assistant Director of Regional Volunteer Programs and Emory Alumni Association’s Liaison to GALA, Latasia Woods, partnered with Danielle to train 17 Resident Advisors and Orientation Leaders. We look forward to a healthier, more informed, and more empowered Class of 2019!

This fall, the Office of LGBT Life staff will welcome two new graduate students and four undergraduate students to the team. Stay tuned to learn about all the great programs and projects they bring to campus this semester! The Office of LGBT Life has also welcomed five new Safe Space facilitators from across campus to facilitate this cornerstone program. We thank them for volunteering their time, skills, and knowledge to make Emory a safer campus for LGBT students, faculty, and staff!

Finally, we already have one event on the calendar for the fall semester. In collaboration with the Career Center and sponsored by Macy’s, the Office of LGBT Life is happy to announce the Out at Work Panel on October 26th at 6:30pm. We will welcome alumni from a variety of fields to chat with current students about the opportunities and challenges of being out in interviews, during internships, and at workplaces.If you have interest in being on the panel, please let Danielle know!

As always, alumni involvement continues to benefit our students. Contact Danielle Steele at dmsteel@emory.edu if you are interested in being more involved with the Office of LGBT Life. Thank you!

Update from the Office of LGBT Life

LGBT Life Pic

The Office of LGBT Life had a busy and exciting spring semester, filled with several events.  In particular, the Office hosted three networking nights as part of the “Out in…” series.  Designed to connect LGBTQ students with out faculty, staff, and professionals in their fields of interest, the “Out in…” series has grown this year to include multiple campus sponsors and collaborators.

First, on February 23rd, the Office partnered with the Career Center to host Out in Healthcare.  Held in the School of Medicine, students pursuing or thinking of pursuing careers in healthcare were able to connect with faculty, professionals, and alumni in medicine, public health, nursing, and allied health to discuss the advantages and challenges of being out in their respective fields.  Additionally, students were able to connect with one another across year and school to form a broader LGBTQ healthcare community.

In April, the Office coordinated back-to-back networking events with Out in Law and Out in Business.  Student organization OUTLaw helped secure space, and Office of LGBT Life Advisory Committee member Tim Holbrook invited members of the Stonewall Bar Association to network with current and prospective law students to discuss degrees of acceptance in various law fields.  Later that same week, the Goizueta Business School and the Career Center collaborated with the Office to host the Out in Business networking night and panel.  Office of LGBT Life Advisory Committee member Sei Yoshioka-Cefalo worked with the Office to secure a diverse panel of current and former Goizueta students, including GALA members Renee Weese 02EMBA and Markbradley Kitay 14B, to discuss the topics of coming out in different business settings and the challenges and advantages of being out in applications, interviews, and the workplace.  Many thanks to all of the alumni who helped make this year’s “Out in…” series a success!

In March, the Office celebrated the 23rd Annual Pride Awards at the Miller-Ward Alumni House.  Office of LGBT Life Advisory Committee members recognized this year’s winners who included students, alumni, organizations, and faculty members who represent the Office’s mission of creating an affirming and just campus environment.  Awards included the Outstanding Transgender Advocate Award, Outstanding Ally of the Year Award, Chesnut LGBT Person of the Year Award, Fierce Leadership Award, Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe Keeping the Faith Award, and the GALA Leadership Award.  The Alum of the Year was GALA’s own Malcolm Bruni, 92C.  In addition to the award winners, student leaders who received support from the J. Michael Aycock Leadership Development Fund and D. Daniel D. Adame Student Leadership Fund were recognized.  Finally, 2015 graduates were recognized for their academic achievements with lavender diplomas and rainbow graduation cords.  Congratulations to our award winners and our graduates!

Finally, the spring semester ended with the announcement that Danielle Steele, current Interim Director of the Office of LGBT Life, has also assumed the role of Interim Director of the Center for Women at Emory.  In this joint role, Danielle will continue to strengthen the programs and lead strategic planning efforts for both the Office of LGBT Life and the Center for Women.

As always, alumni involvement continues to benefit our students. Contact Danielle Steele at dmsteel@emory.edu if you are interested in being more involved with the Office of LGBT Life.  Thank you!

Out on Campus: Kayley Scruggs

Kayley Scruggs is a rising junior from Jackson, Mississippi, and a candidate for the Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing program. Aby Parsons 13G, Co-Chair of GALA, interviewed Kayley about her activism, her experiences of queer community at Emory, and her goals for life after graduation.

Kayley Scruggs

 

AP:  You’re from Jackson, Mississippi. What made you decide to stay in the South for college?

KS:  Unlike many socially and politically progressive southerners, I am immensely proud to be from the South. I believe that southerners hold a certain demeanor that transcends simple southern hospitality; warmth and generosity are innate to us individually. I have witnessed profound acts of compassion that constitute my faith in the South’s aptitude for progress. I believe that the South can make great leaps toward achieving social justice, and I want to be a part of helping my southern communities do exactly that.

