Category Archives: news

Pink Ink & News

Nowee Shehab 16C

Nowee Shehab 16C

Nowmee Shehab 16C was honored as the 2016 Marion Luther Brittain Award recipient. The Marion Luther Brittain Award is presented each year to a graduating student from any academic division of the University who is considered to have performed the most significant, meritorious, and devoted service to Emory University. The Brittain Award is generally acknowledged to be the highest honor given to a student by Emory University. Click here to read the full article.

Brian Tolleson, Owner of Bark Bark Media, was honored with the Champion for Equality Award by Georgia Equality. Brian was the first person in the Film & Television Industry to speak out against HB 757 and has made numerous media appearances, attended lobby days and wrote guest editorials on behalf of Georgia Equality.

Lynne Huffer, Emory’s Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, was honored as the 2016 recipient of the George P. Cuttino Award for Excellence in Mentoring. Click here to read the full article.

Danielle Steele, formerly Interim Director of the Office of LGBT Life & Center for Women at Emory, has accepted the permanent position as Director of Belonging and Communities of Justice and the Office of LGBT Life.


Letter from Co-Chair – Spring 2016

In addition to sponsoring social events, networking opportunities, and community service projects, GALA has continued to advocate for LGBTQ communities both at Emory and throughout Georgia. Recently, GALA has been working to ensure that the Office of LGBT Life receives adequate staffing, space, and resources as Emory’s Campus Life undergoes a reorganization (you can read more about this reorganization at Our advocacy efforts included a Declaration of Support for the Office of LGBT Life that was sent to Ajay Nair, Senior Vice President and Dean for Campus Life. We were concerned that Campus Life administrators did not reach out to many stakeholders, including GALA, as they created an initial vision for the new Campus Life structure. We will continue to work with Campus Life administrators to make sure that Emory’s LGBTQ students are supported by an Office of LGBT Life that has dedicated space, sufficient staff, and adequate resources.

We have also been working to increase student participation in GALA activities, thereby creating a smoother transition from Emory student to active GALA alum. In order to increase student involvement, we strive to make GALA events affordable for students. When registering for GALA events, many of our alumni generously donate money to help offset costs for students. These donations are greatly appreciated, and any funds for student participation that remain after an event are saved to reduce student costs at future events.

We have one social event planned for this upcoming July, and we would love to see you there! We are partnering with the Emory Young Alumni group and other affinity groups to visit the High Museum of Art on Friday, July 15, 2016. In addition to visiting the art collections, you can also enjoy a live jazz concert as part of the High Museum’s Friday Jazz series. This event will be free for the first 100 registered attendees, and the registration link will be sent out soon.

We would also love to see you at one of our upcoming Steering Committee meetings. You are welcome to attend these meetings even if you have never participated in GALA before. The meetings take place on the second Tuesday of each month at the Miller Ward Alumni House (a free dinner is served at 6pm and the meetings start at 6:30pm). The next two meetings are on June 14 and July 12.

In pride,

Scot S







Scot Seitz, 09C
Co-Chair, GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni

Letter from Co-Chair – President Wagner visits GALA Steering Committee Meeting

Like most alumni affinity groups, GALA serves as a social and professional networking outlet for its members. Our summer and winter socials, spring theater outing, and monthly meetings are valuable ways for LGBTQ alumni to connect with one another.

What makes GALA different from most groups of its kind, however, is its involvement in campus-based advocacy. In the past 5 years, GALA has protested Chik-Fil-A on campus, supported the efforts of Freedom at Emory to grant financial aid to undocumented students, publicly opposed the Candler School of Theology’s decision to present anti-gay church leader H. Eddie Fox with a Distinguished Alumni award, and, most recently, lobbied the President to request that Emory oppose discriminatory statewide legislation.

