June is Pride Month, a special time to celebrate the LGBTQIA community and honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. This month, the College of Sciences is sharing stories and experiences about what Pride Month means to students and campus leaders who are active in LGBTQIA organizations at Georgia Tech.
"Although we must be apart this summer, we are thrilled to join in celebrating Pride Month together online, this year,” says Susan Lozier, College of Sciences dean and Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Chair. “Through listening and lifting up these perspectives, resources, and ideas, we connect in allyship and celebration with our vibrant LGBTQIA+ community across campus, the city of Atlanta, and beyond."
More 2020 Pride Perspectives:
- Yendi Neil on being an Ally and Encouraging Equality
- Andrea Welsh on Grad Pride, Friendships, Feeling Connected
- Victoria Pham on the Power of Community, Remembering History, Supporting Students
Tegra Myanna (they/them/theirs) joined Georgia Tech as the new director of the LGBTQIA Resource Center in May 2020, after serving as assistant director the Lealtad-Suzuki Center at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Tech's LGBTQIA Resource Center coordinates a range of programs and events throughout the year aimed at educating faculty, students, and staff about LGBTQIA issues; providing safe spaces for LGBTQIA students to build community and explore their identities; and facilitating conversations about LGBTQIA diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Q: How would you describe the LGBTQIA community at Georgia Tech?
Not having as much familiarity with Tech as Camilla Brewer, our center's program coordinator, I asked her to offer reflections on this question. In her words, "The LGBTQIA community at Tech is talented, strong, brilliant, resilient, and driven. Essentially, the LGBTQIA community is similar to the larger Tech Community. There are queer and trans students in sports, gaming clubs, the band, all majors, and working in different labs and departments. For some, an LGBTQIA identity becomes a salient part of their Tech experience, while for others it might not play a significant role. We hope to provide space for all LGBTQIA students, and their allies, through our work in the LGBTQIA Resource Center."
Q: What advice would you give to prospective or current students looking to get involved with the LGBTQIA community?
My advice would really depend on what a student is looking for. If you wanted to be more aware of things happening on campus, I'd suggest that they sign-up for the LGBTQIA Resource Center Newsletter, follow us on social media (Instagram or Facebook) or get connected with Pride Alliance (undergraduate students) or Grad Pride (graduate students). There are also a ton of things happening in the larger metro area that students might want to connect with. Staff in our Center can also help you get connected to off-campus resources and spaces for community and support. If you are looking for a more active role in building or advocating for LGBTQIA community, you should also connect with Center staff.
Q: Why do you believe it is important to celebrate Pride Month?
I think it's important to celebrate Pride because it honors our ancestors and the trans trailblazers who made a lot of the protections and progress that we have today possible. I think Pride Month is also important in providing community to those who might not always have access to it. For LGBTQIA folks who live in more rural areas, in unsupportive families or communities, and whose intersections of identity make finding community hard, Pride and Pride celebrations create opportunity for connection that aren't always readily available.
Q: What can people within the College of Sciences, and Georgia Tech as a whole, do to support LGBTQIA students?
I think first and foremost is to recognize that LGBTQIA folks aren't a separate entity from the community of folks who work in and with the College of Sciences. Another important step is increasing your knowledge and understanding of LGBTQIA issues. Signing up for a Safe Space or Trans 101 training are great ways to begin this process. If you are looking to create a more equitable community for LGBTQIA people, I'd suggest critically reflecting on your own language, behavior or practices and identifying any unintentional avenues for exclusion that occur. LGBTQIA Resource Center staff are available for consultation on how individuals or departments can work towards more equity practices for trans and queer students.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Just that no question or request for help is too small. If at any time you think about asking for our support or guidance (even if it's just to review information for your website, a flyer, etc.). I hope that you will reach out.