AP:  You’re a fierce advocate and activist in the reproductive justice movement. Can you tell us how you came to be involved in doing that work, and why it’s important to you?

KS:  I have identified as a feminist since I was 12 years old, which is what started my path to activism. When I decided to become a midwife a few years later, I began recognizing how pregnant women are mistreated by the United States healthcare system. My interest began with birth justice, mostly focusing on the demonization of home birth and the epidemic of medically unnecessary Caesarean sections. Soon, I realized that society’s failure to respect a person’s right to access a safe, empowering birth and the right to a safe, respectful abortion share the same root: patriarchy’s regulation of body autonomy. This realization led me to broaden the scope of my advocacy. Reproductive justice is my biggest passion and top priority because the status of reproductive autonomy affects everyone–whether you have a uterus or not. When one person’s reproductive rights are violated, bodily autonomy for their entire community is threatened.

AP:  How does your bisexual identity and your participation in LGBTQ communities inform your reproductive justice activism (or vice versa)?

KS:  To me, LGBTQ equality is a reproductive justice issue, and reproductive justice is essential to LGBTQ liberation. Recognizing this connection fuels my passion for both movements and inspires me to create safer spaces in my work. For example, my experience in the LGBTQ community informs me that not only straight women require reproductive health care, and changes the way I communicate about reproductive justice.

AP:  Tell us a bit about your involvement with LGBTQ groups and issues on campus.

KS:  I served on the executive board of Emory Pride my first and second years at Emory, and I began working at the Office of LGBT Life in the second semester of my second year. Being involved with the LGBTQ community at Emory has been essential to developing my personal relationship with my bisexual identity. In a few short months, I went from being out to a handful of people to an entire campus and many of my friends back home. Being around such unapologetic queer people pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible; my experience with the Emory LGBTQ community gave me the confidence I needed to demand that my identity be acknowledged and respected.

AP:  You were a recipient of an award from the Aycock Leadership Development Fund this past year, and were able to go with Emory students to Creating Change, the national conference on LGBTQ equality. What were some of your highlights from that experience?

KS:  Creating Change allowed me to share space with people who shared my passion for both reproductive justice and LGBTQ issues. Although the two movements intersect in many ways, it is rare to be in a space that explicitly connects them. Nearly a week of hearing about other LGBTQ activists’ work to expand access to reproductive care and sharing experiences with them was one of the most inspiring times of my life. In addition to the overwhelming inspiration, Creating Change is wonderful because it is one of the safest places to be exactly who you are. No matter what your identity or your passion, there is someone there who you have something in common with. Instead of hearing the normal response of “What is that?” when I say that I’m pansexual or an aspiring midwife, I hear “Me too!” or “That’s so cool!” several times per day.

AP:  You’ve shown a lot of courage by being a vocal and visible advocate for the issues you care about. Who are some of your role models that inspire your activism and leadership?

KS:  I am inspired by women every day. The strength that I see in women I don’t even know astounds me and is my inspiration for all that I do. More personally, I am inspired by my co-escorts at the last abortion clinic remaining in Mississippi. I have been volunteering as a clinic escort there for a little less than a year, and I quickly developed a profound sense of respect for three of the women who have dedicated themselves to defending our clinic against the anti-choice protestors who line the sidewalk outside of it. We are connected by the work of supporting our patients and other women everywhere, and they have taught me how to be a fearless, loving activist.

AP:  What is something you wish the Emory community understood about LGBTQ students?

KS:  I wish that non-LGBTQ students understood that being an ally is a continuous, demanding process that requires a lot of self-education. I wish that members of the Emory community would grow to be more comfortable with saying “I made a mistake. I’m sorry, and it won’t happen again,” instead of becoming defensive when someone feels threatened by their words or behavior. Overall, I hope that the Emory community will realize that caring communication is essential to creating safe space for LGBTQ students.

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

KS:  I would like to see GALA helping to bridge the gap between Emory’s LGBTQ students and the Atlanta LGBTQ community. Many LGBTQ alumni are politically and socially active, and I would like to see Emory students become more involved in LGBTQ activism and volunteering. I believe that GALA could be a rich resource for the mentorship of Emory’s LGBTQ students, and I would love to learn more about the advocacy work of GALA members in the Atlanta community and beyond.

AP:  What are your hopes and goals for the remainder of your time at Emory? What do you hope to do after you graduate?

KS:  I  will be entering the School of Nursing this fall, and while I am there I hope to strengthen the presence of the LGBTQ community in Emory’s nursing program. It is one of the only schools at Emory that does not have an LGBTQ student group, which will hopefully change within my time remaining at Emory. I am also excited to become involved with Nursing Students for Reproductive Health and connect with more pro-choice students at Emory. After I graduate, I hope to be immediately a compassionate nurse, eventually an empowering midwife, and always a powerful advocate for social justice.