In October, the GALA Steering Committee wrote to President Wagner to ask that Emory take a public stand against so-called religious freedom bills that threaten to erode rights for LGBTQ Georgians. After exchanging emails throughout the fall semester, we invited President Wagner to join us for our January meeting. We were delighted when he, along with Jerry Lewis, Sr. vice President for Communications and Public Affairs; Sarah Cook, Sr. Associate Vice President for Emory Alumni Association; Cameron Taylor, Vice President for Government and Community Affairs; Evan Goldberg, Special Assistant to the President; and Jessie Arnidis, Director of Development, Campus Life and Athletics, agreed to attend our meeting and engage in a dialogue with us regarding Emory’s stance on these legislative initiatives. Our conversation with the President and his colleagues was engaging, informative, respectful, and enlightening, and we were thrilled to learn that Emory has indeed joined Georgia Prospers, a coalition of businesses and organizations that oppose discriminatory legislation on the grounds that it’s both unethical and bad for business.

As alumni, we see it as our responsibility to hold our alma mater to the highest standards of accountability and ethical engagement, particularly when it comes to matters of access, equity, and inclusion. Emory does not exist in a bubble; as an employer and an institution of higher learning, we are part of Atlanta’s community and a landmark of which Georgia should be proud. We therefore applaud President Wagner’s decision to join Georgia Prospers and send a clear message to our state legislature that LGBTQ students, employees, and alumni are valued at Emory. Furthermore, we are grateful that President Wagner and his colleagues took the time to sit down and talk with us at length about issues that are critical to GALA’s members, and we look forward to building a similarly mutually supportive and transparent relationship with his successor.

If you’d like to get involved with GALA’s advocacy efforts, please join us the second Tuesday of every month at 6pm for dinner and our monthly meeting in the Miller Ward Alumni House.

In pride,

Aby Headshot










Aby Parsons, 13G
Co-Chair, GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni


Pink INK and News

The Reverend Joshua Morgan Noblitt 04T, Minister of Social Justice at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, is set to throw his hat into the ring to run for the open State House seat that will be available when State Rep. Margaret Kaiser steps down to run for mayor. If elected, he would be the first openly gay man elected to the Georgia legislature.

WaterShed LogoWatershed at Peachtree, owned by Emily Saliers 85C, has been voted 2015 Best Atlanta Brunch Restaurants by GAYOT, and has also been selected as one of the Best Celebrity Owned Restaurants by USA Today. Emily’s restaurant was one of the first to promote the farm-to-table movement more than a decade ago, and gets its name from an Indigo Girls’ song.

Scott Turner Schofield 02C is currently on the Bold and the Beautiful. With 30 million global viewers, it is the most watched TV show in the world. The acclaimed diversity educator officially joined the cast of the CBS daytime soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, on May 8. The role will mark both Schofield’s television debut and the first time a transgender actor will play a major, recurring role on a daytime program.

Pride Logo

Cameron Coppala 16C has been elected as President of Emory Pride for 2015-2016. Cameron was the 2014 recipient of the GALA Leadership Award. Emory Pride is the undergraduate LGBTQ and Ally organization dedicated to creating a safe, inclusive, and accessible campus for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Their mission is to to provide Emory students with opportunities to engage in advocacy, education and social interactions to create a stronger and more inclusive queer and allied community. Other members of the Executive Board of Emory Pride include: Vice President of External Affairs: Anthony Chau 18C; Vice President of Internal Affairs: Duy Nguyen 17C; Secretary: Margee Quinn 16C; Treasurer: Ana Beain 16C; and Publicity Representative: Katya Miranda 18C.

Danielle Steele has been appointed Interim Director of LGBT Life and the Center for Women. She has served as Interim Director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Life since last June. In this joint role, Danielle will continue to strengthen the programs, services and initiatives for both LGBT Life and the Center for Women. In other big news for Danielle, she and Keisa Bruce were married in Washington, D.C. in Meridian Hill Park on July 17th, 2014.

How I shed picAlonquin Books has published a memoir, How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Lessons of a Racist Childhood, by Jim Grimsley, Emory Professor of Practice in Creative Writing . Jim’s first novel, Winter Birds, won the 1995 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His second novel, Dream Boy, won the American Library Association GLBT Award for Literature (the Stonewall Prize), and was a Lambda finalist. His third novel, My Drowning, was released in January 1997 by Algonquin Books, and for it he was named Georgia Author of the Year. His fourth novel, Comfort & Joy, was a Lambda finalist. A fantasy novel, Kirith Kirin won the Lambda in the science fiction and horror category for 2001. He has published short fiction in The Ontario Review and Asimov’s, and his stories have been anthologized in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Volume 16, Men on Men 4, Men on Men 2000, and Best Stories from the South, year 2001. Boulevard, published in 2002, was again a Lambda finalist in the literature category, and won Jim his second Georgia Author of the Year designation. His novel, The Ordinary, a science fiction novel published in 2004 by Tor Books, won a Lambda in the science fiction/fantasy/horror category.

Ryan B. Roche 03Ox 05C has completed his term as President of the Oxford Alumni Board, and will be back in the saddle with the Steering Committee of GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni. Ryan also serves as co-chair of the Auction Committee of the Human Rights Campaign-Atlanta, and is on the Board of the Atlanta Pride Committee, Inc.
Dr. Elliott Mackle 77G continues to receive accolades for his most recent novel, Sunset Island. His first novel, It Takes Two, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award as Best Gay Mystery of 2003. Elliott was the first co-chair and a founder of GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni. Elliot was also the former dining critic for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and a longtime Creative Loafing columnist.

Out in BusinessRenee Weese 02 EMBA and Markbradley Kitay 14B were panelists at the “Out in Business” networking event on April 16 at Goizueta Business School. Over 50 students and alumni attended. Renee is a financial planning consultant with the Minerva Planning Group. Markbradly is an Associate Business Analyst at Ernst and Young in Atlanta

Dr. Aby Parsons 13G, Director of the LGBTQIA Resource Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, was recently honored by the University with two awards, The Outstanding Staff Performance Entrepreneurship Award celebrates staff who best exemplify the values and approach of the strategic business operations framework, and is given in recognition of efforts that impact a department or unit. The Georgia Tech Residence Life Cornerstone Award honors Aby for establishing partnerships between the LGBTQIA Resource Center and Housing and serving as a resource and support to housing students and staff.


GALA Advocacy Supports Students

GALA’s Mission Statement includes two important goals: “support and advocate for a diverse and non-discriminatory working, living and learning experience at Emory” and “advocate for issues of importance to the larger LGBT community.” As an Emory Alumni Association Affinity Group, the GALA Steering Committee has taken on several issues of advocating for current and future students at Emory. To date, the issues which GALA has advocated for have all had positive, meaningful outcomes for the campus environment.

Starting in 2011, students and alumni began a discussion on the values of Chick-fil-A and its owner Dan Cathy and what it meant to be home of the oldest campus Chick-fil-A. Over the course of the next year, our community and allies came together to make a stand. GALA wrote a letter to President Jim Wagner in August of 2012, urging the university to sever ties with a corporation who actively supported LGBT discrimination. Members of the Steering Committee also attended a protest outside Cox Hall.

During the same month, GALA also wrote to Dean Lawrence Benveniste of Goizueta Business School urging them to change the location of a mandatory student retreat held at WinShape Foundation. WinShape was founded by Truett Cathy and assisted Chick-fil-A’s harmful campaigns against LGBT people. During the Spring of 2013, the University announced that Chick-fil-A would no longer be a part of Emory’s food court in the next academic year. And starting in 2013-14 academic year, Goizueta no longer used WinShape’s campus for mandatory student retreats.

However, the raising up of homophobic values did not stop with the removal of Chick-fil-A. In the fall of 2013, the Candler School of Theology awarded the “2013 Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to the Church” to Eddie Fox. Fox is known for his anti-gay views, which he has preached for nearly half a century. GALA Steering Committee passed a motion and wrote a letter to Dean Jan Love to rescind the award, make a public statement of Candler’s values, and rewrite the award criteria.  Dean Love responded with a declaration of support for LGBT people and initiated the process to change the selection criteria.  However, the award was still given to Eddie Fox, in absentia. This prompted students and alumni from several of Emory’s schools to rally in protest at the awards ceremony.

The spring semester of 2015 has been very busy for Emory Students and GALA alike. Fire Chief Kevin Cochran was fired from his position by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in January due to his publishing of an anti-gay book. Citing the safety of Atlanta employees and citizens, Reed indicated Cochran’s book caused doubt that he would treat LGBT people indiscriminately. While there is still a case pending in federal court, GALA quickly wrote a letter of support to Mayor Reed for upholding the City’s commitment to non discrimination.

In February, GALA again wrote to President Wagner in support of a student initiative. This time, displaying the qualities of allyship, GALA signed on to Freedom at Emory’s call for public disclosure of admissions and financial support for undocumented students at Emory. With support from over 80 professors, several Alumni groups, and numerous students, Freedom at Emory secured scholarships for incoming undocumented students. The initiative working to ensure the University changes its policies to clarify that Emory accepts and will support undocumented students.

As the battle moves forward to allow acts of exclusion and discrimination justified by religious beliefs, the co-chairs of GALA penned in March an informative article, which was published in the Emory Wheel to raise awareness of the issue.  While the bill is currently static, it will still be passable starting in January, when the second half of the biannual Georgia General Assembly reconvenes.

GALA will continue to take an active role fighting for the rights and acceptance of LGBT students at Emory and in Georgia. To date, each action that GALA has supported has made positive progress and we will utilize this momentum to continue the good fight.


Letter from the Co-Chair June 2015


One factor that first led me to join GALA two years ago was the breadth and diversity of the organization’s work. GALA is not a single-purpose group. In fact, its mission outlines 8 substantial commitments to Emory’s LGBT communities, including supporting students, offering networking opportunities for alumni, and engaging in LGBT advocacy at Emory and beyond.

Since our last newsletter, we’ve hosted a dinner for our LGBT graduates at the Office of LGBT Life’s Pride Awards, enjoyed our annual theater outing to Actors Express, participated in the inaugural Out in Business networking event with Goizueta students, and honored Nowmee Shehab, 16C, with the GALA Leadership Award.

At recent monthly meetings, GALA members have also turned their attention to critical advocacy issues on and off campus. Earlier this year, GALA wrote a letter to President Wagner in support of Freedom at Emory, a student group working to secure financial aid for undocumented students. We were thrilled to learn in April that President Wagner listened to the concerns of students and alumni and made the courageous decision to begin offering aid to undocumented students from Fall 2015 onwards.

Then, in March, the Emory Wheel published an op-ed by GALA concerning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, urging the larger Emory community to learn about and speak out against this discriminatory piece of legislation.

Engaging in advocacy has been a rewarding and galvanizing experience for many of our members, but I know that it’s not for everyone. Maybe you’re just looking to network with other LGBT alumni, gain writing and editing experience on our newsletter, hone your fundraising skills, or mentor a student. What’s amazing about GALA is that it offers all of these opportunities and more.

If you’ve been on the fence about joining (or rejoining!) us, I encourage you to reach out to me or any member of our Executive Committee with your questions or suggestions. I guarantee that you’ll receive a warm welcome and find something that fits your interests and your schedule.

In pride,

Aby Parsons, 13G

Co-Chair, GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni


News from GALA NY Chair


GALA NY is kicking off summer with our annual PRIDE Happy Hour.  The event will take place on Tuesday June 23rd, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Boxers Hell’s Kitchen, 742 9th Avenue (corner of West 50th Street.)  For $5, attendees will get 3 drink tickets that can be used on everything but top shelf liquor.  GALA NY has the front area with high top tables reserved for its use.  GALA NY looks forward to helping kick off your PRIDE week celebrations.

GALA NY is still looking to increase its membership. In addition to working with the alumni association, 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.

Brian Sperber 07C

Chair, GALA NY